Notes to My Younger Self

two adult women beside each other
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Here I sit, about a month give or take before my next birthday. It doesn’t end with a five or a zero, but it is significant for an astrological reason. It’s the end of my Saturn return 

What is a Saturn return? Astronomically, Saturn takes about 28 years to complete an orbit around the sun. Astrologically, it returns to the sign where it resided when you were born and sits there for a couple of years. Saturn has to do with all things involved with being an adult. It has to do with taking responsibility for your life choices while forgiving yourself for past failures and mistakes. And death, not necessarily your own, but that of people you’ve cared about, and what no longer serves you. 

In the throes of my first one, I completed my master’s degree, had a “normal” job. My father and maternal grandma went on to the next life within six months of each other. I realized that the job wasn’t right for me, and began living an artist’s life. 

As I wrap up my second one, there are many regrets that I wish that I could rectify. Not Oakley and Orion, never ever. Before them. I wish I could advise my younger self about boundaries (it is OK to say no to positions in groups; it is OK to leave circumstances that sap your soul). Your dreams are yours. Do not change them to appease and placate others.  I wish I could tell her that the relationship advice in magazines like “Cosmopolitan” is not healthy and actually is pretty detrimental. Career wise, it is OK to have an honorable job that supports you, even if it’s not what you were expected to do by your parents and other influences. And that the tremendous pressure about attending church, especially the one she went to in order to appease her family, is not about grace and salvation as much as money and controlling women. That she is her own best authority on her body and to listen to it, and listen to it well, especially in matters of what truly nourishes her and the size her genes dictates. Most of all, it is fine to be single, and if the guy in question does anything to cause discomfort, it is OK to take off in the other direction. 

And now I look to the future. The adulting has to do with accepting and preparing for my next return by making sure I have a will and related paperwork in order and managing finances to secure my later years. 

Once done, it’s time to create and play.

And develop a new set of dreams. 

 

 

 

“Tell Me, What Is It You Plan To Do With Your One Wild and Precious Life?”

 

Today’s title from Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day.” Today’s image courtesy Old Design Shop.

The last week or so here in the soybean field unfolded fairly uneventfully. November arrived yesterday clad in grey with touches of orange and yellow. The contrast of the leaves and the sky made me gasp a couple of times for the sheer beauty of it as I drove home from the suburb within shouting distance of the big city.

Let me back up. I went to a funeral yesterday. The stepmother and -in-law of two of my close friends took advantage of the veil between the worlds thinning to slip into her next life over the weekend. No preventable disease; no tragic end. Just the sadness that comes when it’s time to let go of a loved one. She was a well-lived 94, and until she became unsteady on her feet a few years ago, she volunteered at the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton, IL (providing food, clothes, and job skills training to residents of the county since sometime in the ’60’s).

As funerals go, it wasn’t bad at all. The pastor had spoken extensively with the family members who arranged it. He used the stories they told to paint a portrait of a woman who lived well, loved her family, and served others. At the points where prayers and blessings were inserted, he acknowledged that not everyone walked his path, and it was OK if you didn’t say the words with the rest of the gathered. The service lasted a scant half an hour. At its conclusion, we made one last walk past the urn containing her ashes. I placed my hand on it, wished her a safe journey.

Afterwards, another of our mutual friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while invited me out for coffee. We invested in an hour of laughs and news, then parted with hugs and a promise of lunch soon.

I picked my way through midday traffic. The quote from Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” began running through my mind. So did the question of where have I been relative to my own life the last five years or so.

I know the answer, but out of respect for the privacy of others, I can’t go into it, but I will tell you that it has drained my psyche rather than filling my soul. I thank you for your understanding.

Even in the fading light of the year,  it’s time to get back to my own life, to the things that keep my heart beating: writing, activism when I can, the environment as best I can, and history. And my friends. It’s tough when they live an hour and upwards away. I will just have to make more of an effort, though, for my own good.

So, as the leaves fall in the swirling wind, I begin again.