09 May 2014

The Book of Me (12)

Some memories are not to be publicly shared.

What makes you proud? (Prompt 31)
Pride in accomplishment: the harder-earned, the more rewarding, for all concerned. Witnessing family members fulfilling their potential or, in particular, "overcoming the odds" is unsurpassed joy, always there to warm the heart in troubled times.

How Do You De-Stress? (Prompt 32)
Stress is a double-edged sword. Conscious of deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise), some of us can do our best work. On the other hand, too much pressure can boil over the top. And I'm just talking about work, research and writing work. Stress also sneaks up from the subconscious sidelines to pile on — household, family, personal issues — in the middle of working or in the middle of the night. You are spared the details of obliviously grinding my teeth when in intense mode; the stiff neck; the muscle spasms. Trying to be aware. Doing the exercises said to alleviate. I know I'm not the only one. We are so human, aren't we?

Purposely getting OUTSIDE, out of my cave at least once a day, is a great antidote. Walking, walking, walking. Celebrating the fact that I can walk and see and hear and participate in the vitality around me. Doing the regular fitness class even if the muscles are protesting or the brain is muzzy. My seasonal R & R is pottering in my tiny rooftop urban garden before sunset with a few like-minded (and not horticulturally critical) neighbours. A glass of wine doesn't hurt.
Regrets (Prompt 33)
Personal regrets as in poor life choices? Or as in rueful words and deeds? Who does not have some regrets? I do not plan to elaborate on any because it's a waste of time and energy once you have dealt with them. Life is as we make it, and if we make mistakes, we then have some options:
– wallow forever in a trough of ulcer-producing anxiety under a self-inflicted cloud of doom;
– think it through and face up to admission and apology if applicable;
– think it through, absorb the lesson learned, and move on.

Now I got me going. BIG regret: that in 2006 I did not extend my trip to Jordan for the following week in Syria! A lost opportunity to see the museums and antiquities of Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, ... many may never be the same again. All World Heritage sites in that country have been damaged in the civil war, aside from the continuing immense human suffering. Oh dear, this is previewing a blog post still under construction. 

An odd regret from left field (actually, a colleague's blog post triggered it): my older brother was born a year before me and died the same day. The birth and death certificates do not have a name for him, but I think, had he lived, he would have been named for my paternal grandfather. While I rarely indulge in speculation, it does make me wonder if or how family dynamics might have altered.
Ice cream is universal therapy

Disclaimer: I do not regret one of the hundreds of milkshakes I must have had in my life. Or any other ice cream product. It fits right in there with de-stressing.

Easter Memories (Prompt 34)
Minneapolis. Every Easter my Dad would drive the family (until we were obstreperous sophisticated teenagers) from The Lakehead across the border to Minneapolis to visit Uncle Peter Dougall and his family. A big city! We stayed in a hotel! We ate in restaurants! We had spending money! Department stores! We had American cousins! And Uncle Peter was such a cool dude — lucky, lucky us!
Not precisely as pictured

© 2014 Brenda Dougall Merriman

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