Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Better All The Time!

Possibly the greatest gift we received from The Beatles was their ability to bridge gaps between all living generations.  My 1 year old dances to The Beatles.  I listened to The Beatles in high school and so did both of my younger sisters.  High schoolers today still listen to The White Album.  The Boomers are always gonna love The Beatles!  I think of John Lennon and Paul McCartney as philosopher poets who reached the masses. 

Yesterday was such a good day that I was humming the song, "It's Getting Better All The Time."  For most people, life is about transitions.  First you're a baby; then you're a kid; then you're a teenager; you start work or go to college; you decide how to live, or not, with another person; you may move to a faraway place; you let go of friends and loved ones with death and distance; sometimes you procreate; sometimes you stagnate; you get sick; you get better; you get rich; you lose money; you lose a limb; you gain some perspective...and on and on and on.  Don't get me started on "Changes" by David Bowie.  That's a song for another day. 

Transitions are tough for a lot of us, especially when they come in quick succession.  I seem to specialize in this arena.  Here's a little rundown since college: I got married.  I moved to Paris.  I got an M.A. I moved back to Missouri.  I moved to Manhattan.  I changed careers.  I got a J.D. I got divorced.  I moved to London. I moved back to Manhattan.  I changed from one law firm to another.  I moved to Brooklyn.  I bought an apartment.  I got remarried.  I got pregnant.  We sold the apartment.  I got sick.  I stopped working.  I had a baby.  We moved to the suburbs.  I got pregnant again.  I had another baby.  Most significantly, I experienced a spiritual awakening.  I changed my priorities.  I changed my goals.  I am changing the way I think. 

Now--I have dreams.  I have dreams that I believe in.  I have old and new friends that believe in me.  I believe that we are working together, and it really is getting better all the time. 

I want to be a writer.  I keep meeting other writers.  I'm not saying I will manifest a new career overnight, but I can see the new day dawning.  I am getting invaluable advice and support and it feels GOOD. 

My husband and I have found the town we love.  We believe we can stay here.  We believe we can buy a house here, and signs keep pointing us in that direction. 

I used to beat myself up for staying home with my kids instead of working.  Just yesterday, I spoke to the sweetest woman.  Of course, she works in this town that I love.  She just happened to be a lawyer who has had her own practice for 40 years.  I told her about my law firm past in the city and she cut right in: "I did the same thing.  Then I stayed home with my kids for ten years.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  You'll never get these years back.  You can work as a lawyer again.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."  She gave me some good legal advice AND some good personal advice.  It made me feel BETTER. 

I want to be a writer.  I still may want to be a lawyer.  I want to learn Mandarin.  Who says I can't?  This is my new song, and I'd like you to sing it with me!

John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1967

It's getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school
The teachers who taught me weren't cool
You're holding me down, turning me round
Filling me up with your rules

I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time
It can't get no worse
I have to admit it's getting better, it's getting better
Since you've been mine

Me used to be a angry young (wo)man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word, I finally heard
I'm doing the best that I can

I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time (It can't get no worse)
I have to admit its getting better, it's getting better
Since you've been mine (Getting so much better all the time)

It's getting better all the time
It's getting better all the time
Better Better Better



  1. Very sweet and uplifting post Michelle. Thanks.

  2. Must be a true compliment, coming from you! Much appreciated.

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I really liked your installment this time. Those thoughts are very familiar to me and to many people, I believe. People go through their young years/college/grad school with their idea of what success means, and they follow that objective believing that this definition of success will bring them everything (including fulfillment and happiness). In my opinion, our impressions of what fulfillment is come from influences surrounding us, such as our peers and television. From these sources, we glean the notion that self-fulfillment means financial success and personal achievement in certain careers..... and usually not in blue collar careers. It is not until people have spent their time in what they thought was their "dream" that they realize they don't have any time to actually enjoy life. They have no time to see their kids, to spend with their spouses, to take vacations, to smell the roses, etc. ....especially if you have workaholic tendencies once your wheel gets turning (perhaps we are both like this)...

    In most of anglophone North American culture, we share a common fault. That is, we commonly associate our own sense of self-esteem with our personal, professional accomplishments. By contrast, as you know, in France people are often more concerned with enjoying life and what they will do next with their free time. Admittedly, the French often grumpy, but they don't take their accomplishments too seriously (outside the 16th arrondissement, at least) and are capable of enjoying life without equaling everything they accomplish professionally with their own sense of self-worth.

    When I hung out with people in working class Britain, life was different from in France, but like the French, people did not let their careers take over their lives or dictate their own self-esteem. People scurried out the door as soon as their day was done and promptly headed to enjoy their communal endeavors at the pub, to laugh, to tell jokes, etc. Not all, but many people were happy just to get by in life and didn't want more than what they had. They didn't care if they ever had any material possessions and they didn't have any social value attached to professional accomplishments (...I know you lived in London where things are different...). In North America, we are much more preoccupied with our careers to shape our sense of self-worth and, as a result, we feel downtrodden whenever we are not meeting those objectives. If we didn't have this shared value, we would be happy to punch the time clock at 5, go home to our modest abodes and start enjoying friends, family, and life in general. {Have you noticed that people in Britain like to laugh a lot more than people here? We're a bit more serious because we don't laugh at everything around...and we don't have the British sense of humor either}

    I think that we grow up with certain ideas of our own self-accomplishment and where we should end up in life. Based on your blog, it seems that you have gone though this and arrived at your own independent sense of self-identification and self-worth that breaks away from the career-oriented mold. Congratulations.