One of the principle stumbling blocks in trying to do a personal journal, or a site like “ Shippeesays ” is the value judgment, that guides your choice of topics.
“ Write what you know….” Is the first advice that young writers receive, and probably one of the last ideas that takes hold.
What everyone knows, better than anything else, is themselves. The events large, and small, that pile up in the wake of a life lived. Everyone has memories of things they feel are admirable about themselves, and other things, not so much.
It’s the things “not so much” that cause the hesitation, and debate, as to inclusion, or not.
John Cheever set high the bar, in writing honestly about ones journey. John didn’t duck nuthin’.
So many things that you would really prefer that others not get the inside scoop on. Therein lies the rub.
The inner editor harps away on the point…… “ You gotta be honest, and put it all out there. If you’re not, just don’t even bother to start down that road.”
So, nobody asked me but here’s something I do know about. The process of becoming an old man, in my case, or simply an old person in the bigger arena.
Parents of new babies are the first ones to point out that they ( the red faced squallers ) don’t come with an Owner’s Manual. So boldly, mom and dad march into that strange new land they have never set foot in before.
Like those young parents, those of us who survive that journey, ultimately arrive at the steps of senior housing.
Again, without a manual, and probably with a whole lot more trepidation.
I tried to figure out when this first became an issue for me.
I don’t think I have ever thought much about it one way, or the other. I have had no problem with the concept. It was always a non-issue.
By the same token, from a pretty young age I have wondered about the concept that we know we are going to die.
“ Why , I asked myself early on, have we been favored with that special information ? ”
I don’t think Truman, our cat, is bothered with any such thought, so why are we ?
Somewhere in the recent past, my eyes happened upon a quote that simply stated that “ Life is a suicide mission. ”
If you think about it, that is pretty much the case.
Aging, I have discovered, is purely a physical experience.
The entire redo of the landscape of your physical person takes place with only a minimal steering apparatus available to you to affect it.
My physical self, that has not been able to grow a decent head of hair for the last 55 years, suddenly exhibits a new skill in generating follicles in the strangest places.
Nostrils, and ears become prolific garden patches.
Hairs sprout from the very tops of my ears, where there has never been a reason to do so, or a need. Earflaps on plaid hats have always been perfectly capable of protecting those areas.
Sleeper cells, that apparently have been there all along, are suddenly erupting in hard to reach places on my back. They surface in the shape of tiny little volcanoes, or as very small spots of completely dry skin. In spite of a daily water treatment, in the form of really nice showers, these dry patches appear, not unlike ground cover under a shady maple tree.
And my fingers can’t just leave them alone. Each new eruption needs to be welcomed, explored, and then left to its own devices. To virtually litter the landscape, that is me.
The latest innovation my aging corpus delecti has come up with is a way to alter the distribution and release of, liquids that I so cleverly produce, without ever knowing why.
Apparently my body does not think my mind is up to running the show, and has installed a whole new management system based solely on the laws of gravity.
It’s all quite interesting.
Transition, and changes, seem to come about when you are sleeping, so there is no need to debate any of these changes.
The best approach has proven to be a musical one.
“ Let it be, let it be, let it be, Lord let it be…”
With any luck at all, this piece could well morph into a “ User’s Manual ”, for those coming behind.
Then the logical next step would be reincarnation, and the writing of a Manual for new parents.
A whole new reason to be.