Tuesday, November 15, 2011

early week briefing

I spent most of  today signing books and putting them into the mail, so those of you who pre-ordered them should have them before the end of the week. I'm dancing as fast as I can.

Saturday, I attended the 50th reunion planning meeting for my Mt. Holyoke college class. I am not on the committee but they asked me to design a scarf for the occasion, so I was invited.   It was very lovely to reconnect with people I had not seen in almost that long and truthfully, we all look the same and most of us look 100 times better than we did back in the day:-).  Tonight, I dug up the 25th reunion booklet (I see that I neglected to write anything about myself) and finally found my yearbook.  Such a dorky, insipid  photo. That's who I was in those days.

I like myself a whole lot better these days, on every level, and am a lot happier.  But isn't that the way it should be for all of us?  Hopefully, we all like ourselves better 25 or 50 years later.

As long as we are being introspective (well, some of us) I will pass along a question that B.P. ( one of my most faithful readers) plans to ask people as Thanksgiving approaches.  I thought it was interesting but really couldn't answer it.

B.P. gave me permission to post it here, so I'd love to know how you would answer it.

We always think about what we are thankful for at this time of year, but here's the question:  What have you done that has made other people thankful?  It takes some thought, but please be sure to leave an answer in the comments section!

Right now, I am thankful for my bed, which awaits me at this ungodly late hour.

13 comments:

Eva said...

Mostly, we are our own most critical judges because we know how life has polished away all the foolish ways of youth. I don't know about yours, only you do, and this is why you are so harsh on your past self. It would be easy to see signs of aging in the mirror -- at least this is what I sometimes do --, but remembering what we have gained (hopefully): wisdom and empathy, I'm just as grateful for my aged image as you are, and, honey: You look great!

tiedyejudy said...

I'm soooo looking forward to getting my copy of your book!
As for doing things that other people are thankful for... I have a friend who lost her guy a few years back... I have been staying actively in her life ever since, inviting her to dinner, encouraging her to sell her beautifully beaded jewelry at Art/Craft shows, letting her vent when work or other things make her want to tear her hair out. I'm not thankful she lost her guy, who was also a friend of mine, but I am glad I put my friendship and caring out there to let her know she's not alone, and I'm pretty sure she is thankful for that!
BTW, I do love the Rayna I have come to know now... you are a delightful person, and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog posts! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

Cathy Bargar said...

GOOD question. "Cathy brings the fun!" is what my parents & sibs say. Sounds pretty lightweight to me, but I know that I am thankful that they think so.

My only useful function these years appears to be making people feel better when they need a little support, or a safe place to "lose it", or a good cry or laugh, or a reminder not to take life quite so seriously. Friends and family know that I am, as my dear sister so elegantly put it, a "sitting duck" (at home most of the time, not working - at least not in most people's eyes, apparently, kids grown, and almost always pretty cheerful and able to carry my own troubles lightly most of the time), and am therefore available for them.

Are they thankful for this most modest of "help"? I don't know that my presence in this way for them is big enough that it would come up as something they are thankful for - but I am sure grateful to have the opportunity to be the designated cheerleader for the ones I love. (which -I know - wasn't the question...)

Del said...

The problem is that telling what one has done makes one feel that they are bragging and, as all women of a certain age know, bragging is not ladylike. Setting that aside, however….
The best thing I have done in years was sponsoring the Twelveby12 Special Exhibit at Quilt Festival in Houston. I had followed the project with admiration over the years and when it was mentioned that they hoped to find a sponsor the decision was instant – I would find the money. Quiltmakers need encouragement to stretch their creative muscles and learn new ways of looking at their work. What better way than in cooperation with like-minded women around the world? With the Internet providing access we don’t need to find a fellow artist next door, we can find one anywhere in the world. I am so pleased that the exhibit was such a hit at Houston and, perhaps, started the visitors off on their own journeys of exploration. I am so glad I was able to do this for the “Twelves” and all the other quilters who will be able to see the exhibit. Anticipation of the exhibit showing in Cincinnati and Long Beach is going to carry me through the next nine months.

affastudio said...

Many years ago -- at a reunion, coincidentally enough -- one person told me that no one had ever made them laugh as hard as I once did. Another individual said I had taken the best picture of him and his wife that had ever been taken. In each case, I thought, OK, I can die in peace now.

I particularly like the fact that in both instances, I had not set out to do anything as special as giving someone lasting joy.

Cathy Bargar said...

Returning to ponder your question about liking ourselves better 25 or 50 years later...when I look back at who I was, say, in college & the years afterwards, I see a young woman who was a total burning, energetic, gonna-save-the-world fireball. (Apparently I have failed to do so....sigh.) There are a lot of things I love about my younger self; I was foolish, afraid of nothing, ready to dive into whatever came along with a full and open heart, eager to expand my mind (hey, it was the '60s & 70s!) and share my body. I was as foolish as they come, honestly, but I did it all with all the gusto that came so naturally. Also, I was incredibly lucky; while I had adventures aplenty, some of them not so savory, I managed to not flame up & out in the way so many of my generation did. I stayed alive and strengthened what I believe to be my saving grace, the asset that has served me better than any other through the years, a still-elastic resilience. (And talk about things I am grateful for - I thank the powers that I came of age before sex was lethal, before the seriously addicting darker drugs became as common as beer at a frat house, and while hitch-hiking was common enough to be safe (enough) for a young New England hippie-woman!)

So I have a lot of affection for that fierce younger self. But some sadness, too, because I have not lived up to the promise she held. I used to be smart, and yet I haven't used my intellect in ways I couldashoulda. Once the babies came (starting at only 23), real life reared its ugly head and I learned that fierceness,bravery, an Ivy Leaugue liberal arts degree in religion & philosophy, and a perpetual starving-artist husband weren't enough to put food on the table and a roof overhead, so I learned a useful trade (nursing) and scaled my world-saving down to its smallest core of doing my best to serve others and raising my babes into good, compassionate, caring people - guess they'll have plenty left to do in the world-saving department!

Have I gained strength - or anything else, other than weight - over the years? I sure hope so - but I fear that wisdom still eludes me. I asked my mother (in her 80s now) if she felt that she had become wiser over the years, and she hooted with laughter and confided that she is still wondering when she will feel like a grown-up. Yes, I've learned some stuff along the way, and sure, I guess I have a lot more insight and empathy now, and probably I know myself better, and all that stuff we are supposed to have gained as we age into the "crone" cycle of our lives - but if I'm honest I have to say that I've lost some of the things I respected most in my younger self.

Do I like myself better now? I know that we women of a certain age are supposed to be able to say that we do. But I have to say that it's just different now but not all positive. I know the things I have done in all those intervening years that have caused pain to people I cared about; I know the things I have failed at, and I can see the points where I should have made different decisions.

And Rayna, I doubt if you were ever insipid! Maybe it just took a little longer for your light to burn its brightest - but you had to be that young woman that you were then, however undeveloped she may have been, to get to be the vibrant, funny, creative woman you are today. So I say: respect our young selves, embrace them as the precursors to the glorious women we are today, and let's carry on! It's all good!

Chris said...

Hello - first time visitor! Very good question, I'll be asking it around the table at T'giving! My answer, after some thought, is 3-part.First, I'm happy to say my family have told me they are thankful for me; the parents of my students have thanked me; and lastly, a very special one: one of my daughter's friends left her home when she turned 18, and we took her in. She went to college, and at her graduation, she said it was a tradition at her school to present their graduation stole to someone special, who made their education possible. She gave it to us, and it is one of my most prized possessions. Thank you for giving me lots to think about today, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Brenda said...

That is a good question. And my answer only took a second to come to me.. I lend people money or what they need to get through their hard time. And I tip people well.
I want to be a helpful person and I do help, with money if need (not that I have alot, I don't, but if you are struggling and I can share a little, I do.) And I am thankful for being able to do that. They are thankful I could help, and I am thankful that I was able to lend a hand. We both win.

beth said...

What a nice post! I guess I get thanks twice a month when a friend and I cook and serve a lunch to a few senior citizens. We have lots of fun planning the meal and we get love and hugs in return.;)

Thea Belecz said...

Rayna, you are beautiful at any age and I very much enjoy your posts. I like B.P.'s question - this year, I have been able to offer my daughter her old room and good cooking so that she could take a job here in her hometown. This way, she can still maintain her own home with her manfriend and doggies while taking on a new job with new challenges here. It has worked out well for all of us.

Marilyn said...

The book came to my house today!! YAY! Loving your "method" and can't wait to find the time to explore the possibilities.

Carol Esch said...

I have carried NOODLE TALK in my Chester store for a few years.......love it! The guy who produces these and figures out the questions is from Princeton.....very nice guy! We've used these for several years at holiday time. This year I got a box of questions from another source called THANKSGIVING QUESTIONS and am taking those with us........believe me, it always provokes wonderful conversations.............
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Still waiting for you to have a class or do you want me to set up one here? I am going to Lonni's studio for a class in December....should be fun........... Be well......

Michigoose said...

Blush...I have been thanked many times for my breast cancer blog....which I started to give people who had stage IV cancer hope...I've also been thanked because I guess I'm a good listener...which is pretty amazing since I talk so much!

Lisa Quintana