Accommodating Waning Capabilities
Guest Blogger: Steve Sherlock

Guest Blogger: Tamar Jacobson

[EDITORIAL NOTE: I'm off to Maine this week to check out possible new homes and some excellent bloggers have agreed to fill in for me. Today, Tamar Jacobson of Tamarika writes of “Shining With Energy.” Please welcome her to Time Goes By and visit her blog too.]

This morning I awoke suddenly out of a dream. My first boyfriend from when I was seventeen had called me up on the phone. Well, at least I thought it was him especially from the crazy-making conversation that ensued and his not ever telling me who he was.

That was typical of his style as we dated for two years when I was completing high school. In the dream I was quite excited to hear from him. After all, we have not had any type of contact for the past 39 years. I was curious about his life and asked him if he was married and had any children. Of course, he would not say.

I lay awake thinking about the dream. It was so vivid. His voice was so clear. There was an atmosphere of tension and excitement throughout the dream that was almost exactly as it had been 40 years ago when we dated. At the end of the dream he still would not reveal who he really was. However, his brother came on the line and left me his e-mail address: “gpt something @ author.edt.” As I lay there thinking about the dream and what it could mean, I smiled at the email address with the reference to author and editor as part of it.

Ah, memories. Are they becoming more vivid than ever the older I become? It is like catching a puff of smoke as it wafts by in the wind. Vivid snapshots of past times with all the feelings, smells, sounds, even ambiance, intact.

As I enter into the realm of almost sixty (after all I will be 57 this year), I sometimes find myself looking wistfully back to those good old days. Shooting pangs of regret stab in the gut as I wonder if I could have done it better. I mean, rationally, I know that I did the best with what I had and who I was then. So why suddenly the regret?

On Friday night as we were walking to the car from dinner, I seemed to notice all the young people passing us by. Slender and shining with energy, they seemed so fresh and open ready for everything life has to offer. The stabbing pang was right there. “Had I wasted those years when I was slender and shining with energy?” I thought suddenly out of nowhere. Tears filled my eyes and I said wistfully out loud, “Oh how I wasted my youth. I could have done it so much better.”

T. hugged me close and said softly, reminding me, “We all think like that now and then, Tam. It’s what happens as we get older.” A passing pang, fleeting moment and on with the present living the now. I’ve had my chance.

We had fun this weekend. T. took a number of photographs of me for my blog. We laughed so much because I hated every one of them. Shouting and yelling out, “Oh I look old, old, old!” Finally I chose one that I liked and stared at it for the longest time. It was almost as if I was getting to know me for the first time over and over again. The face was familiar. The gray hair too. I searched deeply into my picture. Where had the young me gone? I could sense her even as I searched the photograph. I could feel her deep within me. Throbbing, vital, shining with energy, fresh and open ready for everything that life has to offer. “She’s still here,” I thought. “Accompanying me on this new adventure into aging.”

Ah, memories. Reminders of days gone by when, honestly, I could not have done it any other way.


Such a beautiful post, so well-written and sounding so candid.
I too sometimes think I could have done better in my youth, but that would have been possible only with what I know today, not as I was then. We act as well as we can with what we know at the time we are doing it!

Wonderful post, Tamar. I've certainly experienced much the same thing... regret for a wasted youth. Of course it really wasn't wasted. And I was experiencing it all then as best I could.

Outstanding remniscence....says it all for us. I do believe I'll be regularly checking your blog! Thank you.

Tamar I know the feeling and at times I miss the old days, but then I realize that these are the new days and I try to enjoy them as best as a 57 year old man can ! :)

I have experienced almost the same exact feelings, and they seem to get stronger as I age. We all have regrets for roads not taken, but I prefer to think that we are and always have been doing what we are meant to do.

If you hadn't done what you did, you wouldn't be who you are today.

I, too, have experienced those weird kinds of flashbacks that are rich in sensory shocks - remembering colors and smells and sounds so vividly. The kind of sudden remembrances that wouldn't come at all if you were purposely trying to snag them. When it happens - it almost takes your breath away and you marvel at "where did that come from?"

Late one night while reading a book in bed, a particular passage was describing a young child's school theatrical performance - a play. Suddenly, I got a strong mental image of a pair of crepe paper butterfly wings decorated in beautiful glittery colors. My first grade debut as a butterfly in a spring pageant, and those wings made me almost fly. I kept them in my closet for a few years until they got lost in one of our many family moves. The unbidden memory was like a small gift to myself and I stayed "in the moment" for as long as I could.

Wouldn't it be fun it we could command such memories at will?

Nah - then there would be nothing special or serendipitous about them.

AS to our shared journey to elderhood, like the great Yogi B once said;"No matter where you go....there you are."

Great post, Tamar!

Isn't it magical when a memory shines through so bright and clear in a dream? It makes me wonder--what ELSE is this brain of mine keeping from me?

Maybe the story isn't over. If you were to Google your old boyfriend, you might come up with an answer.

Heidi I had the same thought about this "If you were to Google your old boyfriend, you might come up with an answer"

Thanks Tamar for filling in for Ronni in such a superb and thought provoking way.

Our personal journey is what makes us who we are Tamar. Though you may have moments when you think "you could have done things better," we can't imagine YOUR journey taking you any other place but here....lucky us.

What a fantastically supportive group you are! I have so enjoyed reading your comments especially to discover how many of you have felt the same way and know what I mean. Heidi, interesting thought - to "google" the man! Hm ... will think about it.

Thanks so much to Ronni for this opportunity to share her great readers for a day. I hope she finds the home of her dreams while we take care of her blog.

Oh, I don't know if it's all that great to wonder about old boyfriends. I've been in touch with my high school boyfriend, married to his second wife now with five kids. The emails really got awkward when he started talking about his wife Dawn and I was asking "but what happened to Sandy?" I never did really get an answer. Heh.

Beautifully done, Tamar. Thanks so much!
I heard something today that I think is appropos---at least for me. To paraphrase Tallulah Bankhead: If I had my life to live over I'd make the same mistakes. I's just make them sooner.

Loved the memories and thoughts you shared so beautifully. I think the "young me" will stay with me always, not too far from the surface, but will anyone know?

As we age chronologically, it's always a joy and delight to have trusted friends with whom that youth can be shared and appreciated.

I have a friend who wrote me recently about how wonderful it was to have a friend who has known her all her life. I had never thought about how true that was, true only with each other for both of us.

On separate coasts, it's been over 40 yrs since we've seen each other, but periodically we recall the youth each other was.

I'm still in my late 20s and I have this recurring thought that I could have done things better over the last decade (which in my mind was my youth). Its almost as if I'm predicting that when I'm older I will look back and regret these years - similar to the way you have described in your blog. As much as I try to avoid and prevent this feeling that you describe, it doesn't seem to work, which goes to show that even if you'd known it then, you still would have lived it the same.

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