Thursday, 10 June 2010

June blooms


Last weekend, I attended the high school graduation of someone very dear to me -- someone I have watched grow from a chubby little cherub to a poised and beautiful young woman.  She was the first baby in my circle of friends, and thus I am experiencing -- for the first time -- that particular generational changing-of-the-guard.

It is true that the graduate's mother and I dominated the dance floor all night long, but even though there is much life in us yet (it is to be hoped), that freshness -- what used to be described as "bloom" -- will not come again.  As pleased as I am for my young friend, I cannot help but feel a pang of envy for all of the choices and opportunities still open to her.

It's not that I regret the road I took, but I want the road-not-taken as well.  Is it possible to be satisfied and grateful . . . and yet a little bit greedy, too?

37 comments:

ArtSparker said...

But would you want to be that age again?

Bee said...

Maybe not a freshman . . . but definitely a senior!

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I want that road-not-taken too. I wish I could go back, but with the knowledge I have now. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm hardly at the end of the road!
Catherine

Bee said...

A Thousand Clapping Hands - Thanks so much for "getting" this.

Leslie Patterson said...

First,this is the most gorgeous blog!

Also, despite feeling that I have had the most fortunate life, I know I want the roads not taken and all the little paths in between. My niece just graduated from American high school (17 yrs), and I confess that I felt a little envy. Ah well, I'll think of life as XTC,a band of my generation said of drowning in the blooms of summer, "please don't pull me out, this is how I would want to go.

Sarah Laurence said...

I felt similar mixed feelings at my 25th reunion, seeing the younger classes convene. I still think we have a lot of time before us. It’s not too late, Bee.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

B -
Count me in. Just as long as it's on your side of the pond.
C.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wasn't it Shaw who said that youth is wasted on the young? To have the knowledge of this age, with the freedom of youth! A wonderful thought.

David Cranmer said...

I would do a few things different but you couldn't pay me enough to go back and make it happen.

Lisa said...

I look at Chloe and her friends and I think these same kinds of thoughts.

Anna said...

Bee for us looks like dandelion is over. Lot of field daisy and lilacs. Hey the grass always looks greener on the other side, I am sure that others look at your grass and would like to have it too. Anna :)

fairyhedgehog said...

I wouldn't choose another road but I'd love to get back that bloom, energy and lack of everything sagging!

slommler said...

So well said! My granddaughter just graduated as well and I was so excited for her. Her life is all ahead of her...and she has youth, beauty and energy. What fun and what a blessing!
Hugs
SueAnn

Tessa said...

I do absolutely love your blog, Bee. It is, by far and away, one of my favourite places to visit. Every time I come by - always with a sense of anticipation - I go away with a feeling of cerebral quiescence. Not because what you write is always serene - it is often funny and astute; sometimes fiery; maybe one post will be a fascinating debate, the other about books read, places visited or food enjoyed. Your photographs, too, are so perfectly matched to the pieces you write. Brilliant. Love it all. Thank you!

As for the road not taken - I, like Robert Frost, "took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." I don't regret my choice, not even for a nano-second.

Elizabeth said...

I really truly am happy to be my advanced age.
The energy necessary to be young has departed entirely.
But the fine bloom of youth is something I love to observe.
Such pretty pink roses.
We had our first proper Persephone meeting last night and discussed"To Bed" Great fun.
Wish you had been there.

rachel said...

How lovely, though, that you can say that you don't regret the road you took. So many of us can't say that.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

So true, Bee! I wouldn't want to do it all again, but maybe as Sarah says, it's not to late to try something new. Maybe in a different way than you might have tried it before :-)

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I totally understand that feeling - the satisfied, yet selfish feeling. There are some things I wish I had done, but didn't. But then, I realize, that it is only possible to think these things after time has passed. I took my road, which I love, and still have time to explore other roads.

And I can't even imagine going back to being 20 or 25. I'm so glad I am where I am now. I'm glad to be done with babies and thoughts of when the next baby will come. Now it's time for me to be a bit more selfish. :)

Loved your post, as usual, Bee! You always think beyond the surface of any experience. There is always something deeper you bring up to explore.

willow said...

I'm all too happy to be past all the roads in the yellow wood. Keep on dancin', Bee!

Anne said...

To your last question, yes, I think so--and further, I think it's possible to want that untaken road and want to experience all over again the road that you did take (or parts of it, at least).

I'm at the point where friends are starting to have children. Seeing their lives transform to incorporate a child or children makes me wonder about my parents, my friends' parents, etc. and how they were feeling at this stage in their lives. While intellectually I know that my parents were my age once, and had a well established marriage and life prior to my being born, somehow it's now much more real. And I'm not even the one having a baby!

Lastly: is the rose in that second image a Cecile Brunner? They're one of my favorites.

Delwyn said...

Hi Bee

as each of my kids left school and embarked on their further education I felt a pang of envy and was drawn to think about my own options and the choices I made at that age. Also the different career paths and opportunities that are available now that weren't even dreamed up then.

I think that I missed that feeling of "the world is my oyster...there for the taking"

But maybe this life passage serves to remind us of the opportunities that we have now and to reconsider those things we value highly.

I have always thought those words of Frost to be two edged...

"took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Was the choice a good one or a poor one I wonder....

Happy days

kristina said...

I do know what you mean. I find myself looking at high school and university girls now and thinking how wonderful it must be to have so many possibilities still before you...

K x

B said...

Ah, the road not taken, or really at least in my case the multiple roadS not taken and the what ifs? But you know, never too late to change roads, or to bring two roads together!

steven said...

hello bee! yesterday i sat in a conference room at the local university with two recently graduated undergrads and listened to their visions for their future. i, with thirty years between me and that same moment of experiencing in my own life was envious and then also i felt a paternal instinct to offer guidance. but i kept my mouth shut and let their dreams lift off of their minds through their mouths and silently wished them well and safe and rich and happy lives. steven

Marcheline said...

As someone who has chosen not to have children, I can relate to that "what if" feeling... to a point.

As far as "bloom" goes, I challenge you to look at interviews with Katherine Hepburn, Judy Dench, and the like when they were in their sixties and tell me those dames aren't blooming like hell!

I mean, you only have sixteen year old skin when you're sixteen, but true "bloom" comes from the spirit, not the skin!

Rock on, you.

- M

Kristen In London said...

Well. To me, this emotional dilemma is encapsulated in the gratitude one feels for one's completely wonderful husband of 20 years, all the history and understanding and loveliness, compared with the utter newness and gorgeousness of young love. What we all want is both! One of the impossibles of life, n'est-ce pas, Bee? What is sad is when one's willing to throw away the achievements and wisdom of being the age one is, in "favor" of another fling at newness... Better to keep each stage of life in its own place, I guess, but that truth doesn't take away from the wistfulness. Lovely, lovely, thought-provoking post!

Maggie May said...

Possible and probably somewhat inevitable. Love to you.

Anil P said...

To the road we once took, each one of us will return, by another road.

And the freshness will be ours, all over again.

Relyn said...

I know just what you mean. I love my life and would choose it again and again. But still...

Oh, I long for years and years and years - many, many different lives.

Barrie said...

My 16 y.o. just got back from a week-long school trip to visits college campuses. I was so jealous. So, I know exactly what you're talking about.

Lucy said...

This, and then Anil's comment, bring a lump to my throat.

Possible and desirable too, I think. I don't think I've ever been so intensely aware of how sweet youth can be, and how quickly it flies. I think perhaps I enjoy seeing it more in others now than I did when I had it, and I do see and know some very, very lovely young people, I'm happy to say. So be it.

Friko said...

Having it all? Isn't that what we were promised? All roads leading to happiness?

It didn't turn out to be true but who cares, all would be far too much anyway. enjoy what you have to the full. Eternal youth is much overrated, it is only when you have left youth behind you that you have the confidence to be truly yourself and if that includes dancing all night, so much the better.

melinda said...

First time reading/visiting your blog. Very lovely. I don't regret the path I have taken...but I wish for those days of knowing that almost any path was still open to me. or that I could still change directions at anytime. The older I get, I realize the realities of time, resources and responsibilities. Feel that twinge watching my 20 year old...

Polly said...

Sorry I'm so late with this comment but let me add to this and say that I agree, too. I wouldn't want to be that age again, I hated myself then, but I really wish I had the road-not-taken ahead of me. I probably wouldn't appreciated, as I didn't when I was a teenager, but mabe Fate would push me in a different direction.

Lovely post, lovely thoughts and gorgeous matching photos!

herhimnbryn said...

I don't think I want to be that age again. I still had so much to learn. However, as I've aged my confidence has grown. Mind you I still have much to learn!

Nancy said...

Yeah, I think it's possible. I don't miss the insecurity, but I sure miss the body.

Bee said...

Thank you, lovely readers, for these thoughtful and always-interesting comments.

Sadly, youth is often stricken by anxiety and insecurity. Mine was, at least. If only we could have a do-over with the benefit of accumulated experience and wisdom and self-knowledge!