If things stayed the same, I remind myself that I would soon become bored. At some point, I would become complacent, dissatisfied, and restless. I’ve had to learn this about myself, accept it. And from others, I’ve had to learn that it’s OK, that my dissatisfaction can be a positive. It ignites me to keep moving, to keep trying to improve. Determined.
You are hopefully aware of the goals and vision I have for this blog and website. They are posted on my “About” page and you can get a sense of it as you explore. Sofia – Wisdom of the Ages is my aspiration, some have termed it my passion project, to gather and record the life histories of adults. Furthermore, it is a mission of mine to fulfill a vision to use these histories to share the knowledge and wisdom that people amass over their lifetime. I have been dissatisfied with the tendency of our society to ignore the value of what a person learns over a life. Each person has a legacy of wisdom and lessons learned to share for the greater good of our society. This sharing of knowledge through collected life stories can help people improve how they see and understand things going on around them. It can assist in them deciding that they are OK or help them feel better about making a change in how they view/approach life. It may be the safety of knowing that others have thought this or faced this situation before me. It lets us know that we are not alone.
My dissatisfaction in how we ignore and waste the life knowledge of our older adults moved me to start this project and in the face of failure, to keep forging on. I am grateful to have an opportunity to be a caretaker, of sorts, for this information and make it available for others to benefit from, to improve their situation. It’s a huge undertaking. In the end, I may not even make a dent in recording all of the life histories and wisdom out there to be collected and shared. What keeps me going is my belief that no one’s life should be considered insignificant; that it is somehow devoid of any information others can benefit from reading or hearing. What keeps me trying when facing obstacles such as time, money, and distance is the drive to share the stories of the people I meet and interview. Determination. Even with similarities in lessons learned or types of wisdom experienced, each person is an individual. Each individual has had their own experience on this planet that no one else will have. It is the similarities with the differences in point of view that still make each person unique. How awesome is this. We can be similar yet so different. A paradox in life.
It is my pure hope that you find enjoyment when exploring the stories and videos I share here and on my YouTube video channel. Stay with me as I continue to grow and improve in my ability to share all of this great knowledge people have gifted to me. There may be times when I have to slow my efforts. Bear with me. It is the support for my vision that I have received these past few months that keeps me looking for ways to continue. You help keep me determined. And although I dislike having to request, I ask that you consider donating to my efforts. I would like to increase my efforts to cover traveling to interview and record people that are not local or don’t have access to Skype. There are so many people and their lives that I want to reach out to but my budget can’t allow meeting with them. Thanks for your support now and in the future. Thank you for donating, should you choose. It will help more than you know.
Let me know if you have some one in mind who’s life story you believe I need to record. I’d appreciate being able to share it.
Donations of support can be made at my Go Fund Me page. Thank you in advance.
Interestingly, I grew up on a street called Lakeside Drive but it was actually near a river. The Narrow River to be exact. It was the location of my family’s house for the first twenty years of my life in Rhode Island. As I grew older, I always wondered what possessed the community planners to go with Lakeside versus the more realistic like say, Riverside. Maybe the decision was to go with the less truthful street name because that section of the Narrow River wasn’t actually that narrow. It was pretty wide. Wide yes, but still not round like a circular lake. Who knows what they were thinking. I just find it very inaccurate. I wanted it to be an actual lake. Truth in advertising. I would have actually preferred to live on Ocean Road but my parents didn’t much care about those kind of specifics. Being Depression Era children, they were pleased and thankful to have a nice big house near water, even if it was a body of water with a confused identity.
It was sort of a dare for the neighborhood kids to attempt to swim across the river and not get worn out, drown or something. My middle sister, Lisa, was easily able to swim across this section of the river. I never attempted it. I wasn’t much of an athlete like her when I was young. In the Winter, the river wouldn’t completely freeze over because it was both fresh and salt water. Yes, you guessed it. There was a neighborhood dare for this too. Who was brave enough to walk out to the middle of the river? Bonus points if you skated out there. The river was at the bottom of a steep hill. There were several paths from Lakeside Drive down to the small neighborhood swatch of beach. Another Winter dare, could you get your sled to go fast enough down one of the paths so that you ended up on the iced over river? Could you get off the ice in time before it would break? I have no idea what we were thinking as kids. Obviously, we had some bits of logic and intelligence missing. We were kids being kids. Funny thing is we were allowed to attempt such feats of illogic back then. I don’t know if the same could be done today.
I’ve not yet written one word about my house yet, have I? I think it’s because I’m feeling nostalgic for the freedom kids in my neighborhood had back then. Homes were great. There were many great houses in my neighborhood. Yet if it wasn’t snowing or raining, you were pretty much told to get out of them or there were plenty of chores to be done. Who wanted to do chores? I didn’t want to do more than my share. That’s a fact. Just make sure to return quickly when called from the back porch door or when the street light came on at night. Don’t make mom call all the neighbors to hunt you down!
We weren’t micromanaged as children back then. In fact, just the opposite. We were practically free ranging chickens. I think our parents would have been amazed at the territory we covered as kids back then. We were told not to leave the neighborhood or cross the big roads. Few of us listened. Even a goody-two shoes like myself could cover major territory when I wanted to explore. It was nothing for us to walk several neighborhoods in either direction. Add a bike into the mix and we made it to the center of Narragansett or even the town next door, Wakefield. We were free.
If there were any dangers, we were thankfully unaware of them. Maybe our parents were concerned but not so much that they felt the need to hover over us. Hovering over us wasn’t going to teach us how to get on and take care of ourselves, to deal with and interact with the world. Afterall, our parents wanted us to leave home when we got older. Having freedom to get out from under them was to prepare us for this time. Mom couldn’t hold our hand forever. Nor did she want to be driving us all over either. Ha!
A day could include playing pretend, putting on skits we girls made up about our favorite TV shows. Man I hated always having to be Sabrina from Charlie’s Angels. If there was a house under construction, it was pretty much trampled by us kids. Nothing was sacred. During honeysuckle season, our parents could track what part of the woods we entered into by the pile of tossed sucked dry flower heads on the roadside. We found stone alters that just had to be from times of the Indians and Pilgrims. Was that dried blood left on some of them? And sometimes when you wanted to take it slow or be on your own, you’d just find a quiet place in the yard and stare up at the clouds in the sky. What did you see there? Some of my earliest stories came from me chasing the clouds.
That’s just a little bit of what it was like in my neighborhood growing up as a kid. The neighborhood was just as much our house as our actual houses. I miss those times, those freedoms before becoming teenagers then adults. Like I said, I don’t know if children today get to have adventures like this anymore. They benefit from so much that wasn’t available to me growing up. Yet part of me is glad I didn’t have them.
Free write about three songs of importance in my life for fifteen minutes. Dang, I froze because my head got flooded with fragments of songs clogging up my brain. I’ve loved music since way back when. All kinds of music too. My parents were a bit older when they had me. So I’ve grown up with the music of the old movie musicals playing on the TV Sunday mornings. My sisters are several years older than me. This meant folk artists of the 60s-70s like Carly Simon and who was it that sang, “You’ve got a friend” to the new wave/alternative bands once they started to emerge. But then the other sister liked rock and my music experience ended up adding Steely Dan, The Eagles and Aerosmith. Not a wonder I ended up in college doing a college radio DJ gig for a little bit. By then I was more into alternative, punk and the early stages of goth…you know…I hate the world BUT back then I wasn’t about to go hurt someone else over my internal dismay.
So the interesting thing about getting ready to start with this was waiting to see what 3 songs came into my mind while I slept then woke up today. Yes, I had to sleep on it. I seem to have this thing in my life that I often wake up singing a song and find it’s trying to tell me something I need to attend to or that I’ve been trying to work out in my subconscious when I sleep. That’ what the brain does…you’re asleep but it works quietly in the background sub conscious trying to delete information gathered that’s not needed and then try to see if it can figure out how to help you with something that may be bothering you or needs to be problem solved right away. I hate it when it wakes me up with a solution at 4:00 a.m.! I also have one song that seems to pop up on the radio every time I’m needing to make a major change in my life or I’ve actually decided to make a change and maybe not feeling that it’s the decision others would have made or aren’t supporting me.
Drumroll……the 3 songs that came to me are:
1 )What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong version
2) Praise Chorus – Jimmy Eat World
3) Here I go Again on my Own – Whitesnake….yes, Whitesnake.
Can you guess which one is the one that pops on the radio out of no where every time I make a major, if not life changing, decision?
“Well, I know what it means…to walk along the lonely street of dreams. An’ here I go again on my own.
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time”
Seems fitting because I’ve been dealing with the wasting time issue and getting my project up and off the ground finally after 10 years. Will this song stop following me now, letting me know I’m on the right track? Will I get to jump up and down like I’m getting ready for the race and ready to go…that’s what the Jimmy Eat World song does. Watch out if I’m driving and the daily Jimmy Sing Along comes on the radio. That song wakes me up. Gets me focused. As for Louis, I sometimes go through periods of not really liking what I see going on in the world today. But then something happens that gives me back my belief in this world; that we are capable of kindness and surrounded by beauty even in the most unusual places.
I’m going to go ahead and call myself a runner. In truth I both run and walk. Some runners would say that this doesn’t make me a true runner. In the end, it doesn’t matter because I still get across the finish line. Once I put my mind to starting a race, I will finish it even if it means I may have to crawl or be dragged. There are many who finish before me and some that finish after me. It humbles me. But I remember to be happy since there was a time I was told my future might be the physical inability to do so.
You see I have a habit of letting “can’t” get in the way. I told myself, “I can’t” for many things and many times in my life. I let people tell me “can’t” and I believed them. It was when I finally took up running for the umpteenth time in 2009 that I learned that “can’t” needed to be removed from my knee-jerk reaction list. I was very sick in 2009. I was being seen by several neurologists. I had numbness and tingling down the left side of my body. The thought was I had multiple sclerosis. I was scared out of my wits. Thankfully it was my neurologist, Dr. Snyder that told me the MRIs and other tests were negative. However, he couldn’t explain my symptoms. He and his nurse practitioner told me I had to keep moving. Several friends encouraged me to give run/walking another chance; to take it slow this time. I swallowed my fear of being the slowest person on the road and I shut out the voice of “can’t” get past a mile running through my head. I kept at it and actually started enjoying myself more often than not. I was afraid of a future using a cane or worse, a wheelchair. The doctor noticed I was doing better and wanted to know what I was doing. I told him about run/walking. He grabbed his prescription pad, wrote something and handed it to me. It read, “Go run a half marathon”. I responded with, you guessed it, a sentence with “can’t” in it. He responded, “Yes, you can. Doctor’s order!”
Man I hated him at that moment. It was to be the best thing a doctor ever did for me.
I kept at it. I built mileage slowly training with a Galloway group for beginners. I slacked off at times but I got back into training because I didn’t want that look of disappointment from my doctor. Some people thought I was crazy trying to start running at 40. I kept going and I felt stronger for it. I finished my first half marathon in February of 2010. The next day I moved back to Tampa from Jacksonville to return to graduate school a second time to study gerontology. The slow process of training for a half marathon and seeing I could do it had given me the confidence to change many other things in my life that year. It ended up playing a pivotal role in my life and the way I’ve viewed things since.
I’m coming off a year of injuries. I haven’t loved running as much this past year as a result. I even thought maybe my body just “can’t” do it anymore even if it stops the numbness from returning (oh, it’s still there). But then I remember all that I have done since 2009 despite first thinking “can’t”. I now know I can do so many things once I put my mind to it. I’m tougher than I realize. If I can endure the physical and mental pain I experience when I’m running long distances and I’ve been out on the course for 3 hours then I can at least try to tackle other things life throws my way.
I almost didn’t start my first 12 hour ultra race this past August. I went because I didn’t want the DNS (did not start) on my record. I went with several friends who helped me that day, told me I could. The running community is filled with great people who will hold you up when you need it most. My feet were a mess by the 5th lap (15 miles). I wanted so badly to quit. It was the only time “can’t” was to be used as a motivator. “You can’t quit now Linda. You’re halfway there to a medal!” It was one of the hardest and most painful days of my life so far. But with complete strangers, friends and new friends made out on the loop cheering me on, I made it through the 10th lap with 20 minutes to spare. If I could find it in me to finish that day, then I know I CAN do anything. Just watch me!
Link to inspirational photo
My heart is heavy today. I can’t stay focused and my mind is easily distracted. You see, I was informed last night that a friend had suffered a severe brain injury and was fighting for her life. (She continues in the ICU today.) I got notified that another friend fell and was in the ER seeing if she had broken her wrist. Then in the next hour a friend posted asking for prayers as she had three friends in separate places battling severe injuries. Wow! What a night!
We all know life is a gift; that it can all go south or end very quickly. I hope and pray all of them will get well very quickly despite any odds they may have against them in some cases. Regardless, I’m feeling powerless. But isn’t that the case anyway? We don’t know when this ride is going to end. Again the message that time is of the essence coming at me but with full force these last 12 hours.
My friend Calla (Ms. Sassy- if you know her) would tell me to get back in the game. This is her journey not mine right now. I have to say that is the goal of even writing this little piece now. Get it off my chest, out of my mind and get back to doing/living. Create something positive today and move forward not stuck mulling. Mulling away the day doesn’t help Ms. Calla. It just wastes time which I’ve gotten reminded we don’t have as much of as we think we do. Come back to us soon Ms. Sassy Calla. We need and benefit from the light you give to our lives.