Monday, July 25, 2016

No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Try Better

            No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Try Better

            Thank you, Samuel Beckett. I am such a fool. No matter. A good thing about old age is that I am a fool with much less baggage. Physical and otherwise.

            When I moved to Mazatlan on the Mexican coast I significantly pared down the “stuff” in my life. For example, I had accumulated approximately forty bath towels, decent quality. How many towels does one woman need? One in the laundry. One hanging on the rack. One folded, on the shelf. I confess that I brought six.

            Clothing? I turned my back on full closets. I kept lightweight cottons and a couple casual dresses, three sets of clothing for visits to cold Montana. (They breed in the closet, but no matter.)

            Kitchen items. I brought little and have given away much of that. I mix and make everything from scratch, by hand. It’s amazing how few tools that requires.

            In March I did something I thought I’d never do again. I bought a house in Etzatlan, in the mountains near Guadalajara, a wee casita, lock, stock and barrel; whatever they left was mine. I was excited. I moved in and had an immediate revelation. I am a fool. What the owners left was trash. I got to clean it up and throw it away. Lucky me.

            What’s done is done. My neighbor Josue, or Josh if you prefer, is a young man of many talents. He agreed to build me kitchen cupboards to replace the crumbling press-board garbage that barely held up the sink.  No, that’s not right. He didn’t replace the old but created a kitchen to fit my needs.

            We took our time, a commodity of which I have unlimited amounts, at least for today. Josue rebuilt my kitchen and it is perfect. Everything fits. Everything is beautiful. Now he is working on a wardrobe for my bedroom. The bathroom cabinet, crumbling and warped, will be last to go.

            It’s a process. Some of my ideas won’t work. I let him know that this old woman doesn’t mind being told straight up, “That won’t work, you old fool.” We laugh.

            Out of my experience with my new home, I’ve come to be thankful that nothing in the house (except the house itself) was decent. Once again my initial judgment, thinking I’d bought a pig in a poke, was wrong. If the stuff had been good, I would have slapped on a coat of paint and lived with what was here and not received the joy I have from creating new to suit my exacting needs, unerring sense of style and impeccable taste.

            Some baggage is easily shed. I’m a woman of seventy and some. Image, that bugaboo of the young, became of no consequence long ago. I walk with a cane. I accept help from young people without a qualm. Rules I grew up with are meaningless. I eat when and what I want, sleep when I want, following my body clock.

            I wish I could as easily shed my certainties. Much of the time I am aware that I know nothing. What a relief when I know I don’t know.

            When I think I know, more fool I, I’m always wrong. I have no idea what is good and right for you. I barely keep track of what is good for me and that is only for today. Tomorrow has its own uncertainties.

            I used to think if only I “knew” I could exert a measure of control. I laugh at myself today. Control is another illusion I’ve thrown on my personal trash heap, though I pick it up and brush it off from time to time, wondering if it might not be useful.

            For me, and I don’t recommend it for you, life is more fun, more adventurous, more flexible, when I don’t have to be right,  when I’m wrong, when I’m a fool, when I get to try again. 

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

May 19, 2016

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