Here I sit on my second day at the challenge. I realize other members have very clear goals for their themes, but because I was living in the moment, I jumped in without thinking it through. So far I’ve started to think about the next theme B, as soon as I posted the first letter A – ABOUT. This morning I started to write about BEING: Existence. In keeping with my mantra of keeping it simple, I chose the definitions from Oxford Dictionaries. These include being alive, living and my favorite – the nature or essence of a person. This “essence” is really who we are; it’s the spark, it’s what makes us act the way we do depending on the circumstance. It’s what stirs inside when we are excited and hopeful or feels like a lead brick in our stomach when we get bad news.
I was just getting warmed up on this topic, or maybe I saw it was eventually heading towards that other B-word – Boring when a thought crossed my mind “Oh behave!”. It was Austen Powers in my head. True, I didn’t want to get all deep and philosophical about my existence. Getting all straight-laced, proper and preachy is easy. I decided instead to switch topic because as the oldest child, it seemed that “oh behave!” was all I heard from my mom.
I suppose she thought my being alive had a particular purpose. She reminded me to be a good girl, to get good grades, to stop whining or being mouthy or whatever because I needed to be an example for my younger siblings. To be fair, it certainly wasn’t the only thing I heard, my mom was pretty cool, and because I loved her, when I was home, I behaved, the way she wanted for her higher purpose.
Now and then I needed to take off my nerd hat and shake out my uncontrollable hair. Not that I was a wild thing or at least I never really thought myself in that way, but the other day in my memorabilia box I found a note. The note is probably 50 years old. It was from one of my best friends in high school, and it appears that she passed it to me when we crossed in the hallway during a change of class. In her note, she said she had to talk to me in person about something urgent. To which she added,” I know you’ll understand, I’ve seen your crazy side, I don’t think many people have, but I know ….”. I’m not one of those people who need a little “something, something” to get the party started but she was a quiet and serious girl; any number of fun things may have felt crazy to her. We loosely stay in touch through social media now, but I didn’t contact her to see if she remembered what that was all about. I wonder if she’s learned to get “crazy”.
I am fully aware that I still I have a “crazy side.” I have great fun with friends and family, but mostly I keep it contained until I’m with my granddaughters or my grand nieces and nephews. Sometimes I hear “oh behave, Mom!” from behind my daughter’s stern grin. I enjoy the payback though. It doesn’t take much; a silly walk, a funny face or changing the words to a favorite song as you are singing as loud as you can. I love when we all get to that place where our bellies ache from laughing.
Enjoying those moments is the essence of my being, of my existence. When I’m feeling out of sorts and not very jolly, I seek out chances to laugh or even scavenge for some giggles. I try not to let the well run dry because that’s how I manage to keep it together. These are the memories that I summon up when I need enough energy to climb uphill or swim against the current.
How do you do it? What is the essence of you?