Saturday, March 12, 2016

Doodling for Direction

For a long, long time, all my doodles were arrows coming and going, up and down, sideways, never getting anywhere.  Pointing, reaching, looking for direction.  I often felt boxed in by those arrows.  Trapped in no direction.  In elementary school, in high school, in college, in every job I've ever had  I was always worried about where I would end up.

Now I'm sixty-three and where have I ended up?

Back at the beginning.

After a working career of 40-plus years (I'm not including working at the dry cleaners from ages 8-15,  or pricing at the pet-supply warehouse, not counting serving in the cafeteria at Northeastern or working in the Registrar's Office at Finch); after a number of apartments, single and shared, a six-year relationship, a 29-year marriage, a townhouse that almost foreclosed, a big house, two lovely children boy-girl twins; now after all that I'm again seeking direction.

Direction is a funny thing because there's no one "right" direction in life.  For any place you want to go, there are oh-so-many ways of getting there.  Will you walk? bike? or drive? Do you go the fastest way or take the most scenic route like my friend Nancy who bobs and weaves this way and that, avoiding the main roads, even highways if she can.  Unlike me, she goes the "back roads" while I  well I just want to get there quick as I can.

Part of the difficulty now is just deciding direction.  My first choice of direction was to leave our town and live in New York  return to the hustle and bustle of of city streets teeming with people, alive with music and plays and magnificent art and always, always, always, the possibility of human connection.  I have had great moments of "positivity resonance" with men, women, and children here in the Big Apple.  People like me/unlike me, close in age/decades away, of similar persuasions/of radically different views.  These connections rarely seemed to happen in the town where we raised our family because we lived in cars to and from the same places.  And we didn't have many couple friends.

Most couples attach to other couples and do things together.  They go to concerts or movies, camp, play cards, take vacations together. I think these couples usually meet through their young children  but that didn't happen for us.  We moved to teach in a small school where most of our colleagues were far younger and single and transitory  each around for a few years and then on to the next career phase in another part of the country or the world.  Our friends are in Iowa and Santiago, Chile or elsewhere but not so many here.

Now it seems that the dream of New York may be a dead end and my direction points me back to North Carolina where I've spent the past 24 years. In a way, and surprisingly, that's beginning to excite me.  There are new things for me to focus on.  We're selling the house and emptying out 35 years of objects and memories.  Every Monday night I'm free-form dancing with about 25 other people for 90 minutes and NO talking!  I'm back to volunteering for the two non-profits  that I support.

Maybe the time has come to procrastinate  to start doodling and see where those arrows take me.


For the past few months, I've been in a women's writing group that meets weekly at a neighborhood senior center.  I am by far the youngest of the seniors but they're a real bunch of characters, all with interesting thoughts to write.  We spend about 20-30 minutes writing and then we each read aloud and share our piece, followed by comments.  Before we begin, the table is strewn with pages of images torn from magazines (brought  by our writer-facilitator Rosalie) to help prompt one to write if needed.  

This is the image I saw that prompted me to write this post. 

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