It’s been a crazy week for me. My aunt passed away. Work has been…well it’s been work, but here I am, plugging along, trying to make the best of things. It’s in my nature, I suppose. I’m not a glass-half-empty/half-full kind of girl. Most days I’m just lucky I HAVE a glass!
I spoke with my sister this morning, before today’s madness began. It was good to talk to family, to feel grounded. It’s so easy to lose sight of what’s important, and what isn’t. While we were chatting she mentioned something I thought was important. We were talking about our dad, and our relatives in general, and how young our father acts for his age. He’s ALWAYS acted young. Our whole family acts young.
My dad was 30 going on 31, when I was born. I’m the oldest of three girls. He wasn’t in a hurry to have kids. I did the same thing. My husband was turning 31, and I was turning 30, when our son was born. Maybe that has something to do with our family’s mindset. I’m not sure. Anyways, even though my father was older than most of my friend’s parents, he always ACTED younger than them. I’m discovering a similar phenomenon with my own child. I was helping out during a field trip, and I was surprised how old some of the parents were, only to find out that a lot of them were actually YOUNGER than me. It didn’t make sense. I’m sure good genes help, but I think a HUGE part of it is attitude.
Anyways, short story told in my usual rambling style, my sister mentioned that she thought that part of the reason our dad seems younger than he is, has to do with how he handles stress. Our father LOVES his “toys”. He’s tinkered with cars, and motorcycles, and sailboats, then he had horses, then he went back to tinkering with cars and motorcycles, and now he’s tinkering with a riding lawn mower. He’s ALWAYS had a project that he was working on, usually several. When he gets stressed, he works on one of these projects/hobbies. I’m not sure if he’s ever finished a project. Every time he thinks he’s finished, he finds a way to improve upon his work, a way to make it better. It’s never ending, and I think that’s OK. It’s more about the process than the outcome.
I think that I’ve turned out to be a LOT like my father. Everyone keeps asking, “So when’s your book going to be done?” “Soon;” is my vague answer. Now don’t get me wrong, I WILL finish it, but for me, the entire process of going from an idea, to writing in journals, to writing on a laptop, to researching, to rewriting and editing, to blogging about my journey, has been enjoyable. It’s the process that I enjoy. Even if only 3 people want a copy of my story once it’s finished, I’d consider myself a success. Writing is one of the ways I handle my stress. If I’ve had a rotten day, I have my hobbies to tinker with, and then I’m OK. I can be a wife, and a mom, and a sister, and a daughter, and a cat-herder, and a friend. Having hobbies keeps me young. It keeps my brain active.
I think my family’s attitude has had a HUGE influence on my writing about vampires. Growing up with a family where the age on the calendar had little to do with the age that you act, has definitely affected my writing. No, we’re NOT a bunch of vampires. We like our steaks (not stakes) well done. The thing is, when my sister and I were trying to figure out how old our Aunt Margaret must have been when she passed away, we realized she had to have been at least in her late 70s, most likely older, and yet, she wasn’t old to us. She NEVER acted old; therefore she never seemed to age. She kept busy. She loved life. When my Dad rides his motorcycle up to see me at work and say “Hi;” he doesn’t act like a man who’s turning 68 this year. He doesn’t look like one either. As I think about and remember my aunt today, I feel blessed to have come from a family of tinkerers, who love life, and refuse to grow up.