Saturday, May 25, 2013
Reflections on a Misspent Youth
The joke I used to tell was that when I entered college I was 80 and when I left about 20. I was Miss Goody Twoshoes during high school because my mother was sick, my father not coping that well, and I had a little sister to look after.
Mother, in her infinite wisdom made me turn down a math scholarship to an "away" college and enrolled me in UNM because she didn't think I was adult enough. At which time fate stepped in and promoted my father to a job in Denver. His joke was they could not get me to run away from home so they ran away from me. It was the wild and crazy '60's and after a very strict upbringing I turned pirate. I had three rules that stood me well: 1) do not get pregnant, 2) get your bachelor's and not your MRS degree, and 3) do not get arrested. The last may have been just luck but I worked hard on the other two.
If the 60's were insane the 70's were even wilder. I had the bachelor's degree, the pill and the number one status symbol of my age -- the FBI file. My resume, without careful editing, by the time I entered my red neck period (1981) qualified me for only one thing , authoring a tell all book. Whoever came up with the t-shirt - Been there, done that - obviously knew me or traveled a similar path.
So last night exchanging memories with one of those friends who shared parts of the decade of the 1970's I had no regrets but somehow see did. Wasn't she with me in the VW mirco bus crossing to California with 9 kids, two dogs, a goat and not enough money? Or when we dumped everything but the VW at her parents in San Fernando Valley and took off to visit a beautiful and sexy friend in Hollywood.
So why does she now have to hang with an alcoholic with a Harley Davidson? But it was Jan that did the Harley's with me. And only me that did the alcoholics. You think, however, she would have gotten some wisdom from watching me make those mistakes. Not that I really list any of my adventures in my youth as mistakes but they definitely shorten up the bucket list. A changing world with video on every cell phone would have deleted a few things I already checked off.
I felt like a mother when I sent my friend off this morning on a hog driven by a man already sipping from his flask to the Red River Memorial Day Run now infested with biker gangs and not just Vietnam vets. Surely she knows what to avoid but then after our wild and crazy hippie days she (and the new dude) are Rush Limbaugh fans and registered Republicans.
I meanwhile am contented doing some gardening and later a bit of painting. The dogs and I walked through the fog this morning on land a long way from the noisy stream of bikers. I am too old do repeat my youth and do not want to anyway. Been there, done that, and have the mental bullet holes to prove it. I got lucky.