I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Perspective through the years

Church Mountain, almost to the summit
Last Thursday, another hiker friend, Dave, took this picture of me along with Cathy and Jim, as we debated whether or not to climb the final fifty feet to the summit of Church Mountain. There would obviously be no view, since the clouds had remained pretty thick during our trek to this spot. We had traveled more than four miles and up almost 4,000 feet of elevation to get here, and I was tired. Little did I know what was in store for my aging body on the way down, though: my knees and back began to complain mightily. It was my last time on this summit, I'm afraid.

Since the other two had never been to the top, we decided to go. I'm glad I did, and after looking back on my blog, I found that it had been five years since I last visited the top. Five years is a long time, and Thursday I was reminded that my body is three-quarters of a century old now and needs TLC, not arduous hikes like this one.

It's three days later, and I am now almost back to normal. I have binge-watched a Netflix series and an Amazon Prime original, which helped keep me occupied in a way that wouldn't put too much stress on my tired limbs. And it was interesting what I learned while watching those two series. First, I was intrigued by the nominations for the Emmy awards and discovered that two shows I had not heard much about are nominated for numerous awards. The first is entitled "GLOW" or "Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling." Not being a fan of wrestling, I didn't think I would enjoy it, but after seeing its 11 nominations, I decided to give it a go.

The comedy series is set in 1985, more than thirty years ago, and I enjoyed looking at the clothes and hairdos of the era as much as anything else. The premise is that a guy decided to create a TV show of women wrestlers and recruited a bunch of non-wrestling women (with a couple who know what they're doing) and trained them. I had many a laugh while I watched the first two seasons. Season 3 is in production, and I am excited to see what happens to these women next.

It is hard for me to fathom that thirty years has passed by in the blink of an eye, that this period piece represents a time when I was already in my forties, older than those GLOW girls. Although the cars and clothes are dated, they changed so slowly that I didn't notice that it's long enough in the past to be part of my history. I thought I was old back then in 1985, but now I'm truly elderly. I laughed when I realized that if I were to die today, my obituary would not reflect on my tragic truncated life, but instead would reflect on a full life well lived. I've reached the age when most people are beginning to feel all the time like I do right now: achy and tired. I just keep forgetting that I'm old.

The second series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, follows a housewife in 1958 New York City who discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy. It's an Amazon Prime original, and I was glad I discovered it after only one season, which meant I didn't have to binge-watch it for days to catch up. In fact, after I watched the pilot, I was truly hooked and could hardly wait to learn more about Midge Maisel. This period comedy is set in a time that I remember so very well: I was in high school, and the clothes in the series brought back so many wonderful memories. I wore those pretty dresses with layers and layers of crinolines underneath. I remember washing and starching them so that when I walked, frothy petticoats swirled around my legs.

Sixty years! Although in 1958 I had no idea what life had in store for me, I was young and idealistic, like most people were in those days.  Now it's a historical period. This comedy series received even more nominations: 14, to be exact. I had to find out what the fuss was about. Here's a quote from that Wikipedia article I referenced above.
NPR similarly highlighted the effectiveness of the comedy in the show, writing "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel isn't aiming for realism. It's a heroic fantasy. And Midge's humor, one might say, is the ultimate version of staircase wit. Recklessly honest, she says what female comedians would've said half a century ago — if they had only been free to say it."
 A heroic fantasy. Maybe that's why I resonated so deeply with her as I watched the eight episodes released by Amazon. I even watched the last one over again, because it was so densely packed with... just about everything. And it brought back another period of time when I was actually there, enjoying the beginning of my adult years. The two series are coincidentally thirty years apart, and it's thirty years since then. It gave me a chance to look at my life from three different vantage points, to be reminded of how much I've been privileged to live through.

I have also realized that there will be no more thirty-year periods, that I will have to imagine them because I won't be here to live through them, it feels like I've been given a priceless gift: the chance to reflect, be reminded, and celebrate a life well lived. And I have the most precious gift of all: a pantheon of wonderful friends and family who populate my memories, who are still with me in so many ways, even if they have already moved on. But today I will enjoy the richness of my current crop of friends and acquaintances, and we will find many things to laugh about and enjoy together.
Laughing is one of the best exercises, it's like running inside your mind. You can do it almost anywhere and it's even better with a friend. -Anon
And now, having been given the gift of retrospection, I now look forward to my day in the sunshine. I get to head down to the coffee shop and join my friends there, and I believe I'm going to the movies with my friend Judy later today. I've finished my first Sunday meditation, this post, and I hope that I will get to smile at your comments later this day and this week. Blogging is a gift that I treasure and am glad to share with my friends.

Hubby is still sleeping quietly, my tea is long gone, and the day beckons. I wish you all good things in your upcoming week, concentrate on finding laughter to warm your soul and share with your friends. It's what I'll be doing until we meet again next week.


Marie Smith said...

The two series sound great. I’ll look for them.

I always look at my year old grandson and wonder what he’ll be like in 30 years, long after my time. Then I remember to enjoy the now, because it is all we have and why waste a second of it?

Have a great week! Glad you are recovered from Thrusday’s hike.

Linda Reeder said...

It's 8:30 and we are just getting going around here. After breakfast I have to make a trip to the grocery store for salad ingredients for a family gathering in Gig Harbor later this afternoon/evening. Other than that, neither of us plan to do much. It has been a busy week and we are looking forward so slowing down and enjoying a week of lazy summer days here at the homestead.
We don't have Netflix and I have debated whether to add that cost onto our already high cost of communication, with cable TV, Internet, land line phone, and two cell phones. It is a big chunk of money already. But more and more of the "good stuff" is only available through premium channels. Thanks for the reviews.

Marty said...

Oh, my goodness did we ever enjoy the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I hope there's another one on the way.
While pointing out that you won't be around for the next 30 year period you've still managed to keep your reflections upbeat. I hope your Sunday is free of those aches and pains that you acquired - and which, with your usual amazing physical life, are blessedly unfamiliar.

Tabor said...

That photo is so worth the walk. I am glad you did it. I have found, and I am just a few years younger than you, that the walks down from a long day are always harder on the joints. I hope you paused at the top, maybe ate a lunch while the mist moved by. So very lovely. I really liked that photo and it brought back a few memories.

Gigi said...

I absolutely loved Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! I am currently on the hunt for something new to watch, maybe I'll try GLOW. Every recommendation you've ever given is always a good one!

Have an amazing week!

Linda Myers said...

Well, DJan, I don't think of you as old at all. You are a contemporary of mine!

Arkansas Patti said...

Well you almost talked me into signing up for Amazon to see The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel but I don't watch the 100 channels I all ready have.
Hey, you could make the next 30 at the rate you are going and how well you take care of yourself.

Elephant's Child said...

I can remember when 30 was old. And laugh (quietly) at my ignorant self.
Love that you are making the very best you can of life, and wish you a week filled with love, laughter and easily surmountable aches and pains.

Red said...

A peek back to our ancient history is always worth it. It's more than clothes that change. It's attitudes and points of view. I think everyone of us makes major changes. I know I'm very different from my distant past.

Glenda Beall said...

I can't believe my high school days are now part of history. I enjoy watching Netflix and Amazon, especially on those days when I need to let my body rest. I have also discovered podcasts, DJan, and I love to learn from listening to some of them. Also, I enjoy streaming You Tube videos of writers and experts on subjects I want to learn about. Bob and Brad, the best physical therapists online have been fantastic sources for helping me with my knee, back and hip issues.
I don't go out to movies or concerts so my Smart TV is my entertainment. That is the best part of all this technology for me. So glad you are still able to hike, but you might need to listen to your body when it comes to those kinds of hikes. Like you, my mind says I am not old and I can do this, but my body just quits on me. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Rita said...

Both those series will now be on my list since you enjoyed them so much.

I think I am about wight years younger than you are but seems like I am going through many of the same ways of looking at my life. My body took over so long ago now that surprises me when I look back--2004. But it has been quite the ride and still is. Life is good.

Please let us know which movie you and Judy watched. :)

C-ingspots said...

Such a treasure having those memories and being able to look back upon those times and see how so much has changed, and how little has changed. You have reached an age where your wisdom is immeasurable and something to be valued. You have been blessed with a beautiful life and you're still creating memories and enjoying adventures. Just maybe need to do so in a quieter fashion my friend. Your body has been with you as long as those memories and is serving you well, remember to treat it with the respect it has earned. There is no shame in doing what you love at a gentler, kinder pace. You really are an inspiration my friend.

Jackie said...

The view from 4000 feet is a grand one....clouds or no clouds.
Please, take care of you. You are a treasured friend.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am glad you made the summit and made it down safely. I could look at the photo because of the clouds...without them I am sure my knees would be weak. Your shows whilst you rested up sound good! I hope you have a wonderful week, I heard this morning you might be in for a warm week. Stay cool!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I've missed this voice. I've missed the blog world, but didn't realize until this go round. Why do I forget that?

Interesting how when mentioning how things change through the years (hair and cars, one doesn't notice the changes as they evolve. Only in the looking back.

Such a reflective piece. And a joyful one. I enjoyed Mrs. Maisel as well.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I wrote down both of your recommendations. I am a scriber to Netflix. I'm wondering is a person also subscribes, for a monthly fee, to Amazon. If you have time, I'd like to know that.

You put the span of my years in perspective with this posting. the 30 years from one video to the next to you sitting and watching them. I, too, would have those thirty year spans. And I, too, so remember those crinolines! And starching them. And the sound of them as they "crinkled" when I walked or sat or danced!

Thank you, once again, for sharing your gratitude for like. Your gratitude brings forth the gratitude of all your readers. Peace.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I wrote down both of your recommendations. I am a scriber to Netflix. I'm wondering is a person also subscribes, for a monthly fee, to Amazon. If you have time, I'd like to know that.

You put the span of my years in perspective with this posting. the 30 years from one video to the next to you sitting and watching them. I, too, would have those thirty year spans. And I, too, so remember those crinolines! And starching them. And the sound of them as they "crinkled" when I walked or sat or danced!

Thank you, once again, for sharing your gratitude for like. Your gratitude brings forth the gratitude of all your readers. Peace.