I'm not sure that I ever understood exactly what T.S. Eliot was talking about in this poem (I think I read it freshman year of college and don't remember the commentary about it) but the one line that always stuck with me was,
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."
It's such a universal truth, the way, every day, we get up and go through our usual routines. I read that line and knew exactly what he was talking about. Every day I pour myself a cup of coffee and use a spoon to stir the cream and sugar into it and lay the spoon down on the counter (dribbling a little coffee there, which will later dry into a hard scum that is hard to get off). And so our lives go by, one little detail at a time.
And now that I take various medications every morning (since I am officially middle- aged, with high blood pressure), I paraphrase in my mind, "My life is measured out with hydrochlorothiazide pills" and the line also crosses my mind as I open up new disposable contact lenses each day...."My life is measured out with contact lenses."
It all works. Eliot's quote was pure genius.
Another poem that resonated with me was "Siege" by Edna St. Vincent Millay:
"This I do, being mad:
Gather baubles about me,
Sit in a circle of toys, and all the time
Death beating the door in.
White jade and an orange pitcher,
Hindu idol, Chinese god, —
Maybe next year, when I’m richer—
Carved beads and a lotus pod. . . .
And all this time
Death beating the door in."
Another universal truth - we all spend so much time working, buying things, gaining possessions, and all the while we are all headed to the same fate.
Do you ever get sick of your own face? Like, you know how at the end of the winter, you're really, really sick of every sweater you own and sick of all your winter pants and sick of wearing shoes and socks and can't wait for spring clothes to be appropriate to wear again?
Well, that's how I feel about my face. Every morning, I look in the mirror, and there it is. The same face. I don't get to change my face when the weather changes. It's still there. Same old circles under the eyes that have to be covered with concealer, same old eyebrows that have to have a touch of eyebrow pencil or you can't see them. Same old two lines across my forehead. Same old face.
I think I'm beginning to understand why people have plastic surgery. It's not all about looking younger. It's about being sick of their face. It's like when you look around your living room and think "Gee, I wonder what the couch would look like over THERE instead of HERE? I'm tired of this arrangement!" So the next thing you know you have your husband patiently moving furniture around the room and gradually getting grouchier with every new instruction.
However, I'm not a plastic surgery kind of person. So I guess I'll have to be content with at least having new hair.
Yes, in a way I have new hair. I stopped dyeing it last fall and it has finally grown out. It has a streak of grey in the front and some salt-and-pepper action going on all over. It has added one new bit of interest to the sight in the mirror. I'm not sure if it's good or bad but at least it's new to me!
I suppose if I lost 25 pounds that would make some changes too!