I could write many paragraphs about how often I am reminded that I am no longer really even middle aged. I am, I think, several generations upwards of that period, no matter how generously you define it.
I’ll tell you one poignant example of such a reminder: my daughter directed me this afternoon to the local paper (is it still a 'paper' if it’s a page on the Internet?) where an author muses about her childhood connection to a strip mall – the Midvale Plaza, for those who know Madison. The nondescript lineup of shops has recently been leveled and replaced by a sweet little condo complex – units on top, library, ice cream shop and café on the bottom. What more could you want (if you’re into condo living)! And yet...
My daughter was nostalgic. We, too, once lived by that strip mall and she, too, remembered days spent walking from our home to the then rather shabby library, past a hobby shop, a Baskin & Robbins (31 flavors!) and the Hoover vacuum repair store.
I thought – this is what it means to be ancient: not old, but ancient – when your daughter remembers an era that is no more.
In other news: in the hours of the early morning, I am, as ever, getting ready for school, classes, work – you know the routines. Finally, I head downstairs. I pause in mid-step. From where I am, the front room looks so pretty! The light is dappling in, the painting from Jerez, finally set in its frame, is up, the geraniums are blooming.
It is a “life is good” moment.
And there is another such moment – heading home from Paul’s. The light is just so, the work week is nearly done with.
And now the evening is mine, for the first time in a long time mine -- nothing that needs attention, no student emails to contemplate, no project that needs to be completed before tomorrow. I'm buoyant. To a point. As I put away groceries, dinner ambitions wane. I ask Ed -- do you mind if we just eat a frittata tonight? We have some fresh spinach and leeks...
In my younger years, I never just made a frittata for dinner. Or reheated yesterday's soup or plunked frozen lasagna into the oven. Ah, but that was then. Right now, ask me to put together a three course meal and I'll respond -- what's the occasion? None? Then forget it.