Things That Used To Be; City Style

When you look at the neighborhood around you, do you wonder what it used to be?

Did it used to be busy, or was it quieter? Is it safer than it was or a tad seedier? What kind of people roamed the road and what kind of wheels rolled down your street? Do your views today make you long for the past or yearn for the future?

Old Philadelphia, courtesy of thingamababy.com

We took a stroll around a pretty neglected area of Philadelphia over the weekend. We had no real destination. My pictures fail to capture the atmosphere unfortunately.  It’s something I’m learning to figure out as an amateur. I like to find the beauty in what “was”, and I like to dream about what used to inhabit the buildings and sidewalks that I walk.

When I see areas that are abandoned and half demolished, I wonder if the area is going through a transition to be rebuilt again or if the crumbling bricks are a true metaphor for the neighborhood. Time will tell.

I’m not foolish enough to think that the past was glamorous. Crime, corruption, drugs and heartlessness have always lurked in corners of every time period. There are still sights to be appreciated and customs that are appealing, particularly when we don’t know the pitfalls. The revolutionary buildings that I admire may not have seemed so beautiful with excrement being flung out the windows out into the alleys below.

There are times we can’t experience and life to be enjoyed today.  Generations will pass on, scenery will continue to change and traditions will be altered. That is how time works and it always will.

I Thought I Had It All Figured Out

There I was, not so long ago; no, it was only last week.  It feels like forever only because I was so sure then. I had it all figured out; then, gut instincts kicked in.  The direction I was about to go, all of a sudden didn’t feel right.  Maybe it’s not the direction, as much as the way I intended to get to the destination.  If opportunities sound too good to be true, they probably are.  So now what?  How can I encapsulate all the directions I want to take my life?  Can we have it all?

Happiness comes down to knowing what is most important and being grateful for what you have, while not settling for what you don’t.  The important part is getting to the place where all these feelings collide and feel real.

There is so much more to offer than working 40+ hours per week and paying the bills for things that just keep us mundane.  We have covered that in the past, no need to rehash that. How we end up and what we give up in order to live life to the fullest is interesting.  What I’m willing to give up seems insane to some people. We are not all made to live the same life, though I want elements of normalcy in the mix.  I don’t feel troubled about life as much as hopeful and excited to see what we can make of it.  I say “we” because it’s not just about me, it’s about my best friend and husband too; the husband is also my best friend so that makes life a little less complicated.

“They” think I’m crazy to give up cable.  I say it’s crazy to spend hours in front of the TV watching other people live.  I’m willing to work hard for the type of life I want, I just don’t know what it should all consist of yet; writer, historian, mother, student, broadcaster, traveller?  It is very easy to say I can do it all, harder to do.

Time will either tell or speed by; in the meantime choices will need to be made and I hope a little divine intervention can help my mind along. I don’t doubt I will make something of myself, though I am anxious. I just need a little more direction than I ever expected or wanted to admit.

One Hundred Years Was Not That Long Ago

As we approach the on 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I think to myself how recent it was, but just how different life was; or was it?

My great-Grandmom was born in 1912, one month after the sinking and she only passed away two years ago.  Her little sister is still kickin’ at ninety-eight and there are several people alive today that are well over one hundred now.  Think about the transitions they’ve made in life.  We laugh about teased hair from the 80’s and disco music at Studio 54 but this older generation changed fashion, music and pretty much everything life had to offer, repeatedly.

It wasn’t that long ago that women wore corsets, couldn’t vote and got picked up for a date in a Model T.  Most people who served in WWII were born about ten years after the Titanic sank, and just like that generation, soon they will be gone as well.  We only just lost the last WWI soldier in the last year.

It put it in perspective for me when our little town newspaper mentioned that a Titanic survivor lived a couple little towns over.  He was the head barber for the White Star Line, who operated the Titanic.  The man journeyed over seven hundred times on transatlantic ships and nearly perished that night in the cold waters of the Atlantic.  The article touts him a hero, who assisted the crew as they tried to get as many as they could to safety in the few lifeboats available.  He was eventually swept off the ships edge when it split in two and after clinging to dining chairs in the water, Continue reading

How Do Dumb People Survive?

As a homeowner, I watch HGTV pretty often.  My husband and I are handy people and have successfully completed a lot of DIY projects and renovations ourselves, by planning, budgeting, compromising and seeing the value of hard work.  There is also a crazy concept of opening your mind and imagining possibilities.  Not to toot our own horn, but we bought our first house together, which was a fixer-upper and have made it into a comfortable and modern home.  We also aren’t in debt up to our eyeballs because of it.  We aren’t wealthy, but we get by, so it’s not out of bitterness that I ask this; why are wealthy people so stupid?

I see shows like House Hunters and people will say, “We have a budget of only $900,000.”  Only?  Are you serious?  Then I think, well, they must be pretty smart to have gotten that far ahead.  And then the show continues, followed by ridiculously stupid and naïve comments.

“I don’t want that first house because the kitchen was yellow and that’s ugly.”

 

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Busy Hands Generation. Are You One of Them?

My Dad brought up a good point recently. He said, “When you go to a bar, what do you see? A drink and a cellphone in front of every person at the bar.” We’ve sat at various pubs since and noticed that he was right. And if a little LED blinks? Forget it. It’s like a gravitational pull that the phone owner cannot avoid. The world might deconstruct if the blinking light is not appeased.

“Must touch phone. Red light needs my fumbling hands. Please note, I’m no longer listening.  The pull is too strong and I am too weak.”

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