Salad Days

Jan 26, 2012 at 5:23 AM
When I was a young girl, I asked my father what salad days meant. He said they were the foolhardy innocent days when you were new to adulthood, and still youthful about it. When you were in those budding years when you felt the most exuberance, were most interested in making your own way in the world.  When, fresh-faced and bright-eyed, everything seemed hopeful. I asked why "salad"? My recollection is that he said "because you're green like a sapling. Or maybe because you eat a lot of salad when you're just starting out, because it's all you can afford!" He laughed. I didn't know if he was serious.

I asked him when these days started and he said, uhm... after school or about twenty. It doesn't mean days literally, but a time period, he said. I realize in retrospect that he was winging his answers, but I took them all as gospel at the time.

I asked when salad days ended. He said they're done by the time you're thirty five or so, about the time debts and taxes start to take their toll. Or when you had kids. And he laughed. I got the joke but suddenly felt I'd cheated my dad somehow out of being a sapling, by being born. Then I looked up, saw the humor in his eyes. I smiled, not worried, not slighted. Besides, everything gets better when your dad tousles your hair and has happy shiny eyes. We both knew he wasn't missing anything. Then we got back to installing an intercom system.

How odd to think that when my father said that to me, he was much younger than I am now.

I'm 35 years old now. My hair is still the same, and my dad still is the person whose word is gospel, even when he's making it up.

I didn't know it, but my salad days would be over when I was fourteen. The same year my father turned the age I am now, I had to choose between trying to be a grown up, and watching my family explode. I chose adulthood.

Apparently you never really get to unchoose that. I didn't realize that embracing adulthood without time to prepare and plan its success would mean the end of my youth. I didn't think it through that hard. I am glad that I foisted the world of adult responsibility on myself, and I don't think I did the wrong thing by forfeiting my "halcyon days of youth..." to the toil that is the ridiculous attempts to keep up with work and bills when you aren't even legally allowed to own a bank account or sign a lease.

Right about when my salad days were planned for, at twenty, I was already married, and I bore children.

Now I am 35 and my daughters are 14. And they still live at home, for which I am glad on a daily basis.

I have had a most unexpectedly wonderful life, none of which matched my plans for the future any, all of which surprised me. Life has a way of throwing punches that somehow turn into blessings, a rich plethora of deeply ironic and glorious truths, taught through thousands of tiny lessons, daily and plentifully.

Instead of salad days, I had laundry days, baby-group days, 3-jobs-a-day days, commuting every which way days, and days that would have tried Mother Teresa. But never any salad days. Never youthful innocence and exuberance.

For these last dozen plus plus years of my life, my daughters have marked time for me, pushed me into my future so much faster than I ever intended to arrive there. But then these amazon children of mine also made so many otherwise mundane parts of daily trivium and tedium into intensely beautiful and meaningful vignettes of memory treasure. Regardless of how hard it is to reach them, I treasure each of those kinds of days. The pieces of my life that are uniquely related to my daughters have a deeper personal meaning to me. My girls  are the brightest beacon in a sometimes difficult, sometimes rewarding  life.

Now there is a man deeply and truly in love with me, and I with him. I am ever surprised that I am. I don't have to push it or try, it just keeps happening. As though without consulting my will, I fall deeper in love because his actions are good and noble and pure-hearted. It continues to surprise me how thoroughly I love him. And how well he deserves it. It's been longer than I'd care to admit since I truly loved someone without it being a terribly foolhardy gesture. Without being completely misguided about how that man felt for me, or the damage being done to my life.

According to the ticker that society keeps, the strand that the fates cut for me, and how kismet planned my life, how the world views when the phases of life ought to happen, and when things should unravel, my life has never happened in the right order.

And I don't care.

So, since I chose first the striving harshness of premature adulthood and then the wisdom-imparting path of parenthood, and I chose them willingly instead of the bliss of a selfishly wholesome and innocent personal journey toward a blustery future, AKA a 'salad days',  I've been pondering the idea that once my sweetheart and I are all in order, perhaps it will be time for a few long-deserved years full of salad days. Perhaps not quite the same definition as above, but something a bit newer feeling.

Youthful optimism about the future is a choice you make, right? At any age?

I don't know if perhaps it's reckless to want to calm things down when they're at a fever pitch, or if it's even possible to go back to the fresh faced, youthful naivete that I have not had since 14. But I'd like to try to turn the clock back a bit, calm things down, find my passion and drive it.

Even if nothing changes in my career or my life aside from feeling fresh faced about it. Even if all that happens is that my leaf turns and I feel renewed. That alone would make any such effort worth it.

Blah blah blah

Jan 18, 2012 at 9:05 PM
Nobody commented on my post.

I wondered why, then I saw. I was the only person allowed to comment.

Oh.

(smacks head).

I've turned on the ability to comment. Except anonymously. So please, feel free to comment again.

Time Again

at 3:22 AM
I'm blocked on my writing. Haven't written a thing in months. Since this blog is what stirred me to start writing it, I'm going to start blogging again.

It's time again to bare my soul to the text entry area of the blog posting screen, to tell the impersonal empty white space my deepest thoughts and allow it to respond with whatever it chooses.

Usually nothing.

Sometimes you guys, the readers of my blog, have responded intensely to a post that I sloughed off as no big whoop.  Sometimes I've had no comments, no reaction at all to something that was like giving birth to release, to press publish after sweating over it for a full night.

On occasion, I've stuffed my foot deep into my mouth, offending one of you so deeply with a post that I shut down my blog for a while. After the last time this blog brought offense, I shut it down, for what has turned out to be over a year but was intended to be forever.

I won't be doing that this time. If you don't like a post, fine. It's only going out to a few close friends.

But I'm coming back to blogging, because I haven't written a thing in my books in a while and the blog needs to serve it's purpose again, opening that wound up so that the blood can flow again, so I can purge whatever is keeping my book from flowing freely again.