Saturday, May 30, 2009

from Dorothy Parker

Indian Summer
by Dorothy Parker

In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

I recently happened upon this poem by Dorothy Parker. I suppose it's sad to say that it resonated with me, even though I certainly hope that I haven't yet entered the Indian Summer of my life.

Beginning in high school, I was definitely guilty of that chameleon-like behavior which Dorothy describes so laconically. I kept it up until The Child came along, and at that point I seem to have taken on Ms. Parker's Indian Summer attitude.

I have a theory which resulted from my awareness of that phenomenon: maybe my former "lad-pleasing" behavior was actually inspired, unbeknownst to me, by a biological urge to reproduce. Once that happened, I was allowed to be myself and let the chips (or lads) fall as they may.

I have always preferred to do my own thing, although, admittedly, there are those rare occasions when it would be nice to have a companion. When the Child grows up and flies the coop, there will be a void.

Maybe then I'll have to revert to my youthful ways.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of shots from my walk in the park today:


Loving Annie said...

Beautiful rose shots from your park walk today, Betty !

Feeling free enough to be yourself is an awesome place to be.
With the right people, you can always be yourself without changing the things that matter most to you.
There are always people who are on yout wavelength that will be comfortable with you - it's just a matter of being discerning about who they are and then reaching out :)
And that gives the child confidence too, because you are his role model.

Lynilu said...

Darn. I wrote a thoughtful comment, and apparently I didn't publish it. I'll be back.

Lynilu said...

OK, I'll try this again.

First of all, I love the beautiful roses. How wonderful that you get to look at those every day.

I think when we are young we do things that way because we are learning about give and take. Of course, we often don't do it well in those early steps, and we tend to give, give, give, and maybe take. But with time, hopefully our skills in choosing improve on the balance. Some don't learn well, and the "give, give, give" cycle continues, but most of us learn to draw that line in the sand nearer the center as we mature.

As to the empty nest and companionship thing, I know what you mean. At my age, Betty, I've learned about myself well enough to consider that I may never be in a marital-type relationship again. I am lonely occasionally, but most times I am alone but happy. And I'm set in my ways enough to wonder if it would be possible for me to be happy if I needed to draw that line in the sand again. My report card might well say "Does not play well with others," if I had to share that much. I don't know. But bottom line is that I'm happy with friends, and if I find an occasional lover, so be it. I think!

As The Child matures, he will begin spending more time away from you, and that is your cue to make adult friends to fill the void before the void fills you!! As he gradually pulls away (and he is approaching the age), start looking for friends of either gender to spend a little time with in shared interests. It will be healthy for you and The Child, too, if you "grow apart together."

I'm happy with a handful of friends in my life. Most of my friends are mature (nice word for "old" LOL!), and fortunately have similar needs as mine .... getting together occasionally to laugh, to grouse, to share food and conversation and fellowship. For some of my friends "occasionally" means once a month, for others, perhaps 1-2 times a week. Thank goodness it is not the every-day-several-times-a-day type relationship I saw in my teens and early 20s. I value my quiet time, as I know you do, also.

Begin looking around for folks that enjoy similar things, and gradually cultivate friendships. Then just let nature take its course. By the time The Child wants to break away, you will be ready for it, too.

Good luck, Betty.

Lynilu said...

Betty, I would like to send you something by email, if you don't mind sharing your addy with me. Mine is

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

Yes- the roses are nearing their peak for the year- it's a great time to live on the park!

You made a good point about the Child. The last thing a child needs is to have a parent who specializes in isolation! It's especially important now, since he'll enter a new school in the fall.


Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

I gave too much to the boyfriends, but I took too much from my mother. I was so out of balance with my mother, and never got to work it out before she died.

Now I give, give, give to The child.

I give a lot at work too- more than most of my co-workers, but for right now I think that's positive. It's part of my growth. I used to be too shy to do the things I'm doing now to influence things at work. And come to think of it, my giving at work has resulted in opportunities for me to take, too. I guess that's what you mean by balance! It's a new concept. Right now, my work life IS my social life.

To follow your suggestion, I will try to cultivate more friendships at work that will extend into leisure time. And I'm going to email an old friend to see if she wants to get together.


Anonymous said...

I'm with LOVING ANNIE with
feeling free to be yourself...

We love you for who you are...You
are an amazing person :)

Those rose pictures are just the
most perfect :)



Big Dave T said...

Sometimes I think that boys, men too, spend their whole lives living in Indian Summer. I liked Lynilu's comments here. It's nice to get together with friends to share thoughts, comments and advice, but it's nice then to be by yourself so that you can enjoy life your own way too.

I didn't know that Dorothy Parker did poetry too. I'm assuming she's the novelist I'm thinking of.

Monogram Queen said...

I've always greatly admired Ms. Parker!