The Brain Plasticity Era
A good woman friend, the best one I know, and I sat together drinking good coffee though we had missed the sign for honey cardamom lattes. We bit into our egg sandwiches made on the bakery’s own brioche layered with the kind of cheese we each only ate as a treat these days and talked about systems, especially the systems within capitalism and academics. She complimented my willingness and bravery to walk away from systems that kept me distant from my own sense of purpose and worth. I smiled and reminded myself out loud by re-mentioning to her how fortunate I am to be at a place in my life where no one counts on me. My son is emotionally and financially set. He’s on a career trajectory that includes acknowledgement of his intellect and his ability to process rapidly in a way that combines creative and analytical thinking. I’m free to soar or fall flat on my face without directly impacting anyone around me. We also ate buns. Glorious buns made by a Parisian trained pastry chef. We were able to linger in our booth that overlooked the water talking deeply about important things and laughing at the small things in life — and about ourselves — that make life worth living. We wished for a world where context was more important than content, where people could choose to be kind because they weren’t boxed in by a system into getting their egos stroked by choices that hurt or disadvantaged others. We agreed with sadness that altering the self-serving loop of those systems was almost impossible. We grieved for the young professionals who are already caught in its grip. We expressed our gratitude at having been given the opportunity to touch numerous people’s lives in our work, to help them live more authentically in this world that demands a pound of soul as payment to merely survive. We walked around the lovely town that was home to the exquisite buns that had lured us there. It felt freer than where I currently live. It felt less corporate. I was my usual bubbling over with excess joy self and everyone I encountered seemed to embrace it. We bought dried black mission figs in the town’s coop. We walked on bridges over the waters. We marveled at the layers of snow made to look like sedimentary rock by the rushing water and the sea green colored edge of river water going over the falls. The barista at the bakery cafe had given me a little wooden dinosaur on wheels to mark our table. I kept running it slowly back and forth and almost cried when I had to give it up. All of this reminded me to remember to live. To do that now. Not tomorrow. Not in a few years. But now.