So, this is 2012 which brings with it my 50th birthday! As it approaches, I find myself in a contemplative mood, gazing back at the past and peeking cautiously into the future. What is next and what is next and what is next?
Such a good kid. Quiet, dreamy, amenable young Lois, always practicing the calm and inscrutable face she still uses to this day to hide fires or pain inside, but the day-dreams belonged to a colorful character who stormed impatiently within, full of piss and vinegar and ready to take on the world. Dreaming of the day that she would finally change her ugly name to something musical and exotic, perhaps Isabella or Angelica, learn to ride a motorcycle and travel the world alone, meeting life head on in an inferno of dangers and passions and colors. Funny that one of the things that seemed so imperative to my freedom, was to throw out the oft heard rule that one should never wear blue and green together. In the wildest of my dreams my clothes mattered, and were predominantly blues and greens, comfortably blending, just as in nature, just as I knew they would. Even now, it’s my favorite color blend, and embracing it can change the colors of the world around me, can change the face of a day.
I peeked at pictures in the National Geographic magazines in the library, and in an era where it was unheard of, I longed to pierce my nose, to tattoo my body, to dress in vibrant and exotic clothing. I yearned for color in my world, and waited impatiently for my own time.
My mother assures me that I used to say that all I wanted as an adult was to be a wife and mother. I don’t remember saying it, and I don’t remember feeling it, so it must have been an extension of the much practiced calm, inscrutable face, used often to throw people off the scent of my secret truth.
I dropped out of school at 15, went to work full time, and dated Neil, a complete ass who my mother hated on sight. It had begun! And I felt the simmering passions build to a slow boil. At 16, and living alone in a tiny studio apartment, I ran a little crazy, and loved every wild and free moment of it. I saved money and dreamed of the travelling wild life that was surely just around the corner now . . .
And suddenly, I was a wife and mother. With that calm and inscrutable face now as permanent as any tattoo, I attacked my new role with vigor, trading my dreams of exotic African travels and colorful body art for the terrifying responsibilities of decent parenting. I made mistakes, some small, some big, but they know I love them fiercely, and I hope that’s enough. That even now I would die for them, or kill for them. I told them to embrace an adventurous spirit, to do what felt right for them, but I think they have sometimes concerned themselves with how I’ll feel about it. I hope they don’t do that anymore. I hope they live the lives they feel in their hearts. And I hope they tell me, proudly, even if it’s something not in my vision for them, and that will make my heart sing! They are the four lights of my life, and I have never regretted a single moment of those wonderful years, and I have a secret tattoo in my mind…
And now they’re all off and away, living their lives, and even as I still worry for their happiness and safety, I am dreaming again. Not of Africa now; that feels a little too adventurous for my 49 year old spirit. I am restless in my soul for the things that I didn’t do, and not so certain what it is that I want now. In art and creation, I find some fire and passion, and my restless spirit rests easy awhile. And yet my staid and conservative studies are leading me down a road which has as its destination an administrative hell, and it makes my creative spirit take to the skies and fly, fly, fly away. . .
But I am doing the sensible, responsible thing. The thing that is the correct thing to do. The thing that lingers sternly and irrevocably at the edges of my mind and burns at my gut, and shrivels my soul.
School starts up again on Tuesday and I will immerse myself in a math class and an interpersonal communications class. I must do the vacuuming today, and get rid of the film of dust I see on the TV. And I must go and buy some chicken and tomatoes at the Stop n Shop, and plan the healthy dinner that is a part of the 2012 resolution.
And I will wear blue jeans and a green shirt and I will dream.