I’m not sure what it is about this time in my life. I seem to be reflecting on the past just about every day. Every. Single. Day. It might have something to do with my age, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ve just fallen off of my high horse and instead of landing hard on the ground below me, I’ve just kind of softly touched bottom, even landing on my feet. Now, I’m sure that on any given day, that horse I’m riding on could throw me off the saddle and into the middle of a swampy pond. Maybe it might just be sluggish one day and I’ll keep kicking the side of it to get it moving. I might even hold onto the reins for dear life and be scared shit less as I take off like a bat out of hell into the unknown. But today, I’m standing alongside my horse, appreciating all that life has to offer.
At the risk of sounding like Oprah, it would seem that I recently had an epiphany of sorts. Ironically, it was during the 2015 Oscars, and Oprah was actually in attendance. Unless she has powers beyond measure, this feeling was most certainly mine and mine alone. I had no help from the outside. I was however, influenced by that special part of every award show that displays the faces of people in the entertainment industry who have passed on. This presentation was quite beautiful, with the photographs edited in a sketch type image which somehow made you very aware that those people were gone. Lots of random camera men and screen writers mixed in with your big stars. And you know what? I sat there watching, all by my lonesome, and thought, “it didn’t matter how much money each one made or how many fans they had, they all left this earth like everybody else does. Maybe not in the same manner obviously, but they still ceased to exist in the way that we all do right now. And aside from the friends and family members that they left behind, how many people think about them and grieve for them every day? They aren’t coming back, that’s for sure. Did they leave too soon? Did they get to do everything that they wanted to? Did they leave a mark on this world that will live on forever? Maybe, maybe not.
But I think what it all boils down to is that while we’re here, we need to make the best of it. We should not be scared to try something new or desire change. Each morning when we wake up, we have been given a gift from God, the same gift that was awarded to us on our birth day. You’ve read the articles and watched the news. The feel good stories of a seemingly lost person who perseveres and triumphs. The Go Fund Me Page set up for a man in Detroit who walked over 20 miles to work every day for 12 years. A fireman or police officer saving a dog in a frozen river. These are all gifts.
When we’re young, we don’t get a lot of opportunity to stop and appreciate the gifts. We’re busy. Like driving down the road in my car and seeing a beautiful sunset. I swear the color of the sky in the fall is the most awesome shade of blue that you don’t get to experience any other time. The quiet of the first snowfall blanketing the landscape. A bird’s nest outside one of your windows in the spring. The sun shining down on your face and the gentle breeze that tickles the hairs on your skin and feels so wonderful. Have you ever watched a dog in a car with his head outside of the window, so happy to be out. They don’t know where they’re going or what they’re going to see, they’re living in the moment.
I recently have a new found appreciation for music concerts. The spirit in the room, the anticipation of the music that will be played. There’s a feeling of euphoria when that band that you’ve listened to a large part of your life is playing live, and it would seem directly for you, only you. And that music brings back memories. I honestly don’t have a bad memory attached to any specific song, but I have many distinctly good memories of so many songs.
Sitting inside the apartment of a neighbor whose husband was incredibly good looking, listening to Starland Vocal Band singing Afternoon Delight while I watched him eat a grilled cheese. I’ve loved that song ever since. Oh did I mention that he sang along, in his cute boyish kind of way? Yep. I can still see it like it was a minute ago. And when I hear that song, it takes me to one of the nicest memories in my early childhood. Watching my mom fold laundry in our upstairs “kitchen”, listening to Mary Hopkin singing “Those were the days”. It made me want to spin around in circles and dance in the middle of the floor. I listened to Luther Vandross on my brother’s record player, singing “If This World Were Mine” with Cheryl Lynn. I first saw them on the weekly dance/music show called Soul Train. I was mesmerized, and I swore that I could sing just as well as Cheryl. The smooth sounds of their voices seemed like heaven to my ears. Roller skating to Dan Fogelberg singing “Same Auld Lang Syne” on a New Years Eve, while I wished I were next door at a youth party, where surprisingly my husband was attending. We weren’t really great friends yet, but I knew I wanted to be.
And finally this song, “Let Me Sing For You” by Kenny Rogers. I remember my family driving to Big Bear Lake in our Ford Van for the weekend. Kenny was a popular cassette we listened to, and this was my favorite song. It was an easy ride, with my dad driving and mom changing the radio channels. Some of the memories I have of my life, condensed into a 3 minute blog, set to music. Please enjoy and if you can, visualize the ride. This one was a nice, even gallop with the wind blowing through my hair and all was good in the world.