Life of Pie

I’m getting a suntan. Yep. Sun. Is out. And I am back. On the balcony overlooking the Marina.

A dad and son are kayaking past, fishing for something, enjoying this spectacular thermal blanket afternoon. The little boy, I’d say he looks about 10, just belted out an aria that echoed across and beyond the canal, prompting a duet-bark with the neighbor’s yappy Chihuahua mix. As the child’s melody melts into the dewy rainbow-horizon and the dog owner reprimands her feisty four-legged alarm, father and son climb out of the rental kayak and, just like that, the magic of an improvisational who-gives-a-damn concert is over.

I love these little Hitchcock “Rear Window” moments. Spying. Witnessing. Mason jar-capturing snapshots of firefly joy. Filling the canvas with pixelated polka dots, each representing a solar system of love. Be it the rowers paddling with Olympic ernst or a member of the Portofino Marina staff dropping off a package to an elderly tenant. Not in his job description, but Musician-Composer Ben goes out of his way because that’s what he does, “That’s how I was raised,” he modestly explains.

I’ve been thinking about so many things recently. About kind and not-so-kind people, about leisure time and how some folks insist upon it while others remain busy, busy, schedule-busy. Too busy for walks. Too busy for a swim. Too busy to read a book or watch an entire sunset. About how everyone’s a critic. Everyone reviews, has a publishable opinion that’s often mean-spirited. I think about our hairy, club-swinging ancestors, how unthinkable it would be to teardown a member of the tribe. Our cave-dweller relatives knew the importance of fortifying the skills and mental strength of family members. You know the old saying, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” well, our elder, elder, elders, knew that in order to survive, they had to build up rather than tear down.

It’s something to keep in mind. Tamping down the ego. Foregoing the need to chime-in, to be “right”. Hands up: guilty as charged.

But I’m growing. 

Getting older, thank God. 

Getting better, Halleluiah

I’ve learned more about myself this Year of Great Change than any other time in my life. I’m figuring out my triggers and how to better address them. I’m trying not to self-harm by overeating or overdrinking. I’m trying my very best to understand that it’s OK to take things personally because that’s who I am. The trick is not dwelling on the nasty, the rude, and shifting my response to uncovering The Why? the backstory, the reason behind the reason. I’m trying to replace the, you A-hole, piece of sh–, with, bye-bye, may God be with you. Because—blast it from the loud speakers—YOU CAN’T CHANGE ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. Move on. Get better. Focus on moi. 

I could go into psychoanalysis for the next decade to trace back why I’m so late to the—duh—party of Grand Realizations. But this, too, is going to slide off my arthritic back. Because my life span-piece-of-the pie is shrinking. I don’t have time for blame or regrets. 

What I do have time for is the kind of self-reflection that moves me forward, that advances the conversation, that brings light to the day, a song in the air, sunbathing on the balcony in high 50s temps, and plans that involve future fun. Like Cambria in the Spring. Montana mid-summer. Like my daughters’ trip to SoCal in August. Like Fall camping in the Sierras. Like flying on a jet and going somewhere exotic late October. And returning to NYC in November to watch Baby Girl run her second NYC Marathon and celebrate Youngest Favorite Grandson’s second year inhabiting Planet Earth.

At my nephew’s recent surprise 50th birthday party, the sister of the party-thrower remarked on my way back to the car that I looked different. Maybe it’s your hair? Your glasses? “You look good,” she said. Mind you, she was quite tipsy, still, she insisted that something was different.

Wow. Thanks.

“I’m happy,” I told her. “That’s what it is.” It’s coming from inside. 

These days, I smile in the car, rock out to 1970s music, and saturate myself with this spectacular balcony view, this incredible, changing, consistent, up-close relationship with the sea. And, I eat kale, lots of kale.

Happiness, I am learning, radiates, actually pulsates, like a sunny, late morning, like the leaping sea lion pups, like the pops of turquoise I’ve frosted our temporary abode with. When you turn your gaze to the sun, that sweet, uninhibited little boy’s song seeps into your soul and inspires you to pay attention; Life IZ Good.

Alice Walker reminded us in “The Color Purple” that, “Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”

It’s a fact: My slice of Life Pie is shrinking. So, as The Carpenter’s crooned in their deliciously corny song, “Sing”, I intend to.

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