If you know me, you know that I am somewhat if a bohemian, an amateur anthropologist and sociologist, a presence who observes life and wants to be a part of that life surrounding beauty. Maybe it is the mixing of all my heritages and cultures, or the simplicity of my personality, but I like to be and just appreciate being, experiencing life and she unfolds around me.
If you also know it, I wasn't able to always do that.
Once-upon-a-time, I was in the early morning grind of just trying to survive, the then-divorced young mom in my mid-twenties with boys I had to get to day care before catching my train to work.
Now, as I am winding down this sixth decade of my life, cruising to that Milestone birthday next year, I'm reflecting on how I am living in the moments I could only dream about.
My time is essentially my own, something I could never attest to even as a working-full-time and going to school full time college student. Now, I can regulate my day as it goes and for most of the days of summer, exist without a minute-by-minute agenda.
Some would say that this is what I prayed for, what I worked for, what I pined for, to have my days so that I could create if it wanted, walk if I wanted, sip from a handmade coffee mug, and just watch the world.
It is not a privilege I take lightly and not a position that did not and does not come with its own challenges.
To be in the position I'm in is to be able to notice those places where care is needed more in the world because I am able to walk among the world and notice things. I'm not a lady-who-lunches simply for the sake of saying I can. Now, a coffee shop trip with a journal and book, that is another story! But no, I am not to be found perusing the designer wares at some high end designer store, I am not pining over jewelry that makes my hands glitter, I am pretty simply in my life joys and pleasures.
There are perhaps moments when this space of calm I feel and just "going with the flow" is what I have gleaned being around my daughters.
They are young/emerging adults now, both in college, one preparing for her final year, one is her second year, both of them are amazing individuals that I marvel at anything I had to do in their development.
As GenZ women, they have taught me a few things about being present with myself.
One does not deny herself the simple pleasure of a day on the peace or outings with friends, she is the social butterfly that I am not. Even though she will say I am more of an ambivert than the introvert (INFJ) that I actually am, she is indeed the more social of the crew. She spent her month at home after her internship traipsing up and down the coastline with her friends who were also home from college.
In her, my youngest,I see the joy of life and just taking it all in.
My oldest daughter came home for a couple weeks after finishing up her production apprenticeship.
She is more like me in ways, quieter, observant, just likes her space. We can be at home all day and be content in that space or when we go out, we enjoy the simple pleasures and appreciate the experience for what it is.
Her lessons to me are in that I am worth the things I do treat myself to - like the handmade Turkish slippers I bought on a recent trip to a bazaar in Los Angeles. It is something I would have second- guessed before and something my twenty-something-self could never afford.
While I am not perusing the luxury stores, I do love the artistry and beauty of something made by hand and will honor the ones who took the time to create it, I don't quibble over the price of something created from someone's soul.
So it was, in being in moments of moments this weekend when I initially missed all the news that unfolded in Montgomery, Alabama.
August 5th is my wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been together a lot of years in a lot of places and this one was spent with him traveling because our youngest had to move into her collegiate apartment. So we just had a quiet movie-in-day, my older daughter and I.
Then the next day, we were out on the Green in community with others seeking ways to care for humanity, ways of ecumenical service and agreement that all of us live on this place called earth and all of us have a part to play. Then, she and I were present with each other over a meal, came home, refreshed, and then spent the rest of the evening watching movies.
So we were a little late the the dock and boat scene, but oh when it finally reached our inbox!
I've been on that docked and walked that downtown, my youngest son went to college there.
I'm a believer in the spirits of the ancestors, especially those enslaved in this country, continuing to ring out and teach us, to show us ways.
It is the same belief I had living in the northeast and walking on all this Indigenous land, driving down places in Connecticut and Rhode Island that have Indigenous names, it is being present to stop and listen to what these ancestors are sharing with us.
When I am among people, I listen, watch, feel. That is the Empath in me.
I felt all that was happening in that boat scene, again, late reaching my airwaves, but impactful when it finally did.
All that has been going on around us and things I've been writing about since 2008, it seemed to all feel so right for those of us descended from those whose traverse came across these rivers and oceans. It just was a needed release.
So whenever this almost-sixty-year-old-woman is in spaces, people don't often notice me, I'm an past-middle-age African American woman of post-menopausal size. In that seeing-unseeing, I see a lot.
The gift of this time that I am in is that I am able to be in time and spaces.
Inside of one month, I have been in airports in Connecticut and Chicago and Los Angeles. I've been in resorts and restaurants and in the unintentional middle of religious prosletyzing on the streets of Hollywood. I've been in empty coffee shops and crowded restaurants and malls without shoppers. I've walked along tourist streets in big cities and beach towns, I've looked at trinkets not worth their price simply because of place and then gingerly held something an artist created worth more than the sticker they placed on it. I've walked on college campuses without notice of who I am and watched the young ones see-but-not-see the older ones. I've been in rooms of people who think they influence and then sitting across others over coffee knowing where change really happens.
Moments, all of it.
Being in it is to appreciate it for what it is, to muse over it, to consider it all.
In this stage of my life, in the privileges of this life, in the only one I could never dream was mine, that is all I am trying to do.
Enjoying life along the sound.