Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Lives I Never Lived

The waning super moon. This was taken a few days ago. It's an ancient crescent now. New Moon on Sunday.

One of the things that happened in Paris is that I at last let go of an old dream I had, that at some point I would live in Paris for awhile. I didn't even know I was still hanging on to that dream - it was a shock when it came up to the surface. If I had had the wherewithal in my 20s to get a work card, my aunt Edie would have set me up. I would have been motivated to make it work so I could move out of her apartment. I could have done it, it was there waiting for me.

I could have lived in Paris.

But I didn't have the wherewithal, I came back to the States and then my life went in other directions. Somewhere deep in the funky recesses of my heart this romantic dream remained neatly folded, tucked away, unbeknownst to me for all those years - wow.

Letting go of that particular fantasy was symbolic of really and truly letting go of my youth. Like most other people, I was clinging to the idea of eternal possibility with this story I told myself all the time. Realizing it's never going to happen, which is fine by the way, still - oh my, what a shock. Letting go was important, necessary. It was strenuous emotionally and spiritually, even for me, the Queen of I Love Getting Older.

OK so be it. Off you go, dream of Paris. Hasta la vista, baby.

There are a lot of other lives I never lived that were so much easier to let go of: marriage, children, making money, for instance. I know marriage and children bring people into their fullness. Who knows who I could have been if that had been my fate? As it turned out, romance was never my best thing. I never wanted to have children, even though I was supposed to, and as for money - well - I really suck at all things money related. You wouldn't believe. Knowing I don't have a talent for these things perhaps makes it easier to let go of them, I'm not sure.

I imagined I would be good at living in Paris, that the city would make sense to me, would welcome me. Oh my god what was I thinking? Right now the image in my mind is of the day I went down to Notre Dame. It was rainy and windy. The streets and grounds around the church were jammed with so many tourists I could not elbow my way through and would probably have put my eye out trying since everyone had umbrellas. It was not fun. I decided to walk across to the right bank, but no, I kept crossing bridges thinking I was heading the way I wanted to go, but ending up on the left bank again. This happened two or three times. I consulted maps, even google maps so I would be pointed in the right direction, but no, I could not get oriented. I was like an leaf whipped around by a whirlwind, drenched, bewildered and annoyed. At last I gave up and just went back to my hotel. Paris vs. Reya? Old madame Paris wins every time. Every time.

A big piece of entering cronehood involves letting go. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to really let go, not just SAY I've let go. Oh man. I see that trying to hold on to the old dreams makes a satisfying old age much more elusive. It happens all the time, people think back to the good old days so poignantly they can't find anything good about the present. They feel betrayed, even though everyone gets old if they don't die first. Everyone.

I don't want to shuffle into old age. I want to be edgy - in a different way than when I was young - I want to be a real elder. Perhaps that's a dream, too, but at least it refers to the future rather than the past. It can't hurt to try, can it?

Every time I find myself grasping at dreams that have passed their expiration date, I think of that day in Paris, spun around as if on one of their beloved carousels, unable to navigate, completely turned around. All that spinning in circles that day, in the rain and wind that kept turning my umbrella inside-out, well, what a metaphor. It was a sacred drama representing the dream of being a Parisian swirling, swirling, swirling: down the drain. You know that little pop, the sound when the last of the water leaves the sink? Yeah. The baby, the bathwater - even the tub - had to go. It went all at once that day. Glub glub. Pop. C'est tout. At the hotel after that, I drank wine out of a bottle and watched The Simpsons, dubbed in French. I had no idea what they were saying.

The world shows me everything; I feel very well guided no matter how confused I can be at times. Everything is clearer now that I've entered Cronehood. I'm a baby Crone, just starting, yet already I feel freer, clearer, and wiser. Let the old dreams go the way of the dodo. May it be so.



  1. I am struck by this line: "You wouldn't believe how hard it is to really let go, not just SAY I've let go." I think most of us who have let go of one thing or another can identify with that! Letting go is a process, and ongoing unfolding, and not a single step or decision. Don't you think?

    1. Oh yeah. A process ... I want to make the cut and have it over and done with. Ha ha. I'm so ambitious.

  2. I LOVE this post! You gotta either do it or let it go. and then love where you are. be here now.