We have a family of turkeys that traipse through all the yards in the morning, before settling into the morning fog in a field on the next street over. A friend sent me a photo her friend had sent her from a few towns over of a giant bull moose near Yankee Candle headquarters! Then, I saw a bobcat strolling casually down my driveway! It stopped to look back at me. I tried to get a picture but it’s not worth showing. Lately, I’ve been wondering what’s happened to my attention span.
I used to be able to write pages of notes without a hand cramp. I used to be able to talk on the phone or watch TV without having to do something else at the same time. And I used to be able to read an entire article without the temptation to skim. Yet, I can still get lost in a book, without missing one word. I can get lost in my work, as long as I can do it without looking out the window or looking at my phone or looking at my filling or unfilling inbox or looking for a snack or drink.
The thing is, I tend to go to the worst case scenario. If I get in a huge fight with Cassidy, or at least when it happened in the past, I used to think he wanted a divorce. If one person gives me feedback on my work, or I get a rejection, I might assume that everything has changed and that my entire career rests on the words or rejection of one person or company! Even when there’s no reason to believe that. At my old job, when one person was angry with me or disappointed in me, I’d assume everyone felt the same. I could barely look anyone in the eye. I had a capital “L” for LOSER written on my forehead.
The thing is, it’s when my retirement plan destination is on fire, and deadly hurricanes keep coming, and you can’t feel safe at a concert or a movie theater or even in your own school parking lot, or probably on your own lawn, and it feels like the world has gone mad. Doesn’t it? Clowns to the left of us; jokers to the right. How can we be SO split about some of the most fundamental issues involving Americans? And then it’s 50 degrees in May and 80 degrees in October, so I go to extremes.
The truth is, some of this is fact and some of this is fiction. I believe in worst case scenarios almost as powerfully as I believe in best case scenarios. It’s a miracle how much I believe in best case scenarios, but I’ve sort of built a life around them. Maybe it’s because my own worst case scenario happened. It’s a tale as old as time, or at least almost as old as my time.
When Cassidy works late or goes out after work to shop for Halloween costume supplies, Des gets angsty. I told a friend just last week at the dog park that it’s the only way I can objectively look at my own past. I don’t feel distant or separate from that little girl who is me, who was me, who is still me, but I need to step back to understand that girl whose father fell right in front of her, was taken away in a screeching ambulance, and never came back. And darling, that’s why I go to extremes.
The truth is, so much of this is fact, and part of it is fiction, but the world isn’t ending. It’s probably always ending and always beginning. And sometimes you have to go to extremes, because you know what? That’s the only way out of here.
That’s why I link it all. I link my own past with my own present with my own future. I interweave the state of the union and the state of the world, because you know what? It’s pretty freaking scary. I take it personally. I know wine country isn’t burning for or against me, but it threatens to burn down my dream and the dreams of my loved ones. And it’s real. I know those hurricanes aren’t rolling through because of the hurricanes and the ebbs and flows in my heart, but that’s my dream too. The whole world is my dream, so I can travel in and out of super cool places, and so that everyone I know and love, and even all the people I don’t know and/or love, have a place to be safe. A place to rest their heads and their hearts. It’s real.
I know that I’m not the only one, and the only parent, who wonders about the kind of world we are giving to our children. Will they be able to go to a mall or a movie or a first date or a first kiss or a beach or first concert or a first solo plane ride, and get lost in the moments? Will they live their lives without thinking about guns and hurricane shelters and a world on fire?
Maybe I go to extremes because there’s no other way for my head and my heart to make sense of this crazy little brain in this crazy big world. How will you go to extremes to keep this world turning and not burning, beginning and not ending?
Right at this moment I’m totally cool
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life
Sometimes it feels like I’m going too fast
I don’t know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it’s only tonight”
— Billy Joel