Posts Tagged ‘Jitterbug Perfume’

How much electronic pain must be suffered at the delighted hands of masochistic fairy muses, who flit about teasing the writer with half-formed ideas?   All day long this one has been continually dive-bombed by brilliant sparkling thoughts, only to see them fade away as soon as the mental hand reaches out to grasp.

At the heart of the exercise is the certainty that such grasping is not in vain.  The hope stretches beyond wishing, to the point of clarity:  gems are meant to be mined, not left in the walls of rock, forever ignored, forgotten.

The analogy searches beyond the immediate:  while the gem is the goal, it goes beyond just writing, or just ideas.  The gem reflects the natural light of value, inherent in those lights who have perceived it.  The woman whose flashing eyes reveal far more spirit turmoil and joy than most in her company.  Hidden to most, she is accessible to the seeker who somehow just can’t stop perceiving.   Like the ephemeral muse, her quick quirks of dangerous laughter upsets the apple cart of decency and “the norm”.  The writer understands and yet knows that he doesn’t get it all.   His self-awareness understands the depths of his own ignorance, and the intrigue tickles his mental taste buds.  A flavour, filling the mouth with ambiguous fire.

It’s not often this happens – this departure from every day mundane musings, and when it does, it’s certainly welcome.  I was reading “Jitterbug Perfume” (once again, probably for the tenth time, but who knows – and more importantly who’s counting?), when a new pre-ordered book slipped into the e-bookshelf of my iPad Kindle application.   The dangerous world of espionage had always intrigued me, and so I flipped over from “Jitterbug” to read the first chapter.   In normal mundane times, I would start such a book but wouldn’t stop until it was finished.  My appetite for reading has always been like that:  voracious and hungry, and unable to stop until full.  I’ve missed meetings and have been late for doctors’ appointments because of it.  There’s no shame there, really.  I revel in the fact that brilliant ideas, written painstakingly by good authors are so greatly appreciated on this side of the internet.

Yet, this time, I only made it to the first couple of paragraphs before the compulsion to jump back to “Jitterbug” irritated me mercilessly.  I knew why, too.   Robbins’ writing – at least in this work – does not lend itself to distraction.   Literary vortexes are like that.   This one is anyway.  It tends to consume concentration, with the promise of reward.  His dark maelström of lightening beneath bitter clouds floods the consciousness with meaning and soulish rapture.  It instigates and enables so many epiphanic ideas and thoughts.   I suppose it’s why I read the book so many times.   There’s an old commercial about the snack food “Bits and Bites” – where the cartoon narrator reaches into a box and pulls out some content while saying “something different in every handful”.   “Jitterbug Perfume” is just like that, with every reading.

It’s an unceasing drill sergeant too, demanding, obstinate and blunt.   The bright thoughts demand action and reaction, and doesn’t seem to know what “tolerate” means.  I suppose the contrast becomes too apparent:   the world “Machine” wants everyone to take a seat and settle down.  We are cajoled and advised to be content, to watch our favourite TV programs, to eat our fatty foods and be quiet.  To be precise:  the Machine would rather we shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and don’t stir up any shit.

Following that advise is what gets you old.  It’s an intricate preparation for disease and death.  Many of us are cool with that, and plan accordingly.   When we question that direction, and ask why it is, the only response is “well it’s complicated”.   Truth-speak for “not only wouldn’t you understand – we don’t want you to get it.”

The Machine keeps stepping on my chi, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had enough of it.  The best defence is a good offence, and the best offence is to be offensive.  Challenging my own direction is scary and a little invigorating.  It pleases me to be displeasing to conventional wisdom.

One has to suppose that the grown adult’s self-imposed rut comes from a lifetime of digging and creating a nest.  Even the most creative of us gets used to the idea of comfort wherever we can find it, or create it.  Stability is the goal, and at least for me, stagnation is the result.  So there’s a trade-off isn’t there?   If you want security, be prepared to be bored.   If you want excitement, know that your life won’t be all that stable, and it certainly won’t be predictable.

Deep in historical awareness – the same awareness that exists within our DNA – is the exhilarating knowledge that steps into uncertainty and risk have their own reward.  Joy, excitement, and even a measure of a type of security.  It knows that the plush fruit of its acts will shine attractively to those who don’t yet have it.

Ever wonder about the state of the economy and where it will all end?  I have.   Some things seem certain:  those who invest themselves in artistic directions always have willing buyers.  People who – like me for so long in my life – have become art voyeurs, the Hansel and Gretel of life’s forest, excited by the new trail, but lulled to a certain undignified grave.

The choice becomes simple.  On one hand, we can concentrate on consuming (and become consumed), and on the other we can concentrate on creating, bringing new life and enlarging our perceived horizon, constantly growing and finding room for more growth.

Voyeur or voyager.

If you could write a letter to yourself when you were sixteen, what would you say?

Joseph Galliano, an editor, has compiled a list of letters from people many of us know, and has created a book from that collection, entitled “Dear Me.  A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self”.

So…..

What would I say?

It would go something like this:

—————————–

Hi there.  There’s some stuff you should know.

First off:  trust your instincts.  Remember how troubled you felt when that guy came to pick up your sister for a date?  Remember how normal he seemed, and yet you couldn’t shake off a feeling of danger?  Well, sadly, you were right.  Your sis was OK and everything, but it got pretty dicey for a while there.  The man was dangerous and you were right to be afraid for her.   You have an instinct that borders on ESP.  Don’t worry that it sounds all airy-fairy – just go with it.  Trust yourself.  It doesn’t mean you should quickly judge everyone.  You’ll get older and wiser and soon you’ll be able to differentiate between prejudice and empathy.   You have the empathic spark though – don’t forget it.

Oh, and to help you along:  here’s one indicator of the difference.  Empathic awareness is insistent and relentless and often has no bearing on perceived logic at the time.   Prejudice on the other hand, isn’t nearly as urgent, and it tends to rationalize – usually based upon someone else’s opinion, presented as fact.  It’s almost a form of laziness.  You’ll understand.  It’s just a matter of time and unending curiosity.

Which brings me to another point.  Remember how your dad criticized you for thinking all the time?  Remember how weird that seemed?  Well he was wrong.  This is actually one of your best qualities, and it will serve you well.  Though you’re not great at school (and by the way, forget about trying to memorize names and dates – I’ll tell you why in a minute), your curiosity will take you through life in an amazing way.  You’ll learn so much, just because you thought to question.  And you know what else?   This is a side benefit of your curiosity:  people love to talk.  Especially about themselves.  So ask them, and just enjoy their experience.  It’s sort of what makes you tick.

Which brings me to another point.   If you’re curious enough, and ask the right people, you can probably avoid a lot of years of spinning your wheels in frustration.  Start slowly, but work on it constantly.  Ask questions from people who don’t share your religious beliefs.  Get to know what life is like for people who don’t go to your church. It’s important.  Read some of the great philosophers (if you can – I know how hard it is to get into intricately detailed books.  There’s a reason for that.  More later.).

There is such a great value and such pleasure available to you when you learn to open your mind up a bit.

Oh, and something else:  remember how you sought out the advice of a school counsellor during those times when your father was creating a living hell on earth at home?  Remember how you sat in her office and told her about how he would get so drunk and so angry, and everyone was afraid – and about how you called the cops on him?

Well that was a good starting point for you, but it wasn’t the end.   In between all of that crap you sort of got lost.  You thought your identity was with the church, because people there were really nice, and they welcomed you so gladly.  Their hearts were real, and they really did like you, but you made a tiny little mistake:  you thought you had to be like them.  I mean, exactly like them.  You mimicked them so closely that you really had no idea who you were.  Oh, I know you think you did, but trust me, you didn’t.  You tried so hard to be the social chameleon out of habit:  you knew that in order to survive in that hellish house, you had to figure out what The Beast wanted at any given time, and manoeuvre yourself accordingly.  You learned how to placate and accommodate, as this is what your eight year old self figured out, to survive.  You knew if you did this, maybe The Beast wouldn’t hurt anyone.  You had no idea back then, that what you did didn’t really matter.   He was looking for an excuse to lash out.

I think you should take the time to see a doctor and get yourself sorted out.   You lack one major thing right now – self awareness.  Once you have that, you’ll be on your way.

When you’re talking with the doc, also share with him about how much you hate school projects, and why.  Tell him too about all of your clumsiness and accidents.  It’s important.  Tell him about how you daydream all the time, and forget so many things.  Tell  him about those comments in your report cards, where the teacher says “could do better if he applied himself”.  About how you’re always late, and always always ALWAYS have to run to school every morning to get to band class, because you’re just not able to ever leave on time.   What you’re going through is not normal – and hopefully the doc will pick up on that.

Pay attention to what you like in school, and what you don’t like.  Indulge your love of music and dramatic arts.   It’s part of who you are.  Find ways to get more involved.  Forget about what others tell you that you *should* do, relative to class courses.  Take up the drama class, and join the drama club too.  There’s a brilliant teacher there – get to know him, even though he’s a little frightening, because he’s abrupt and cold, and because he’s really big, like your dad.

Even though your history teacher is amazing – because he brings history to life so well, – you’re going to find yourself hating it in Grade 13.   The new teacher will want the class to memorize names and dates for everything – and you’d rather get into a fight with a school bully than do that.  The daydreaming at this point will be your downfall and you’ll want to give up.  And maybe you should.  But not for long.   Being a kid, you think that you should be able to do everything, or nothing.  You’re kind of black and white like that.  It won’t occur to you (which is why I’m telling you now) that everyone has strengths in certain things, while they suck at others.  You’re never going to be an academic – you’re intelligent enough, but it’s just not who you are.   You won’t work in the trades either.  You don’t know it, but your strength is in people, and in entertainment, and in the arts.  This is not a bad thing.  These are the things that excite you, and get your heart racing.

There are other things to tell you but they should be a surprise.  You’re going to go through some heavy stuff, but if you follow all of the above advice, you’ll at least establish a firm and trustworthy foundation for dealing with them.  Some of the harsh stuff will bring some interesting surprises that you’ll love.

One last thought: some of the best plans never work out.  What is true for you today might not be true tomorrow.    Trust yourself, and trust your instincts.  The one seed for your tree of life never changes:  you must live.  Not just survive, and not just tolerate.  You probably have no idea what I mean by this, so search out a book, called “Jitterbug Perfume”.  Read it one time so that you satisfy your curiosity about the plot.  And when it’s done, read it again.

—————————–

So.  What would you write to yourself?  Better yet – if you feel like it, write a blog, and provide a link to it in the comments here.

The average looking girl, with her dirty blond hair in ponytail and harried face slips into the subway car and into her seat without anyone giving her notice.  She’s not participating in the collective consciousness of the riders.  She may as well not even be there.

At the next stop, a guy walks in, clad in jeans and ripped t-shirt.  The terrestrial horror of his multitude of pimples war with the rings in his nose and upper lip in their dance of pain, and it’s all the passengers can do not to stare.  His belligerent look causes them to look away, as his questing gaze scans the car.

His swiveled gaze stops once he sees the girl.

“Becky”

The girl looks up, her frown disappearing.   A shine glows in her eyes, as she erupts into a wide open smile and hops off her seat, to grab him in a hug.  For his part, the belligerence is gone and he grins down at her.

For a brief moment, the busy riders forget about their pressing appointments, their bills, the stressful presentations they have to give, and what they’re going to tell their wives about why they couldn’t go on holidays this year.  Instead, they see a couple living in a moment, unaware of the past or future, or troubles.   The display admonishes them about misplaced priorities. 

It is to be expected that, not long after the couple leave the car, those priorities and issues will come crashing back.  Some will pop anti-stress pills, otherwise will drown themselves in coffee, and still others will eat more fat-enhancing food, all in an effort to avoid feeling bad. 

The observant soul will notice that this scenario happens more often than not.  It is only evident to those who are aware and watchful.

One artist saw an abandoned house down in New Orleans and decided to experiment.  She took a piece of chalk and in bold letters wrote “BEFORE I DIE”.   And then she scratched out a whole wall of empty lines with the words “Before I die, I want to……..”.   Then she sat back and waited to see what people would do.

The artist’s instinct was dead-on.  Give people an open and unjudging chance to talk about themselves, and they’ll gladly oblige.  Some, even joyfully.

Many wrote jokes.  Most took the exercise seriously though.

Frankly, I was a little surprised to see one particular wish stated over and over.

“Before I die, I want to live”.

That wish makes me almost speechless.  An explosion of thoughts careen around, begging for release.

Why would they say that?  What’s stopping them?  Do they feel they’re not living now?  If so, why is that?

The persistent grinding poverty of desire and passion seems overwhelming.  People (including this writer) talk about The Machine as if it’s a sentient, purposeful, sadistic thing.  The Machine swallows dreamers whole, and spits out robotic uninterested (and therefore uninteresting) sheep who do their Master’s bidding.   The question comes up:  is it possible to dream and still be part of the system?

There aren’t any perfect answers to that one.  The dream is not the achievement is it?   Dreamers are often considered whiners, not content to appreciate what they have.  To a certain degree, that’s true of many of us.   Yet, those who dream often provoke change.  

You have to consider: maybe advancement isn’t possible without dreamers who consider what yet isn’t, and should be.

I dreamt of changes.  After years of playing the living martyr, content to put up with angst and depression until I died, confident that the hereafter would be my reward, I elected, finally, to escape the grind.   There was a severe financial and living conditions price to pay, which I thought about carefully before making my choice.   You know – the notion that I had a choice at all was pretty compelling.   After closing my eyes and pinching my nose shut, I jumped.

It was very hard, at first.   After a few years of plodding with mud-covered boots through a miasma of difficulties and obstacles, the dream stayed in front, smiling and encouraging.  Eventually, there was a point where the mud sloughed away, and the difficulties stayed behind.

Without The Dream, none of that would have happened.

Then I read a book.  And after reading it, another dream took shape.

This new dream  provoked even more change.   Travelling and sky-diving and acting the fool on a stage in a theatre and in a few bars happened.   Years of stress, and of biting my tongue, went away.  In their place came the smiles of youth.   My God this was good.

“Before I die, I want to live”

Amazing.   It’s personally frustrating to know that so many don’t feel they have options and choices, and that they must put up with *this* before they die.   The question for those who say they want to live is this:   “how long do you plan to wait before making that happen?”

Someone else wrote “Before I die, I want to be published”

Yeah, that’s my current dream.

But the dream that intrigues me most, the one that was written on the wall, without explanation, was this one:

“Before I die, I want to evaporate into the light.”

So we’ve come through the weekend and no rapture has occurred.  No planes fell out of the sky, pilotless, no suddenly empty chairs at restaurants, no sets of clothes sitting on park benches, no empty operating tables, with nurses and doctors scratching their heads, wondering where the open heart surgery patient went.

For most of us, life goes on.  We never gave much credence to the 89-year old preacher who predicted this weekend would be IT anyway.  We made plans for Saturday and Sunday (today) and for next week, confident we’d see our way to getting them done.

Not so for a great number of other people though.  Many – and a great majority didn’t go to the same church as Rev. Camping – were truly disappointed.  One of my FB friends lamented this way of thinking, noting that many of her friends had offered up, without sarcasm, the sincere wish that the world would have ended this weekend.

I know for a fact that they mean it, because I used to wish the same thing.  If you’re ultra-religious, you dress up that wish in robes of sanctity, by expressing the belief that you just want to “be with Jesus” finally.   You lie to yourself and to others.

What you really mean though is that you’re trapped in a life that offers nothing but a grinding emotional, spiritual and intellectual poverty; a life married to a spouse whom you’re growing to despise, because the Bible says that once married you must stay that way; a life that negates your sexuality – if you enjoy it too much, you’re probably putting your soul in peril; a life in which the only promise of joy is one that is provided after you slip this mortal coil.

If you’re young, and living with a menacing, raging alcoholic father, in a family of six kids with the constant night-time sounds of him trying his best to beat the shit out of her, you’re miserable too.  God hasn’t answered your prayers and killed him, so you kind of wish the rapture would come.  And on a Saturday night when it’s really bad, and all you can hear is the bellowing, and the crying and the sounds of fist hitting flesh, you want the rapture to come now, damn it.

And later on, when you’ve married someone who has the same rage issues as your father (a psychiatrist’s money train condition, if ever there was one), and you’ve realized what you’ve done, you wish in those silent moments of thought, that she would maybe get hit by a car.   You gasp at your own thought, and immediately repent of it.  Then there are times when it’s bad, and you wish YOU were dead.

“Please God – take me home now” becomes a constant prayer.

And then later on, just because you’re morbidly curious, you begin googling ways to kill yourself.  And then there’s that time when you were driving down the road, late at night, and there’s a little voice in your head, suggesting that it wouldn’t take much, at the speed your car is going.   Just a little twitch to the right, and it would be all over.  There’s a whole forest of trees there.  Just need to smash hard into one of them, and you’re home-free.

What really makes me sad is knowing that the above is true for so many people.  Mostly those who’ve never quite matured in their thinking, who don’t know that they can author their own changes.  People who’ve never taken the time to examine themselves, and find out who they are.  People who are *still* wrapped up in the cling-wrap of religious dogma, or in the expectations of others.

People who have never learned what it means to LIVE.

My process started the night I almost ran the car off of the road.  The force of that impulse was so strong, that I realized I was in trouble.  So I sought help.  The family physician – who, though not a psychiatrist, happened to specialize in cognitive therapy – helped me through it.   It took a bit of time to realize that those “little voices” didn’t just get there.  We talk to ourselves all the time.  She told me how to figure out what I was telling myself, to pay attention, and even to write it down.  At first, I was skeptical.

“No way, Doc.  I don’t talk to myself.  I’m troubled but not crazy.”

“We all do” she said.  “Here’s how you figure it out:  the next time you feel a strong emotion – disgust, joy, sadness, anger, whatever – stop and look back to what you were thinking, or feeling just before that emotion arrived.  It’ll take time, because emotions don’t just suddenly happen: they build up over a stretch of thoughts.  Then, write it down.  Do this every time.”

I did it.  And discovered she was right.

Then I realized I’m not a captive victim.  That I have options and choices.

One of those choices was about my marriage, which was clearly on the rocks.   Self-illumination is great, but the slow build-up of confining dogma is a tough trap to crawl out of.  It means re-examining every single thing you’ve ever believed.   I had to start slow.

The particular dogma that kept me captive in a miserable marriage was this one:  God hates divorce.  And the way I finally saw my way around that one had to do with Jesus’ stance on sinning – which He described as an occurrence of the heart, long before the deed.

So I asked myself, honestly:  “when do you think divorce happens, in God’s eyes?  Does it happen when the judge brings the gavel down?”

And I answered myself, with relief:  “it happens in the heart, long before a lawyer learns of your intent.”

My wife and I agreed we needed to separate.   So I went looking for an apartment, knowing full well I couldn’t expect much, since as a result of the separation agreement, much of my income would be gone.

I found a place.  It was a little one-bedroom apartment above a store-front in the downtown section of the city.  I could live there, just existing really. I was worried though, because my credit rating was sucking mud at the time.

I remember the day I got the call and was told the apartment was mine.  I thanked the landlord and then went to a nearby diner to have breakfast.  Before the waitress brought my order, I sat and thought about it all.  And suddenly, in that very public place, I got a lump in my throat.  Nothing worse than being a big macho guy, suddenly realizing you’re going to have some unwanted tears.    But that’s what happened.  I was relieved, elated, joyous.   That vicious weight had resided in my chest for so long, I didn’t realize just how heavy it was until it finally lifted, the day I was told my apartment application was approved.

(I got around the sudden tears by fumbling around and grabbing my wrap-around sunglasses and shoving them quickly on my face)

The other tool of release from dogma came through a book I’ve spoken about many times:  Jitterbug Perfume.   If you want to read a book about *life*, that’s the book to read.  Unstopping full-force throttle with no reverse – that’s the author’s approach to it.   My stance on life was once again taken from a scripture that said that Jesus came so that we could have life, abundantly – and He didn’t mean “but only after the rapture” – He meant here and now.

So, with that scripture, and with “Jitterbug Perfume” in hand, I made a few important decisions.  Starting with “I’m going to fucking well LIVE, damn it.”  And I lost weight, started taking acting classes, and improvisation classes, going up on stage, going to Paris, skydiving.

Still, there are those out there who don’t realize that they have options too.  I meet them all the time.  Their common refrain is “oh I could never do that”.  Or there’s the equally troubling “must be nice to be able to do all that you’re doing.”

There’s the knowledge that they’re often that way because of a lifetime of conditioning.  I don’t know how to shake them out of it, and believe me, I’ve tried.  Many times.  Often, I’ve been exasperated, and in one case, ended up raising my voice a bit.  Not proud of that last one, because all it did to serve was to push that person away.

It’s people like that who say they wish the Rapture had occurred this weekend, and that they’re now disappointed.   Even though I have a life example to give them – my own – for them, it changes nothing.

I guess there’s wisdom sometimes in doing what you can, and then walking away.

Unless I’m missing something?  Anything?  If you have answers, I’d like to hear them, please.  Or just share your own experience.

Act Your Age

Posted: March 29, 2010 in humor, Life
Tags: , , ,

I saw a gorgeous woman today.  She had to be in her 50’s but…she had a gorgeous presence about her.  An elegance and wonderful shine to her that wouldn’t quit.  Right away I surprised myself by giving into an impulse – to check her left hand for a ring.

It wasn’t just that she was svelte, or that she took such great and obvious care of her physique, her clothing and her hair.  I mean, that was all part of the package, but…she had a body language that spoke of confidence, of girlishness without compromise, regret or apology. 

I saw all of that within ten seconds.  She was on a mission somewhere and so was I.   We’ll likely never meet again.

Later on, I saw a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall, written by a stranger:  “the only thing worse than someone dressing their age is someone dressing as if they were still the age you want them to be.  Look in your closets people!  We all grow old…”

What utter shit!  There’s so much wrong with that statement, and I don’t mean just the grammar.  Basically what that’s telling me, is that when I get to be age 60, I should be prepared to put on a pair of old man’s pants, hike them up to my nipples and therefore be prepared in case of an ad hoc flood or two.

And women should just dye their hair blue, find the most baggy Mrs. Roper outfit they can find, and sit around blinking their Betty Davis eyes in constant surprise.  That is, when they’re not out playing bingo with their troll dolls.

Don’t get me wrong – I have an idea of what the guy was talking about.  I’ve seen all kinds of people wearing spandex, when they really really really shouldn’t.  I just think he took his point about a mile too far.

Someone once said that every time they look in the mirror, they’re shocked.  They expect to see a 20-something person looking back at them and can’t understand why a 40-something face is staring at them.    No worries, folk – you won’t read me saying something as abhorrent as “you’re only as old as you feel” or “she’s 953 years young”.  Nope.  You won’t read that here.

The fact is though – in our society we have a tendency to hurry the process.   Why does a 31-year old girl feel the need to wear dowdy clothing, and sport a coiffure worthy of Phyllis Diller?   It happens.  It really does.  It’s so disappointing and sad.   She obviously feels this is how she should look.  Someone fed her a line of bullshit and she scooped it up with a spoon.

I’m convinced it starts when we’re young, when some well-meaning but exasperated parent says “act your age!”.   When they say that, we have no point of reference, do we?  We hear that and we process it as “act older”.   And once we start down that road, we don’t know when to stop.   So many of us end up interpreting it as “stop growing, start aging already.”

Prepare yourself.  There’s a wide open grave with your name on it.   Get ready to jump.  Got your will in order?  Do you have any money in the bank to leave for the kids?  We’re going to give you a warning signal, so that you can get a running start.  When I say the word “retirement”, then…GO!!!  Run as fast to the cemetary as your wrinkled feet will go.  Smell the flowers?  FUCK the flowers!  That headstone won’t wait forever.

Fellow bloggers and readers, let me tell you something.  Indulge me, OK?  This won’t take long.

When a friend of mine talked me into taking improvisational comedy courses, she had no idea what it would do to me.   Performing in front of others was OK as long as it was scripted.   But this wasn’t scripted.  We were told to use our imagination.  Play.  Pretend we were someone else.  Build a history, and work within that character to create a scene with one or two or bunch of other people. 

“But….what if I don’t have any ideas?”

“Well.  Let’s see. Were you ever a kid?  I mean, ever in your life – did you at any time arrive at the age of five, seven or nine?”

Nod.

“Remember what you did back then?  Remember how you formed characters and situations and you played them with your friends with all seriousness, as if your character was real?  Remember how much fun that was?”

“Yes.”

“It’s just like that.  Children just let go.  They have no social filters.   They adopt and drop characters like crazy, just doing whatever comes into their minds.  Their main purpose is to have fun.  That’s what you have to do.  Become a kid again.”

You know what?  *smiling*  It worked.  I mean, sure we – I – looked as goofy as hell.  I began not to care though – this was too much fun.  I had learned what it meant to be a kid again.  And now I can’t shut it off, even if I wanted to.   I’ll blurt stuff out in serious meetings sometimes.  Others will look at me as if I’ve lost my marbles (and heck – maybe I have).   That stunned silence lasts for a few seconds until the laughter starts.   Fun.  So much fun.

The second thing:  my most favourite book ever is a small novel called “Jitterbug Perfume”.  I recommend it to anyone and everyone (and have mentioned even here in these blogs at least a couple of times).   I don’t know if the author intended this or not, but the book has acted as elixir of youth, not just for me but for countless people who have eyes to read.   I’m not spoiling it too much when telling you that the main character – a king named Alobar – makes a decision that he’s not going to age. 

It’s a decision anyone can make, when you get right down to it.   It flies in the face of science, and more importantly, of tradition.  Who said tradition was the be-all and end-all arbiter of our progress anyway?  Scientists will tell you that not everything that can be known is known.  They do know we only use about 10% of our brains. 

So why the rush to the grave anyway?  Who do we accommodate when we do this?  Not ourselves, certainly, and not our families either.  Something to consider. 

If I decide I’m going to dress up in wide-cuff bell bottoms, dye my hair purple and green, and put some piercings in my face, just because I want and need to express myself that way, who is anyone to tell me I’m not socially acceptable? 

If you decide to do something outlandish, like the 80-year old woman who had never sky-dived and had suddenly decided this was something she needed to do, who is ANYONE to tell her to act her age?

Aging is for lazy wimps.  It’s for other people.  Not you.  Not me.