Live with Time; don’t watch it pass by

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I learned last night that I lost a friend, another friend, a dear friend, a man larger than life with a personality and conviction for truth unparalleled among my friends.

We do not control Time.

It treats us like the peons we are. We can either sit by and watch as it parades or we can swim in it, march with it, dance through it – because it does not stop.

People – friends, colleagues, acquaintances – ask me why I’m traveling so much and doing so much and living so much: visiting two or three countries and several states a year, attending tennis tournaments and concerts, seeing “Hamilton” twice and finding my way to big events such as inaugurals and small ones like PeeWee football games 1,200 miles away from my home.

As I’ve struggled this year with the loss of my mother and surgery that put me on my a– for weeks, I did hear friends tell me to slow down, take my time. But you can’t take Time. It is controlled by no one, save God.

I can occasionally operate at 33 and a third rather than 78. (Google records to understand that). But I don’t have to stop the adventures. I will still rip and run all I want. I plan to live every single day with gusto, frivolity and, occasionally, foolishness.

Why?

Because each sunrise is a revelation. Each day is a gift. Don’t spend your life planning to live. Live!

I lost a friend and didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. I plan to frolic in Time, play with it, laugh with it. Every day.

Because each day is what we have. Each time. And Time is not waiting for you – or me.

Rochelle Riley is a columnist at the Detroit Free Press. Read her columns at www.freep.com/rochelleriley. Read her personal reflections here, where she pursues life, liberty and whatever the hell else she wants. Follow her on Twitter @rochelleriley.

Use Lenten Season to become a good memory

1962651_10152085125563381_1856722289_nNo matter what church I’ve attended for worship – AME Zion, United Methodist, Baptist, United Church of Christ, we have always commemorated the Season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and is a time of penance, reflection and fasting to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

That resurrection is the door He left open for our redemption. It represents the moment that even the greatest nonbeliever understood who He was and whose He was.

But fasting doesn’t always mean from food. Many of the Christians fast rom something for 40 days, a sacrifice that helps them be faithful to the season and to count down to redemption.

I’ve given up something every year.  This year is no different.

Except that I’m sharing my time of sacrifice with a friend.

This year, my dear friend, Melia and I chose each other’s sacrifice. I shall not reveal hers, but she chose for me something that means I will have more time and money to devote to worthier causes than myself: No movies for 40 days and nights.

kinopoisk.ruThat’s right – no matinees, no $8 popcorns, no films.

That means I won’t see The 300: “Rise of an Empire” until after it’s been in theaters for weeks.  I predicted the success of “The 300,” a brilliant re-imagined account of the Battle of Thermopylae, when King Leonidas led 300 Spartans  into battle against Xerses, a magically powerful Persian who led a 300,000 man army.  The film earned more than $450 million at the box office. Its sequel, while just as flawed and just as historically accurate, will be just as good, I think.

I also won’t see “Veronica Mars,” the film I’ve been waiting for for almost seven years. It’s based on a CW TV show that I LOVED, and I was thrilled by the Kickstarter campaign to fund its filming.

MV5BMTQ4MDc0Mjg4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk3NjYyMTE@._V1_SX214_I am one of those people who sees movies on opening day, on Friday nights, before the social network has anointed or killed them. I go to premieres as often as I can to see movies before they’re tainted by opinions I don’t trust. Continue Reading

End of financial fast is beginning
of different economic living

So what happened to the end of the 21-day financial fast, you wonder?

I completed it. But more important, I paid attention to the things I learned on it.

I paid off my car (and am about to pay off one of the only two credit cards I have).

I do not buy anything major now without giving myself a week to think about it.

And I’m cleaning up my house and life, getting rid of all the crap and not replacing it with things I don’t need.

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.09.35 PMWhen I began Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary’s 21-Day Financial Fast, I figured I’d save a few bucks, learn a few things and go back to business as usual.

I saved a lot. I learned more about myself than my money. And things will never be the same.

Example? I went to have my annual teeth cleaning. I’m a big baby at the dentist’s office. The hygienist said “You want nitrous (the wonderful gas, nitrous oxide that makes you not care that she’s in your mouth)? Rather than immediately say “Yes!”, I asked “How much?”

It was $40. I said no.

What?!

I needed a new wallet. I went shopping in my closet. I found one with the tag still on, and I have had great compliments on the style and color. I don’t even remember buying it.

My next task is to clean the garage, so I can take the stuff I have in storage and put it in the garage. That stuff has been there since April 2012 because I didn’t have time to deal with it. When I realized that the money I’d spent holding onto it would have paid for a trip to Paris, I got motivated.

checkbookSo I want to thank Michelle and the fast. And she’ll be happy to know that, unlike some people who might not have wanted people to know what they were doing, I talked to everybody. The best encouragement I got was a gift from a dear friend, who knew that I would be experiencing several special occasions occurring during the fast, including my birthday. She gave me a checkbook whose checks were actually dollar bills.

“Snack on these and stick to your fast,” she told me. Continue Reading

Financial Fast: You can save money –
even on special events – if you try

DAY FOUR _ Today is where the rubber meets the road on this financial fast.

The North American International Auto Show has opened at Cobo Center downtown. More than 5,000 journalists have registered (a third of them from other climes around the world) representing 60 countries and 39 states.

More than 13,000 tickets have been sold to the big Charity Gala tomorrow night, where the glitz and glamour is out of control. It is a showcase event. It is one of the highlights of the social, fashion and auto season.

And this fast will not allow me to buy a new gown.

WXYZ news anchors Carolyn Clifford and Stephen Clark with former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at the 2013 show
WXYZ news anchors Carolyn Clifford and Stephen Clark with former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at the 2013 show

At first I was frustrated, but then I remembered the point of this fast, which is to change the way I view my world, to be about giving and focusing on others rather than getting and just focusing on me. It would be different if I had nothing But I have so much. And anything that reminds me of the blessings that exist is a good thing.

So I went into my newly organized closet, which is still full of clothes and found two outfits immediately.

It took 10 minutes.

The shoes are there. The makeup is in the bathroom.

I do not have to spend money.

Now I’m having my coffee and fruit and making tuna fish salad for lunch. I can see myself not spending a cent through the rest of this day.

This is amazing.

Facebook photo offers glimpse at a previous life

1521895_10201850275711718_677645523_nThe photo showed up in a Facebook post, like a squirrel unexpectedly popping out of a tree. It was a simple picture of a beautiful living room with a newly decorated Christmas tree. But it was more than that for me.

I once resided in that room, in that home, in that space. It is where my daughter and I lived when we first moved to Michigan.

A friend now lives in there and showers it with love. But in that simple photo, I could still see my family having Thanksgiving dinners and Golden Globe parties and fireworks-watching from the living room window.

I could still see my daughter chasing our dog, Lucy, through the large living room, dining room and kitchen, part of a home that still stands nearly 100 years after it was built.

I relived my daughter and me arriving home to a foyer of fluff that we followed to the living room where our dog, Lucy, who had obviously gotten bored, had chewed out the side of the sectional sofa.

I miss that room and that home like I do every home we’ve shared that has beautiful memories of every day moments, from baking cookies to doing homework.

I miss that space. I miss my daughter being 11 years old in it.

I miss watching her play with Lucy in the vacant lot that used to be next door, knowing she was safe and the doorman could get to her sooner than I could.

I miss her hamster experiment. She bred three generations of pets to study what traits were passed down from one to another to another. I told her that, in her room, they were hamsters. In my room, they were mice – and in danger.

I miss so much about that space. But I am so happy that my friend and the enormous love she shares with everyone every day are there now.

And from now on, my friend’s memories and mine will dance through the rooms and chase each other all around, mingling with memories from other residents through the years, decades of love getting to know each other.

Until the next memories come.

TIGERS! A win when it was needed

Detroit TigersWe were in the car, miles from Oakland’s O.co Coliseum, when the Detroit Tigers scored. Until that point, all our conversations had been about the winery we visited – and Kwame Kilpatrick, or the great meal we had – and Kwame Kilpatrick, or how fantastic the spa was we visited – and Kwame Kilpatrick.

If I had learned anything over eight years, it was that the Kilpatrick scandal was global and inescapable — no matter where I went or what I did.

Five years ago in Amsterdam, some friends and I stopped for coffee at a little bistro around the corner from Dam Square. The proprietor asked where we were from, and our answer of Detroit elicited question after question about “Your mayor!”

Five years later, we were rushing to Napa Valley for a fun day. But what we were really doing was waiting to find out whether Kilpatrick, whose fall from grace had been meticulously documented, was really going to go to prison for 28 years.

We talked sports and wine and current events and food and music and men, but in between subjects, we kept returning to Kilpatrick and his family and Detroit.

When the verdict finally came, there was a moment of silence. It wasn’t out of honor or mourning or respect. It was just there.

Like we were all talked out.

And then suddenly, we were at it again.  We were talking about what would come next: the sentencing of Kilpatrick’s best friend, Bobby Ferguson, the continuing investigations into county corruption and possible illegalities surrounding the city pension fund.

But then the Tigers scored again. And we got to the coliseum, and suddenly, we had had enough of crime. Standing in a sea of green and yellow, we stood and quietly celebrated our team.

We kept our coats closed over our Tiger shirts. We’re no fools. But the fans knew we were there, kept watching when it was over, no one said anything. No one shouted any denigrating remarks about Detroit.

It was as if the crowd knew what we knew. We needed that victory We needed a good thing. We needed some good news on a day when things were so heartbreaking back in Detroit. Continue Reading