Old Battery

the vast imagination of a child is often lost when one reaches adulthood and gets caught up in climbing the ladder

“Very little is needed to make a happy life.” Marcus Aurelius

As a child, I swam in the clouds with vast imagination. I thought growing up in Ohio, tomorrows were endless and troubles invisible. Adulthood left behind the small-town security and shelter of family, and longtime friends since elementary school. New days consumed a grand-prix mindset. Surviving the competition meant glued to the grindstone called important success. I surmised getting ahead, you know… college, making a living, seeking that promotion with competitive salary raises gave more options than my small Ohio town.

Little did I know, because no one gives anyone a playbook … unless you’re fortunate enough to inherit one: obtaining success leaves little time to catch your breath. Opportunity meant a ten-to-twelve-hour work day. Lunch was an alcohol networking opportunity. I never thought chasing accomplishments, was in any other way, maneuvering a city called Los Angeles, nor did I question my choices. Leisure walks, discovering and rediscovering the city I thought I loved, had no place in my schedule.

Opportunity meant a ten-to-twelve-hour work day. Lunch was an alcohol networking opportunity. Image shows workers climbing the corporate ladder.

Fast forward, nothing in the now future, was in my then past state of mind. My agenda ages ago isn’t one I recognize now. Leisure time back then was rarely a two-week vacation. Instead, like most LA-on the way up-types, meant a day taken here or there extending the weekend, quick coffee with a friend or impromptu dinners with an agenda of social climbing. When I ran this gauntlet, my mind was preoccupied with the next high profile work project or deadline. The options I worked hard for were rarely realized. I accepted year-end bonuses dangled like delicious treats. My impressive resume stretched from marketing to finance to project manager. American Express Card, private offices, air travel for client meetings, and departmental managerial titles gave me prestige in both salary and ego… happiness eluded.

Is this all? It wasn’t until my forties when I moved away from Los Angeles to Portland and then, Seattle, that I noticed a major shift in the pendulum. Work was important in the office for job security, but family and friends sliced up a bigger piece of the pie. Needless to say, the adjustment, particularly to Portland was immense. I accepted neighbors as caring and supportive friends, leisure walks became normal, and spontaneous dinners became a regular informal gathering lasting well into the evening. Breathe is what I did. Breathe.

I adapted relaxation, a core once foreign to me, and one, I probably wouldn’t have known had I remained in Los Angeles. Discovery was something long abandoned—writing fictional stories. I set aside a collection of character-driven outlines, twist-turning plots, and book titles I wanted to expound upon. I put these ideas, along with magazine pictures of cities, people, and scenery into a wooden box purchased in Big Sur. What has led me to where I am at this time and place is imagining something so absurd that you’d have to be crazy to even consider it probable. I enjoy a movable feast of unexplored cities and new friendships; this transition has recharged my imagination.

I challenge you to look back on the past and recharge your battery for less of the grindstone. Image shows an arm with a battery ready to recharge.

Thank you all for following my writing and blogs all these years: I challenge you to look back on the past and recharge your battery for less of the grindstone.

It’s a New Year! Celebrate, in spite of what you think you can and have to do.

 

 

 

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Terrie S. Rouse-Rosario
Terrie S. Rouse-Rosario
5 months ago

Cheryl,

I love your overview – yes, breathe!

Terrie

Donna Pizzi
5 months ago

Yes, our meeting in Portland was certainly Kismet, since you had seen our work in interior design magazines (Victorian ones especially), while living in Los Angeles before meeting through mutual friends in PDX. We collaborated in many ways, most notably working on editing your novel “The Family Band” for many years, a brilliant project I know you are still at work at reconfiguring into more than one novel. And, of course, assisting with your incredible work in the Arizona venture which began yet another cycle of revelations about your talents, desires and dedication to overcoming any difficultities that arose. Bless you & Tom for your stick-to-it-ness… Big Hugs & Happy New Year… New Adventures…

Susan
Susan
5 months ago

An important reminder for the start of a new year. Thank you!

Steve Durham
Steve Durham
5 months ago

Cheryl,

I’ve heard people say they wish they were in their 20s again. Not me. You couldn’t pay me enough to go through them again, stumbling from one mistake to the next, taking wrong turns, exercising colossally poor decision-making skills. I am so grateful that wisdom alighted on me sometime between my 60th and 70th birthdays. Life is so much easier when you understand all things in their time, reality is as much a feeling as a “thing”, people are doing the best they can, and if you miss the bus, there will be another one in a few minutes.

Thank you for your wise words!

Steve

Ani Ferguson
Ani Ferguson
4 months ago

Hi Cheryl, oh how our lives intertwined LA to Portland sharing many twists and turns.
Enjoyed the this sharing.

Zoe Robinson
Zoe Robinson
3 months ago

Yes Cheryl, when I too look back over my life lived, it seems as if it was someone else who lived those years . . . grateful now to slow down, yet still enjoy the roses!