Life is for living
And love is for giving
And joy is for passing around
Join hands with each other
And love one another
And let’s let the music abound
Life is too short to waste it on gloom
Don’t let your love slip away so soon
Join hands with each other
And love one another
And let’s celebrate this good day.
I’ve always loved this song but it has hit me lately that people seem to have forgotten the first line. LIFE IS FOR LIVING. I bring this up because yet another person has said a something that drives me buggy. “You’ve done so much in your life”. If it’s said by a woman it goes with a look that is either envious or is followed by the question, “Didn’t you ever want to get married and have kids?” Then I get a pitying look or confused when I say “no”.
If a guy says it, they are either disapproving or wondering how I did stuff. I tell them I take chances and that at 60 I’ve had time to do shit. Girls can do anything they choose to do. Life had no gender.
Either way, it makes me wonder about people. You can’t do things or have adventures if you don’t get off the couch and live.
I don’t live my life wrapped in cotton wool and I grew up in the age where the predominant button worn was “Question Authority.” Now kids are taught do what you are told. Don’t question authority, be a good little girl. Bad things don’t happen and if you don’t like something, say you don’t want to do it and you won’t have to. BULL SHIT!
When those things don’t line up and they fail at something or bad things happen, they yell “TRIGGER WARNING”. Well, if you are always avoiding life, you are going to have a big surprise when life doesn’t avoid you.
People die, bad things happen to you, and sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. DEAL WITH IT!
When I was a little girl, I played with the boys most of the time because a dirt clod war in the tree house was more fun than tea in my play house. When I had to play with a Barbie, we sent her down the Amazon to explore not to put stupid fashions on her. As I recall she ended up hanging from a tree and we left her there.
When I was two I jumped off the roof because if Mary Martin could fly in Peter Pan if I got up high enough yelling “I can Fly!” I should be able to, uh no but it didn’t stop me from trying. Things happened that were bad. My dad beat the shit out of me and I would tell myself I was saving my mom and little brother from being hit and I probably was. I got molested by the man next door and never told a soul at home. My dad taught me how to defend myself when I was in 7th grade and I used what he had taught me in college when I was almost raped two different times. What did it teach me? It taught me that I was strong and could take life when it got bad. Being born blind in one eye taught me I could get along if I needed to and I could take the bullying that I got for it. And that I could protect others by standing up to bullies and that that scared bullies. When I was at an event at a college a blind girl attended and I remember being so mad at her. She was absolutely helpless even though she had a cane. She insisted she be walked everywhere even places she had already been taken. She had a cane! It was a college campus with braille markings and wide cement walkways. There was no excuse to be helpless except that her parents had taught her she was.
Working at camp I had adventures, I got struck by lightning. I learned if I had to kill a rattlesnake that I could even though it scared me. I took kids on backpack trips in the wilderness. We dealt with the pervert that was spying on the staff at night. When I was still at home my dad and I went down the American River when it was at flood and a Class iv not once but twice and I got a 3rd degree sunburn with the scars to match but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world because it was amazing. One of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I took rock climbing because to get my degree I had to either take sailing or rock climbing and I broke my foot on a rock face. I still got an A in the class because I kept coming on crutches. I learned that I really hated the idea of falling but if I had to I could climb and that I could trust the guy on the other end of the rope. I chose rock climbing because I really hate to get wet or swim.
I was always one of a few girls in those classes. My specialty was Outdoor Resource Management/ Naturalist Interpreter. I took a lot of math and science to get that degree and I also took Survival, backpacking, High Risk Outdoor Adventuring (which mostly involved how wilderness could kill you) and a lot of other classes that women just did not take. The women in the Rec dept were taking Recreation for the disabled, Playground management and all the acceptable “girl” courses and they were boring as shit.
You do not grow without doing something, without taking chances, without getting bruised and broken and burnt. I still have a lot of growing to do but I’ve learned to love and lose when most of my family has died starting with my great-grandma when I was 5. I’ve had my heartbroken when I lost family, friends and lovers, pets or jobs and I get back up and I don’t yell “TRIGGER WARNING”. Real life doesn’t have trigger warnings. I’m not saying anything is easy. It isn’t and it can be very hard. I’ve had deep depressions, and I have tried to leave the planet when I was younger because my heart hurt. I won’t ever do it again unless I get a terminal diagnosis but if I do I will have lived first.
I have to say that my grandmother was the one who taught me to be brave and to have adventures. She went to the Yukon Gold Rush in 1906 when she was 16 with her girlfriend on a freighter. Before there were cruise ships or even very many phones, no planes if it got scary. She arrived in San Francisco shortly after the quake and came home with postcards of the devastation. When she was here in LA she climbed the local mountains before there were roads in the Angeles National Forest. Those wouldn’t be built until the 1930s. She was a silversmith, a leather worker. She did all kinds of needlework. She read constantly. She taught me divination and I have no idea where she learned it. When I was little she and my grandpa drove me all over LA to have adventures and see and do things. The first gift I got after my eye surgery was a beautiful book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales because she wanted to let me know she knew I would be able to see when everyone else was wondering if the operation would work. She taught me to trust and to try and I have for the most part. I have learned there are things to fear in life but courage means do it if you can and if you can’t accept that part of you to but you have to at least try.
Always remember to live or you will be old and wonder what you’ve missed and you will say to someone, “Wow, you’ve done a lot.” And you won’t ever have done anything. If I hadn’t learned those things I wouldn’t have come out in 1979 when very few were out of the closet. I wouldn’t have left the safe but boring and non-working for me, haven of the Presbyterian church I was raised in to be a pagan. I wouldn’t have been able to write my stories because I wouldn’t have had the experience to able to write.
Go out today and do something you’ve wondered about. Do something new. Learn something. Do something that might hurt, read something hard or painful. Face life with a full heart. Life is an adventure and you will miss the adventure if you don’t. Why watch Indiana Jones when you can be Indiana Jones even in a small way. BE AN ADVENTURER!.