Channeling my inner flower child as I look back on the 70’s.

Why do we like the things we like?  How do we determine the things that hold meaning for us and those that we forget in an instant?  And why do we attempt to create both in something rather than just allowing it to happen?  I suppose if I knew those things I might be able to unlock the vagaries of the human mind and determine the twists and turns of our psyche.  As it is I’m in the dark with the rest of you, wondering about the choices, values and folly of our existence.

thumbnail_72 christmasAs exhibit A, I give you the striped pants.  I don’t know how, when or why my mom bought them for me but I can tell you that I dug the colors, man.  They were cool and I thought I was pretty groovy when I wore them.  I imagined I was a comedian on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson like my idols, Kelly Monteith, George Carlin and David Brenner.  I remember the fabric even had a slick sort of a feel, probably the same as our khakis today.  It felt happenin.’  Jimmy JJ Walker himself couldn’t be that hip.  Looking back maybe my mom chose them because I could wear them with so many other things and not clash.  It would be many years before I’d find out I was red/green colorblind and have my odd clothes choices explained in college finally.  It’s not as easy to explain the shirt.

Exhibit B is a shirt that can best be described as light sweater meets latch hook rug.  It was definitely a precursor to the chenille that we would all fall in love with in eighth grade but I didn’t feel like I was ahead of my time.  Truth be told I never dressed to match what the other kids wore and still don’t.  I’ve always liked what I like for my own reasons as confounding as they are to those in my life that have to be seen and associated with me.  My mom wondered aloud why I always dressed so “drab” and my spouse mostly gave up dressing me early in our marriage.  The green(?)(see colorblindness above) and white speckled sweater with the green and black ribbing at the neck was a staple for many a picture for two or three years.  Whether it was my eighth birthday or Christmas when I was nine if I found something I liked I stuck with it.  Even back then I wore what I wanted to wear usually as long as it was clean but even a small stain never stopped me from donning a favorite.  Clothes and times were simpler back then and I didn’t try to engineer things.  You’d think I would have carried that lesson forward to today but you would be mistaken.

thumbnail_9 mile rideExhibit C is a small, inconsequential nine mile ride when I’m 52.  52.  52 and I seem to have forgotten the things that seemed so obvious 43 years prior.  I had somewhere to be and getting the ride done was the precursor to moving on to it.  The day’s ride before had gone well and although the distances had been small up to this point I had developed an expectation of what it would be like.  I would knock this quick ride out and be on to bigger and better things.  Silly old man!  It started with an incomprehensible inability to get clipped into my pedals because my &%$*! left knee wouldn’t bend enough.  Difficulties continued once I was clipped and couldn’t make a revolution without my ass coming off the seat because of the pain.  Then, there was the immediate climb up a hill.  Halfway up I thought I might actually topple over because I wasn’t going fast enough.  So much for my quick and easy ride!  I persevered and although my second hill climb nearly broke me again I did not tip over.  With a little rest at a stoplight I continued on into what became an enjoyable ride of its own accord.  Once again the universe had taught me a lesson.

Despite our best planning and expectations and past experiences our lives, the world and our circumstances cannot be designed, at least not completely.  Not to get too hippy-dippy but sometimes we just have to let things be.  The Beatles knew that and to be honest I think we all know it too, deep down.  Unfortunately even at 52 you can forget and not in the “where are my car keys?” way but in the way where you know better; you’ve just gotten caught up in the swirl of the world and what/where/how it says you should be.  I won’t go looking for striped pants or latch-hook sweaters but I’ll take a cool chenille number if one comes into my path!  And I’ll do my best to dial down the noise, like what I like and accept what life brings.  Ultimately, it’s going to bring what it brings.

I had a former supervisor tell me I had a sort of 60’s mentality and I think she may have hit it right on the head.  I do think we chase a lot when we ought to sit back and wait for things to come though.  Maybe you know someone on the hamster wheel who needs to hear thisIf you do, I hope you’ll share it.

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