This is the first weekend, in–I don’t know–months? The first weekend since the first interview, since the decision to start looking for a new place in case I got this job. The first weekend that does not involve travel for me of any kind. No rushing back more than an hour away to pack, or to clean, no dinners, no obligations. Just time to myself to sort out my pantry, find out what is in which box, and to put together a cart for the microwave to sit on.
And so it’s a good time for a brief Saturday song or two, or three, and for being as honest I can, like the musical artist I’m featuring in this post. I’ve been listening today to Frank Turner’s new album, Positive Songs for Negative People, and thinking about what I’ve learned, and where I’ve been these last eight years. I went back to school, got the degree, moved out of the business that was killing me and my knee, and managed to scrape by doing something I really love. I’ve watched my sons grow into men. I fell in love again, and this time with someone who never lets me forget how much he loves me back. That whole sappy-still-crazy-about-each-other thing after more than six years.
And now I have made the biggest move of my life since the Indiana years. I love my new job. I love my new home, and despite the difficulties of the last couple of years, family health issues, and fears, as Frank says in this first song, “I took a battering but I’ve got thicker skin, and the best people I know looking out for me.” And really, it’s some of those people who have suffered more than I have. And to a couple of you I want to apologize for burning out and letting you down.
One of you told me recently, when I used all the wrong words, that I was supposed to be a poet, I was supposed to be good at stringing the right words together. I guess my only defense is that it’s easier in writing. Even in blog posts I get to come back after I hit the publish button and rework a sentence, correct a typo. In poems I have an even greater advantage, as I sit on them usually for long periods of time, coming back occasionally to edit and polish and make sure I have “the best words in the best order” before anyone reads a word of them.
But please don’t think me maudlin today. Instead I am hopeful and mostly feeling positive. We’ve worked hard, and sometimes the work involved letting go and rocking with the winds, like that tree my counselor friend told me about–roots down deep and a sturdy, but flexible trunk, bendable branches. So I’m feeling mostly positive and peaceful.
My middle son Jonathan, pictured up there with the blue guitar, shared this first song recently on Facebook, and that’s just one illustration of why I am proud of him, and his brothers. Three good, and kind young men. Maybe it’s despite it all that they turned out that way, but I’d like to think that their mother and I might have done something right.
In this second song Frank uses a tennis metaphor to consider his approach to forty. I’m closer to fifty now, but I too “can well recall the day my father reached the ancient age / That’s now baring down.” And like him, I think, “I’m long in the tooth. / But I’m ready for the truth.” It wasn’t long back that I could say, “I’m battered and bruised. / And I can’t afford to lose.” Here’s to recovery, folks. Like the ten-year-old son of a friend of mine said, as we were carrying the last heavy items through the threshold of our new home, “You’ve got to believe in yourself! You can do it!” Thanks, Pauly; that honestly helped more than you know.