More joy than…..


Decisions are one of those things that always seem to be tinged with either worry or joy.

Just recently I received a call from a dear friend who had finally made the decision to resign from a job that was running her ragged.  It was a good and exciting job that fulfilled that part of her that has always worked and been extremely successful at anything she’s ever touched.  She is dynamic, incredibly talented and unmistakably in charge.   She is also over sixty so jackassing up and down the East Coast calling on OEMs isn’t exactly what she had in mind after she retired (maybe too early)  from her last job.  But the lure of the money and the excitement of the start-up were irresistible.

Fast forward to an instant when you realize the time with your Mother may be running short, your grandchildren might not see you often enough, your family leaves messages on your cell phone instead of Skyping and you’re sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight and the lightning bolt hits.  Still the decision is difficult to make.  What will tip the scales more, the worry or the joy?

I’ve made some very big decisions in my life and each time I’ve agonized for far too long and become far too enmeshed in the decision making process to the point where I was unable to act.  These were decisions that were to be made strictly for myself , they may have been for my good and yet the worry far outweighed the joy and I hesitated. He who hesitates and all that…

What does that tell you about how you feel about yourself?  Where does the worry come from?

Then there have been times when I was put in a position to make decisions for others.  These have been the source of my biggest regrets.  My Sister and my Father both had to live with decisions I made for them and to this day I question the outcome.  The decision to have a portion of my Father’s colon removed ultimately resulted in his death from sepsis. Why couldn’t he have lived with a questionable polyp, he was almost 80 years old and suffering from dementia.  I knew it was the wrong decision when he awoke from anesthesia and not only didn’t know me but was frightened by me.  How prophetic. What if?  I’m learning everyday not to go there.  But sometimes I do.

Decisions happen every day, some are benign and some life changing.   Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

So now I approach things differently.  When I’m up against the decision making process I pay attention to the tip of the scales.  Worry gets me more things to worry about.  Joy brings me more joy.  I’m glad my friend made the decision she did.  She is still dynamic, incredibly talented and unmistakably in charge…of herself.  Her job never defined that and she had joy in her voice when she called to tell me of her decision….and just a tiny bit of worry but not enough to tip the scales.






Life of Riley’s

Just recently I had dinner with the Riley’s.  We were getting together to record their personal history.  It’s the gift I gave them for their fiftieth anniversary.  I want to tell (but more importantly I want to know) their “story”.  I don’t want to record the facts of their life, everyone knows that, I want to record their “story”. The behind the scenes, I never knew, aren’t they amazing story.

Although I aspire to make this part of my Ordinary Legacy work, I wouldn’t endeavor to gift something like this to people I know causually, we are dear friends and we have had dinner many times before.  Our dinners usually include wine, laughter, wit and inuendo, and oh yes a fabulous meal.  Whether Jan cooks or I do the meal becomes almost secondary to the excuse of sitting around telling stories. 

Our dinners run about four hours long but feel as if they are over in minutes.  There is rarely a lull in the conversation, there is always something new to talk about. There is eye rolling and cajoling and friendly bickering and heart felt explanations of events both past and present.  We truly enjoy each other’s company.

It’s a bit difficult to say goodbye always promising to get together sooner next time and off we go to our very different lives.  I won’t let on what I’ve discovered about my friends in gathering their personal history and formulating their story it’s not my place.  That will be up to them, suffice to say, they are very interesting people with a wonderful story indeed.



To me…

I recently had a birthday and one of the funnier carry overs from childhood is the way my sister and I sing the song.  Happy Birthday to you…and the other chimes in “to me” “to me”.  Fast forward a hundred years and we pick up the phone with an automatic “to me!!!!”

I had a wonderful birthday with well wishes, dinners out, Facebook posts and all the people I know checking in with me.  I have to say, the call that touches me the most each year comes from my oldest friend, Marcy.

I don’t always get to take the call, sometimes its a message on the machine but it lifts my spirits more than almost anything.  She and I have known each other for 49 years (sorry Marcy but I had to tell them), we come from the same street, the same economic background, the same kind of Italian mother (you know the one who had the unspoken permission to belt you one if you needed it and always talks too fast for you to get a word in edgewise) and we have the same sense of humor.

I say we have the same sense of humor but she usually does the talking and I usually do all the laughing.  I’m talking about the kind of laughing that brings tears to your eyes and prevents you from breathing all the while hoping you don’t pee your pants kind of laughing.

The funny thing is we don’t really see each other any more.  We have very different lives now (she of the Grandmother persuasion, I of the starting over divorced persuasion) but somehow we always remember, I mean we always remember to phone one another on our birthdays.  The calls usually go something like, “Hi it’s me, happy birthday.  When the hell did you get so old?  and on from there the conversation will go.  She has a very distinctive voice (as do I) so there’s never really any question who “me” is and frankly at this stage in my life no one would really dare to speak to me the way she does.  She is allowed, she’s my BFF from the neighborhood.

I wish we saw each other more.  I’m sure we both feel it’s our fault that we don’t see each other more but life tends to intervene when you least expect it and we have both had our share of interventions.  That said, my birthday wouldn’t make me nearly as happy if I didn’t get her phone call, if I didn’t get the chance to catch up, albiet for a minute or two, and laugh out loud feeling I was back on Hillside Avenue. 

Thank you Marcy, you remain my connection to our past and the thing I look forward to most twice each year.