28 November 2014

The Book of Me (18)

Easing myself back into the blogging groove but way way way behind. Sorry about that, but Life has to happen sometime, somewhere, amidst the bevies of research and writing. Good question ... what is Life anyway. Some of the latest prompts are looking at that.

Chapters (Prompt 57)
Is your life divided into some? Can you easily reflect where one chapter ends and another begins? No problem, Julie. We were just speaking of Life, weren't we. Except each chapter is a book in itself, innit?
One: Schooling and Dance; Two: Wife and Mother; Three: Professional Genealogist. If I have a definable life I'm living Chapter Four now: Writer and wannabe world traveller. Lottery winner would be good too.

I'm tempted to add Chapter Last: she died. She gave up the ghost and went to join her ancestors (family historians' new favourite). Really? How do we think they will feel as we join their dusty group? We who scrounged and scrabbled into every possible private aspect of their lives. Do we think they will unilaterally embrace us? Some will, being the kindly and tolerant sort. I fully expect others may be as aloof and opaque as they are while I'm still corpus vivus. If there's any moral to the paragraph: do not miss the opportunity to write your own obituary.

What Do You See? (Prompt 58)
Uh huh, it's Life again, right? Is anyone saying the image of the glass is half-empty? Don't think so, no-one I know! Pass.

Task Reflections (Prompt 59)
Absolutely no. I am not describing each of my daily tasks. Too wretchedly boring. Comparing each task to a similar one undertaken by my ancestors? Feh. Consider the morning stumble to the bathroom. I'm grateful mine is a navigable path to a warm room even if it has a hideous fluorescent light. Trust me, I have experienced the ancestors' path to the outhouse and the world has made some excellent progress in certain household amenities.

Family Traits (Prompt 60)
Now this has some interest. Physical and other family traits exist; they can be surprising and uncanny. I often see a certain facial expression of my mother's cross my daughter's features. I marvel when I see my grandpa peering from my brother's eyes. I laugh when a nephew shifts into a particular pose common to the Dougall men. It's continuity, it's reassuring, the genes have tumbled around and slid into a new working order. Magic.

How Do You Measure Success? (Prompt 61)
Probably I view success and real achievement as satisfaction for a life well-lived. A life that sensibly maximizes personal skills, talent, growth. A life that gives good moments to the nearest and dearest and does as little damage as possible to anyone else. Awards are lovely, but it seems to me that maintaining a healthy inner balance is as important as the striving for goals. Maybe that will make sense when I re-read it. As for how others view us, concern about that at any stage of the journey should never be allowed to overpower us. The liberation of seniority: at my age the die is cast.

© 2014 Brenda Dougall Merriman. All rights reserved.

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