Friday, July 27, 2007

If Only ...

... computer Internet connection glitches hadn't occurred, the following piece would have been posted sooner. As I am writing how encouraged I now feel with being able to consistently access the Internet, I see the lights on my modem fluttering, losing connection, then connecting again for a short time. Seems my posting and commenting future remains a mystery.

The recent July 12th post about "What if ... If only..." elicited a consensus of thoughts I found to be of interest. I realized that commenters and I have likely already lived over half of our lives. So, we do have some experiences over a lengthy period of time on which to reflect. Thanks to all for offering your thoughts on this topic.

There seems to be universal agreement among us that we all wonder from time to time, "what if?" other choices had been made, or different events had occurred during our lives than what we actually experienced.

There may have been isolated specific events over which we had no control, that we would have preferred never happened, but we have adapted, assumed a learning perspective.

Sometimes we’ve made choices not in our own best interest, but we’ve made an effort to not repeat those same mistakes – no matter how many times we’ve had to keep trying.

Also, what seems to be true is that we don't invest in excessive thoughts of regret over our past life experiences, which I think is healthy.

Generally, we concur that whatever our experiences, they have made us who we are.

No one seemed to conclude that their lives would automatically have been better had other choices or circumstances prevailed. That, too, seems to me like a pretty realistic way to view life.

Our truth is we'll never know "what might have been," but we aren't going to expend our time and energy, or make ourselves unhappy thinking about "what if ... or if only..."

I believe such a positive view is significant, since I would surmise that many our age and older have encountered difficult times, had personal or professional setbacks, or what seemed to be so at the time. We should all be quite proud that despite all we may have endured, we have survived. Just as I drew strength from the knowledge of how my elders had coped with life experiences, perhaps those younger than us may be equally affected by our stories that we share with them.

I am reminded of a Stephen Sondheim song, "I'm Still Here," written for a 1971 Broadway musical "Follies."

This "Follies" production, viewed retrospectively, has been described by New York Times writer Barry Singer as a hallmark of Broadway's musical theatres past glories. The 2001 article, stimulated by a restaged version of the show, notes "Follies" embodies the death of musicals as once known, while at the same time heralding the advent of musicals as we know them today.

He also writes "Yvonne De Carlo, who, in the supporting role of Carlotta Campion, stopped the show nightly by singing "I'm Still Here," a song Mr. Sondheim wrote for her." Here’s a YouTube link to Yvonne De Carlo singing that memorable song at The Hollywood Bowl.

Mr. Singer also writes, "Old age is old age and I'm not going to go in a corner and pout about it," Ms. De Carlo said" by telephone from her California home. "Back then, all I thought about was, `How long am I going to be able to go on like this?' Now, I've lived through a stroke. I can't tap dance anymore. But then again, I never really could. I am, however, definitely still here." She continued to be "still here" until January 8, 2007.

The "I'm Still Here" song lyrics have been reproduced by June Abernathy who has accompanied them with brief comments explaining the colorful names and memorable historical events mentioned in the song. Some of us will make the association immediately with lines such as "Five Dionne babies," "Major Bowes," and "Windsor and Wally's Affair" along with many more.

Shirley MacLaine sang a poignant rendition of “I’m Still Here” in the movie “Postcards From The Edge” (1990) also viewable on YouTube.Other artists’ interpretations may be seen at YouTube.

My favorite version is available on a CD sung on "Elaine Stritch At Liberty" from her one woman stage show.

This famous Broadway entertainer's comedic lead-in line to the song jokingly takes liberties with her age as she entered her sixth decade in show business with voice at full strength at this CDs recording time.

I should acknowledge to having an “If Only…” fantasy. I do wish I could have been in the house on many an opening night during the years some have referred to as The Golden Age of Broadway.

But then, there have been a number of musicals since that time I would have enjoyed as a first nighter also. Seems there is always something to look forward to in life. I hope I never lose that outlook.

6 comments:

  1. I watched Shirley's version - she is fantastic - as usual!

    As for not obsessing about the past, my mom taught me not to "cry over spilled milk" and I try to follow her instructions....LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. millie garfield7/27/2007 8:04 PM

    Thanks for putting up such a great post. It's time for me to put out the lights and go to bed, I'll come back to see more of those videos you put up.

    Watched Shiley, what a terrific entertainer and what legs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wrote a whole long comment and it got lost somehow....
    I am too tired to write it over again right now...BUT, I will come back and redo it! Grrrrr. (lol)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope I never lose that outlook.

    Good words for us all, m'dear.

    Thanks for the link to Yvonne's song. I love her spunk.

    I have to watch myself, because I am prone to thinking "what if" far too often.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope you never lose that outlook, either. Loved your post...

    Being positive and looking forward to life is a most wonderful way to approach life.

    But technical glitches always throw me for a big loop. I can't help but get frustrated and sometimes learning isn't....fun.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another great post!

    Someone wiser that I said that the saddest words in the world are what might have been. There's nothing wrong with looking back and wondering about how one's life would have been different with different choices. If one lets one's past mistakes/choices define their life and hold them back, that's wrong.

    Your take here is wonderful!

    ReplyDelete