“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax….-Lewis Carroll
In the BBC film version of Pride and Prejudice (1995), Mr. Darcy stays up all night writing a letter to Elizabeth Bennet in an effort to clear himself of unjust charges by Mr. Wickham. He seals the envelope with sealing wax stamped with his signet ring. This letter writing scene was not in the original book by Jane Austen. In Pride and Prejudice, letters were the way of conveying information from a distance. Or in Darcy’s case, a way to speak from the heart without speaking face to face. The people in the story had to wait to find out what was happening with their friends and family. There was no texting, emails, or phone calls. I remember, not so long ago, this was the way we communicated. There was something special about receiving a handwritten letter. There was the anticipation built up of when the letter would come and the excitement of its arrival. There was noting the choice of stationary and the handwriting of the sender. Sometimes it could be hard to read some of the words depending on the penmanship. There could be cross outs. You saved special letters in a box. I remember I liked my writing to be clear and hated to cross out words so I would end up throwing out cards or paper and starting over. You wanted your lines to be straight inside and on the envelope, and you might pick out special postage stamps. I remember my mother in law, my husband’s aunt, and I addressing my wedding invitations by hand. For my daughter-in-law’s rehearsal dinner I picked out special postage stamps with images of wedding bands. I have a Montblanc fountain pen that I have to fill with ink. Texting or emails just can’t compare. How romantic to receive a handwritten letter sealed with wax with impression of a signet ring. I miss letter writing and receiving handwritten letters.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt words are sealing/ceiling. Featured image of illustration from Pride and Prejudice by C. E. Brock via wikimedia. Image of letter with wax seal by Charlotte Gilhooly via Flickr.
“Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don’t find themselves at all.”-Rollo May
I read an article in Quartz “I kicked my smartphone addiction by retraining my brain to be bored,“by Jordan Rosenfeld. In it he lists several reasons he and psychologists have found why boredom is good for our brains and creativity:
- unscheduled downtime feeds the creative process
- we come up with creative ideas when our minds are allowed to wander
- it inspires lateral thinking or coming up with creative solutions
- it can help us get in touch with our emotions when we are not distracting ourselves
Rosenfeld goes on to say “I’ve certainly noticed that when I stay away from my phone and the Internet during the day, I don’t feel as tired in the evening. That over-stimulated feeling of mental clutter goes away—and I’m itching to enter the worlds of my fictional characters again.” Mental clutter, that is a good term for it. Our brains can get so clogged up with it that we don’t have space for our creative ideas.
“Engaging creatively requires hitting the reset button, which means carving space in your day for lying around, meditating, or staring off into nothing.”-Derek Beres
The above quote is from another post “Being Busy is Killing Our Ability to Think Creatively.” We are so distracted checking our smartphones, Facebook pages, Twitter, and Blogs that our brains are fizzled away to mush. Maybe it is a great plan for mind control that we be distracted with all this constant trivia. In Beres post, he quotes another author, Cal Newport, who says we are “in danger of rewiring [our] neural patterns for distraction.” That is a scary idea and I am not sure if it is based on brain science, but I am determined to rescue my brain from all the trivial and distracting input. How about you?
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image ‘Meadow’ by atlantis0815 on Pixabay.com
“But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”-Anna Quindlin
Is expressing ourselves creatively essential to our well-being and lives even if we are never famous, never receive recognition? It is great to hear about an artist who continued to create because that was what she had to do. She did not have any formal training but did it anyway. Eventually she was able to receive recognition and some income from her art. This post is dedicated to all of us who want to express our creativity and may never be recognized.
Maud Lewis had rheumatoid arthritis and lived in a small house without indoor plumbing or electricity. “Her pleasure didn’t come from the pride of having done a painting, but the creative act itself and the enjoyment others seemed to get from her work.”-Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
I am sharing a post from Hyperallergic by Olivia Gauthier about the film Maudie.
Some more info about Maud Lewis and her paintings from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. And a story from NPR, Home is Where The Art Is: The Unlikely Story of Folk Artist Maud Lewis.
We Are The World Blogfest is hosted this month by: Belinda Witzenhausen, Lynn Hallbrooks, Michelle Wallace, Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein. If you would like to join in this blogfest you can link up here. Featured image of Maud Lewis in front of her home via the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Wikimedia.
“We’ve all seen the television commercials, read the articles, or watched the movies in which society tries to tell us that people our age only have two options: become pathetic, useless individuals living in a shell of our former selves OR we must cover our wrinkles, refuse to retire, and become motorcycle-riding thrill seekers. Neither extreme scenario is necessary for us to get the most from life after 60.”-sixtyandme.com
Listening to the negative messages could take years off your life and it does make you feel worse because we internalize it.
We are all going to be old and we have a choice in the way we think about it, the way we think about ourselves. And there are as many ways to be as there are people. We do not have to be one extreme or the other.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image of older couple by Erika Wittlieb on Pixabay.com
“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every morning I scan my email inbox and see how many I can weed out. I try not to let too many emails accumulate. I get emails from organizations I have donated to in the past, asking for more donations, or asking me to sign petitions on this issue or that. I have started ignoring them more often now because I feel that I can not afford to be making donations and tell myself I should probably be the one who gets donations. I get tired of signing petitions, but still do a bit of it. I get emails from different newsletters and websites I have signed up to. I may have found an article of theirs interesting and decided I would like to read more, and I end up with all these emails from them. I have noticed that so many of the websites and newsletters are in the business of giving us all advice on how to live our lives with subject lines like: How To Get More Joy In You Life, Why It’s So Hard To Say You’re Sorry, The Best Cities For Successful Aging, The Next Food City You Should Pay Attention To, What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like. I have noticed that posts about how to be happy and have good relationships are a frequent topic of many writers. When we are struggling with our problems or lonely we might be drawn to read their advice. Are we all supposed to pack up and move to a city that has the best food and chance for us to have “successful aging?” I have this vision of selling our house and moving to one of these places and then finding out they have decided to cut back on their services and not be a best city for successful aging. And then I would be stuck.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image ‘Woman sitting at desk writing’ via Pixabay.com
‘All or nothing’, that is a good motto for a perfectionist. If something does not meet the ideal standard it is worth nothing. It is definitely not synonymous with flexible, easy-going, having self-compassion. Like trying to force a square peg into a round hole and I have the bruises to show for it. It is good to be able to recognize that something is not working for you and allow yourself to move on. Not keep trying to get yourself to fit into something that doesn’t suit. It is not being a quitter or failure to acknowledge something isn’t working out for you or you are not working out for it. It would have been better to realize it is not ‘all or nothing’, success or failure, but that there could be something else waiting out there for you.
“Set aside the old traditional notion of female as nurturer and male as leader; set aside, too, the new traditional notion of female as superwoman and male as oppressor. Begin with that most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.
This is the hard work of life in the world, to acknowledge within yourself the introvert, the clown, the artist, the homebody, the goofball, the thinker. Look inside. That way lies dancing to the melodies spun out by your own heart.”
― Anna Quindlen
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today ‘all or nothing.’ Featured image by Kate Ter Haar on Flickr.
“I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn’t have to choose. And I believe that’s always been difficult for women, to express themselves intellectually, maternally, and passionately.” -Erica Jong
Mother’s Day weekend left me thinking about my life choice of putting my role as Mother first during my early working years. Not to suggest I regret making it a priority versus a career, which I don’t. As often happens when I am mulling over something I start to research online, looking for what others have expressed about it, and I came across an interesting series of articles in The Atlantic called The Ambition Interviews that tracked the careers of a group a women who graduated from Northwestern University in 1993. The authors wanted to find out how their sorority sisters career ambitions had played out in reality 20 years after graduating. They found that their cohorts divided into 3 groups after they started having children, the High Achievers, the Scale Backers, and the Opt Outers. The High Achievers maintained a consistent trajectory of career success continuing to work at their careers full-time, the Scale Backers chose to work less or take on less demanding jobs to have the flexibility of schedule they desired for their lives and families, the Opt Outers chose to leave the work force to be able to be full-time parents. In the articles they discuss all the factors that contributed to the women’s decisions. What struck me is the experiences of these women was similar to mine in many ways and I think many of my Nursing class of 1974. We were in the Nursing baccalaureate program at the University of California in San Francisco and were told we were to be the leaders in our profession. Out of the 37 members of my class that attended our 25th reunion, there was a group of High Achievers who stayed in Nursing careers at a high level, in the military or other areas, went on for graduate degrees, and some became doctors or lawyers. Many of us would fit into Scale Backers in that we chose jobs that were less demanding or more flexible so we could be available to our kids. When my son was born, I decided to opt out and be a full-time parent. This lasted for 8 years and included the addition of a second child, my daughter. Like women in the Ambition Interviews who opted out, I had thought I would continue working but when my son was born I decided I did not want to leave him, as some of the women in the series that had “a physical and emotional bond with their new children that they simply couldn’t reconcile with going back to work,” my Nursing job was not appealing enough for me to choose it over him. My husband was willing to support us. Some couples in The Ambition Interviews decided that the husband would be the stay at home parent or would be the one who Scaled Back and assumed the larger share of child care. I became a Scale Backer when I re-entered the workforce after 8 years but chose part-time at a hospital and then in Home Health. Like the Scale Backers in The Atlantic series, I found it difficult to balance work and motherhood. I worked a lot of weekends to cut down on child care. I felt very stressed rushing through work to get to the school in time to pick up my kids or get them to appointments. It was stressful to leave them when they were sick. It was stressful to find adequate after school childcare with long enough hours to cover my work hours. I missed out on being involved in my children’s schools because of work and I missed out on career advancement and even work friendships because I worked part-time. My ambition did not completely die out. It was isolating to be at home and I did get restless at times. I re-entered full-time work after my kids were older. I went back to work after cancer. I attempted a complete career change at 60. One of my fellow students in the Teacher Credential program questioned why I wanted to pursue a new career after Nursing. Another said I was an “Over Achiever.” It was more like an “Older Achiever.” Why shouldn’t we be allowed to go on learning and achieving no matter what age. Like the women in the series who chose to Scale Back or Opt Out of their careers, I found I was not able to step back into a career path in later years. Now I have come to have a whole new perspective on my relationship to work. I wonder if we can really combine all the aspects of our selves ideally. Even though I may have missed some opportunities, I know my work does not define me or my self-worth. I find career ambition does not play a part in my life any more. I am in a reflective period and some of my ambitions right now involve tutoring, getting rid of weeds, aphids, and volunteer trees, getting reacquainted with myself, writing, and learning to be a grandmother.
My Nursing School class
UCSF Nursing Graduation
Us 25 years later
I know the images are a little blurry, like when I look back into the past, and I think it protects privacy as well.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.