I think I know why the Beatles album made me so emotional yesterday – because the day was a culmination of a kind, the end of a long period of anxiety. I’ve been worried – not acutely, but worried – about my two kids, about my own future. Yesterday, I felt so much more calm and safe than I have for ages. Listening to my favourite music pushed me over the edge.
My son is almost settled, perhaps as much as he will ever be – ambitious and successful in his gruelling chosen field; my daughter is settled with what she has always wanted, a nuclear family – two sons, a partner, a neighbourhood, a backyard full of slides, bikes, balls and friends. That is a miracle to me; since the divorce in 1990, the fate of my kids has been top of my on-going anxiety list. No more.
And I myself am more settled in my work and life than I’ve ever been, happy as a teacher, editor and producer, happy as a writer – if making no money – and with the house, my tenants who help keep it going financially, John who fixes everything. A path is clear. Just read this in Abigail Thomas’s “Safekeeping”:
kind. I’ve caught glimpses of it now and then, I can even conjure it up for a
second or two, but then it fades. It’s a stillness, the polar opposite of
worry. It isn’t hope; hope has too much energy, requires constant renewal;
faith (if I had it) would just be there.
Perhaps, for me, it’s there now – faith in the planet, faith in the future, faith in right here.
I know – if you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans. I’m aware how fragile this fine moment is, and grateful; I take nothing for granted. But I remember my dear friend Margaret asking, when our kids were very small, “Do you feel like you’re sinking, treading water, or swimming?” I was treading madly, my feet pumping to keep my head, all our heads, above water. Right now, we’re all skimming along that water in our separate canoes.
And so I wept at the music, and then finished reading and editing my student’s magnificent manuscript, and at midnight, wept again for the pleasure of her success, the culmination of years of working together, her dedication to a beautiful, moving story.
Today I am allowed to be a lunatic. Yesterday I found out that Macca is playing in Vancouver while I’m there. In order to get my ticket, which I did at 11.05 this morning, five minutes after they went on sale, I had to: buy two tickets for a friend of Anna’s and her son to accompany them to the Aquarium today instead of me, so I could be home by my computer; pay for the concert ticket itself, another of the exorbitant sound check ones; pay Air Canada to switch my flight to Calgary from Tuesday to Thursday. Luckily, I will save some money on two nights of a room in Banff I will no longer need.
And I have my ticket. It’s embarrassing, but I am a superfan, one of the crazy ones; I who buy second hand clothes, second hand everything, allow myself this major extravagance without guilt. The man is 73 – how much longer will he tour? Why does he mean so much? Well, I’m not alone. His first band is the soundtrack of my life, of many lives.
And at the concert, I will bring him my book again. I have sent at least a dozen to people who might get it to him, not to mention bringing two to the last concert, so far to no avail. Maybe one day, he will actually receive his copy. With love, from me, to you.