Sunday, September 2, 2012

Memento mori

Well, here we are, the Sunday before Labor Day. About the time when Target used to run ads featuring happy adults zooming through the isles, followed by gloomy children; the soundtrack happily sang, "It's the most... wonderful time... of the year!"

More than half of my life (I just did the math, 65%), I've been in, or working for, a school. These first days of September were the last moments of freedom before It started. And the starting up of "It" was always... somehow... what I had lived for, even though Its starting also marked the end of the glorious summer.

Because as taxing as It could be,  It  was when and where the magic happened.

Well, things are definitely different now. 

I borrowed the auditorium at the school at which I used to work last week; they weren't using it, and I needed an "empty stage" as a backdrop for something I was videotaping (more details on that project as the project becomes more sharable). It was convenient, I guess, but the place absolutely radiated the message "This isn't yours any more." (I also got a few distant echoes of the message "It never really was yours," another grim reminder of How Things Change.) At one point, I was exiting the auditorium and saw a box of strangely familiar stuff, and I realized "Oh! That was all my blah-blah-blah stuff! Person X actually did take  everything I marked as 'his' out of my old office."

And that's when it really hit me: I don't need to be here any more. I don't want to be here any more. This place isn't mine any more, and it never really was. If I needed any clearer message of "Your time is up," it was right there: A box full of my bones. (Metaphorically speaking, of course, but that's how it felt.) Memento mori, indeed.

Time for a change. Time to welcome the life I have now. Yeah, I couldn't make the fruit salad this afternoon without sitting down to cut the fruit, but I made it. And I made lunch and dinner yesterday. And I made a special effort this morning to get a pizza for lunch while I was shopping for tomorrow's-lunch groceries, and of all things, had a beer with it! It is, after all, Labor Day weekend...

And my labor this day is specifically suited for me, here and now. 

Time to welcome it.... because that's what I have. That's what's here for me.

And it's time for new magic, for different magic. It's definitely time for the magic to happen...

Here and now.


Muffie said...

Oh, how I know that feeling! All the back-to-school ads taunted me and seemed to be saying, "Nyah, nyah, but not for you!" At this fourth-year-away point, it seems less heartbreaking, and I try not to think about it. On Wednesday, I'll immerse myself in other matters, and I won't remind myself that I won't be part of that first day bliss!
It really does get easier with time!

nicole said...

Yes, it is time to welcome the life I have now. But can I ?
Do I even want to? It sure would be easier than resisting it. Thanks

Robert Parker said...

Muffie: Thanks for the encouragement! I think it's already getting easier... simply driving past the place I'm struck with how small it is. (Same feeling I had at my college 30th reunion, another time of "Boy, is this place ever NOT yours any more.")

Nicole: Believe me, I hear the "Do I even want to?" question. 'Course, it's the only one you have at the moment... Gotta at least come to terms with it, and who knows? You may actually see, something, hidden deep and viciously enthusiastically masqueraded... something that actually surprises you. In a good way!