Wednesday, September 21, 2011

JEM waxes emo

Anyone else feel like their blog is this milk cow that's tied up in your front yard that's always moo-ing at you, like, "Come milk me before my udders burst and you lose all 13 of your followers!" And you're like, "Shut your fat pie hole, cow. I've got stuff to do." But it just keeps moo-ing and you think, yeah, OK, I'll do it. And so you go out to milk her and lo and behold she's got this new format that looks  really nice, but you can't find where in the heck her teats are now and by the time you sort of figure it out, Jethro's up from his nap and insisting on a round of hide and go seek, so you give up. But then later, you think, "Oh yeah! I've got this fancy phone now that has this really great cow-milking app that should make this a breeze!" So you start messing around with it and find it to be really cumbersome, so you just put some bright pink lipstick and hipster horn-rimmed glasses on the cow and take a pseudo-polaroid picture of it with your fancy phone and then can't figure out how to post it with multiple pictures in a single blog post?

Anyone else feel like that?

So anyway. A summer happened. Did you see it?

Summers go so fast now. It seemed like, when I was a kid, summer lasted forever. You'd get back in school and see kids you hadn't seen over the summer that you had actually FORGOTTEN about. Like showing up for the fifth grade and saying, "Oh, yeah! I remember you! We sat by each other in the fourth grade!" as though your paths hadn't crossed in 10 years.

Speaking of which, one of the significant events of my summer was my 10 year high school class reunion. What a strange experience that was. Good to see old friends and fun to dance around in my high school cafeteria again, but strange. I went and participated and mingled and laughed, and when it was all over Jake asked me how I felt and I said "Kind of sad." I couldn't work out why, but the whole thing left me with a bit of a hole in my gut. I think it made a little more sense a couple of weeks ago when I saw this at a friend's house here in San Diego. It's a series called "The Voyage of Life" painted by Thomas Cole in 1840. It hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It covers the four major chapters of life:




Old Age

The last time I saw most of my high school classmates, we were in youth mode. Everything was wide open and beautiful, smooth sailing to that awesome cloud castle thing. (I love the young man with his hand up in the air like, "Let's rock!") But now we are fairly recent inductees into the realm of adulthood, where the waters are fast and rough and treacherous and the stakes are very high and hope sometimes seems dim. We may be new to the scene but we've seen enough to know that life isn't what we thought it would be when we were 17. Most of the people I talked to seemed to be scraping by. The ones who had families were all desperately trying to make ends meet and do right by their spouses and little children, having let go of their youthful ambitions in lieu of love and survival. The ones who were single seemed lonely and searching for meaning. Boys I remembered as perpetually buzzing with energy and goofiness seemed somber. Everyone had this look that wasn't there in high school, this thing in their eyes that suggested they've tasted a little of life's struggle and heartache. I guess it's the very early beginnings of wisdom. I don't mean to sound like everyone from the class of 2001 is miserable now. If anything, it was the opposite. Most people seemed happy and content with life and themselves. It's also not that our lives are especially rough. In fact, that's the point: the realization that every life, even the best, happy life, is rough. That's the nature of the journey. It's the same realization that hit me right after Jethro was born. I'd always sort of assumed that if I played my cards right, I could lead a virtually painless life. Childbirth made me realize that pain and life are eternally intertwined. A painless life isn't really a life. Maybe I was the only one getting this feeling, but it seemed like there was a silent understanding among us. Sort of an "oh-so-that's-why-our-parents-were-the-way-they-were" feeling.

Well, enough from emo-JEM. That little person who lives in my house just woke up and is trying to eat my nose, so we'll have to pick this up later. I'll leave you with a few photos that will hopefully reassure you that I think my life is awesome and that I do not require antidepressants:

The "Decorate Your Favorite Bono" craft from a recent U2-themed family home evening.