Does my desk show that I’m curious, or sentimental, or a habitual collector, or is this photo too dark to see any of my tchotchkes (trinkets)? There’s a small ceramic head that my son made in 1st grade. There’s a cheery vase with hearts on it that says Grandma, which I bought for a quarter at a thrift shop last week.
“Be Happy. It is a way of being wise” is the message on a greeting card that my daughter once sent to me. My daughter-in-law sent a card last year with “I’d hike anywhere with you,” along with a copy of “Big Magic. Creative Living beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. A painting of Howard Zinn on the front of The Americans Who Tell the Truth card series stares back at me, along with souvenirs from my recent trip to the other side of the world: a tiny hand-painted vase I got in Antalya, Turkey; a pencil sharpener from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy; and a mini Buddha candle that came from somewhere.
When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, I always asked my father if that was Texas over that next hill in the distance. I can’t remember if he humored me and said that it was. I’ve been to Texas many times since, but I still want to go to Big Bend national Park and Marfa.
I’ve hiked in Sabino Canyon many times over the last 15 years I’ve lived in Tucson. Still, I wonder what’s beyond the too-tall mountain peaks I’ll never climb at 70.
As I get older, I’ve decided that my curiosity will keep me going (maybe I’m just nosey).
Last Saturday, walking up the Sabino Canyon road, I caught snippets of conversations.
“Hell, she reported on the life cycle of the nose, of all damn things,” one woman told her friend.
I also heard, “I’m so happy for her” and “I parked there all last year because I was always late for church.” Or this, “No one in our career has ever used that process.”
Nothing thrilling. But hell, what were they talking about? I had to know, until I heard the next snippet and was distracted.
For me, every day is a balance of focusing on my desk work, imagining what’s going on beyond my own life, and doing something social. Now we know that avoiding loneliness is a positive predictor for a long, healthy life. Also, I must look at something miraculously beautiful.