Bucks County Herald

Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox

Showing up for our life

Chatterbox April 14, 2016 talked about the heightened importance a simple mug can take on and how, indeed, the old shaving mugs housed at a man’s personal barber were, often, one of their great possessions.

Today, with technology, we can create all kinds of items which sport a personal memory, such as calendars, mouse pads and, yes, mugs. They make our morning coffee and evening tea a trip down memory lane, but there is something else there, too.

Today there’s an expression with a very old and profound meaning used a lot, “You have to show up for your life.” What does that mean exactly? Well, its basic meaning has nothing to do with wealth or partying; it’s about being where we should be for people, issues, and events. Sure, sometimes that’s a party, but sometimes it’s daily reality, doing hard work, being devoted, or supporting others whether family or friends.

Recently, I was blessed to celebrate a birthday for a great friend. It’s always tough to buy a gift for someone who just downsized and has lots of loved ones gifting her wonderful little things. Still, I felt a small set of coffee mugs that commemorated her many lives would be fun and useful. While searching for the perfect photos, I realized my birthday girl really showed up for her life, making my photo selection really tough.

Today, in America, showing up can be tough. There’s a lot that keeps tossing us back into the political fracas. We don’t always need or want to be there. It affects our behavior and impacts upon our choices, sometimes limiting our ability to enjoy the moments, even of our own life.

Being involved in our government is important, of course, but it’s like quicksand. As involved and responsible as we may want to be as citizens, from local to global, we need to remember that there’s a lot in life that’s important, but not critical to our work or the world. We shouldn’t find ourselves drowning in nightly news or checking our phones when our children blowing out the candles on their birthday cake.

Another Chatterbox column from April 7, 2011, is one I find myself repeatedly going back to.

It was about an intriguing New York Times obituary of a man I didn’t even know. He wasn’t famous; the page space had been purchased by the inch. The obituary was very long and spoke volumes about him as a business man, but nothing of him as a son, husband, father or citizen. It seemed so clear, yet so sad to say, that he didn’t show up for his life; he showed up for his job, his corporation, his life-style, but not his life.

Today, many Americans struggle daily to keep our heads above water. More of us than ever are working more than one job. Many of us don’t get overtime, or have medical benefits, union perks or pensions. It’s hard to be in the moment when that takes us away from the way we pay our bills. Many young people today are finding, and will have to continue to find, more creative and communal ways to survive financially. With all the changes and sacrifices we’ll face, let’s hope it never leaves us without the ability to make our mark on the path we cut in life.

Yesterday, I watched a dear friend have the first several decades of her life be celebrated by the people she shared them with. She showed up for every challenge, every joy, and every loss, both her own and those of the people she loves.

Today, some of my family visited me to enjoy the tradition of Sunday morning Italian meatballs and sweets, which my paternal grandmother and my mother both embraced. My granddaughter, nearly 16, talked to my husband about his health; my heart melted. My grandson, nearly 15, worked on a school project, interviewing me about the tambourine my maternal grandmother brought here from Italy in 1899; another heart-melting moment.

We all have created moments like these and the opportunities to create more come every day, but we must show up and embrace them. If we don’t show up, there will be nothing to put on our mugs and we’ll have our morning coffee like that poor rich guy with the long and oh-so-empty obit.

It’s a great expression about showing up for our life; it puts the entire onus on us … hmm, now there’s an ironic little spelling connection.


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