Keeping in Touch

One of the great things about the Christmas and New Year period is getting in touch with old friends. It's even better when old friends get in touch with me.

When we share news with people we have not been in touch with for a while, it's interesting how it is only the age of our respective children that really gives us a sense of the years that have past. Tobias is 15?!?! The last time I remember him he was a little boy. Greg is 33?!?! That's right - he is now a father with his own family. For some reason, this hits home harder than my own birthday - 58 two days ago. It does shock me a little to think I am pushing 60 but I don't feel older. When my son walks in with his baby in his arms, it is then that I really feel my age.

Children may make us feel older but, truth be known, they also help us feel younger. Popular music is the proof of the pudding here. I have great affection for the songs I used to love when I was young. 'Get back' by the Beatles, 'Brown Sugar' by the Rolling Stones, 'Dock of the Bay' by Otis Redding, always take me right back to my teens. They literally keep me in touch with my youth. Photographs are powerful and yet I always feel like I am looking at somebody else when I see photos of me as a teenager. Only music makes me feel like I am a teenager now.

The gift our children give us is a second youth. I also have a great affection for the tunes (I am told they are not songs anymore...) my son and his friends loved when he was a teenager. I cannot hear Guns & Roses without feeling instantly twenty years younger. I remember the long hair, the seven earrings in each ear (how did he do it!!), the black clothes, the bandannas, and most of all the head banging! I remember one day sitting in my car at a red traffic light, dressed in my management clothes, and suddenly becoming aware that everybody outside was looking at my car. It's only then that I realised it was bouncing with the power of four grown lads head banging to a Guns & Roses tune on the tape player!!! (No MP3s in those days). I was so used to it that I no longer registered the loud music and the movement that went with it. I treasure that memory - it keeps me in touch with my second youth.

As a grandmother, I am actively looking forward to my grandchildren's adolescence. Many people dislike adolescents but I love them. They render us a great service: they ask WHY? We get so used to the way we do things, to the way we see the world, to the way we experience ourselves that their questioning is a precious gift to me. It helps me keep in touch with my own inquisitive mind and curious adventurous spirit. I love foreigners for the same reason; they think us strange and by doing so they turn our notion of normality on its head. Being turned upside down in this way keeps me in touch with my soul, reminding me that it doesn't float ethereally above my head but perspires with me right down to my feet.

Keeping in touch also reminds me that touching is good, and feeling touched is even better. Touch, that most marvelous of senses, that healing vehicle for love and affection, that humble vibration that makes us feel alive.

Do I want to keep it? You bet :0)

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