No Time to Be Young.

When I first sat down to write this post, the world had just been stunned by the mass murder of schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas. I was still personally reeling from the shooting in a Buffalo supermarket, a horror scene that happened a mere hour from where I grew up. Since that time, there have been more mass shootings—at a nightclub in Chattanooga, a busy downtown section of Philadelphia, a graduation party in South Carolina—wait, am I missing one?

The good old U.S. of A. has seen 246 mass shootings so far in 2022. And it isn’t even the Fourth of July.

We may still have time

we might still get by

Every time I think about it, I want to cry

With the bombs and the devils

and the kids keep coming

Nowhere to breathe easy. . . no time to be young

Ann & Nancy Wilson

The truth is, I’m starting to feel numb about it, and I hate that. As much as it hurts to learn of yet another senseless slaughtering of innocent lives, I don’t want it to become normalized. I don’t want to dismiss it as just another headline and then scroll down my news feed to see who wore what at the MTV Movie and TV Awards or what adorable thing the British royal grandchildren did this weekend or 12 fun cocktails to usher in summer. It feels wrong and entitled to look the other way, and is it even safe to do so, when it very well might be you or me that is gunned down next at the grocery store?

The stress takes a toll on all of us. For me, stress has stalled my creativity, almost as if my brain is stuck on idle. I feel like my every attempt to move is just revving the engine but going nowhere. Ask my husband how many times in the past couple of weeks I’ve texted him at the day’s end, asking him to pick up takeout on his way home from work.

This is not normal because—c’mon, say it with me— nothing is normal anymore.

It isn’t that I’m not trying, or that I don’t have time to make food for us. It’s more that I’m distracted and frantic inside, and my creative efforts in the kitchen have been equal to those of an artist who randomly flings paint every which way in hope that a beautiful portrait will appear. Without focus, the outcomes of my experiments have been, well, “meh.”

Studies show that when people are under heavy stress, they gravitate toward the familiar rather than the new. We need comfort and soothing in times like these, and at mealtime that might mean grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, baked beans or ice cream. I have made all of the above recently and I look forward to sharing some of them with you, as soon as I figure out how to calm the hell down. The yearning for familiarity has also brought to mind favorite music from my younger years, and one song in particular has been on auto-repeat in my subconscious.

“Crazy on You,” by Heart, is a classic rock standard, and though it is mostly a raucous love song that has endured for its from-the-gut vocals and that astonishing acoustic guitar intro, there is one lyric that stands out most to me—“Nowhere to breathe easy, no time to be young.”

I recently watched a YouTube interview with Ann Wilson, frontwoman of Heart, and she recounted the story of co-writing that song with her sister, Nancy, way back in 1975, when I was the same age as many of the Uvalde shooting victims. It was on the heels of the Vietnam War and amid gas shortages and civil unrest and so many other uncertainties, and it seemed to her that the world was ending.

“It’s very stressful when you’re in your 20s and you don’t see a good future,” Ann said. The only thing that kept her going during that time, she explained, was the fact that she was in love, and could pour all of her energy into her relationship and her music. And so she did.

Please bear with me, dear readers, as I hope to find a way to do that in the kitchen. Soon.


22 thoughts on “No Time to Be Young.

  1. Nick West

    Hey, Terrie. I just wanted to let you know that I read your “No Time to Be Young” piece yesterday and I felt that it was a sobering (and necessary) statement. And I give you a lot of credit for setting aside your “regular” agenda to talk about something that’s important to us all. You should be very proud of both what you said and how you said it. And I think that anyone who knows you can see and appreciate that this kind of enthusiasm, thought and energy manifests itself in other facets of your life, as well. Keep fighting the good fight — both in and out of the kitchen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nick. I was telling Les today that it’s hard for me to compartmentalize the angst, and it’s on my mind even when I’m doing something that should be all-consuming, like cooking or baking. I just can’t separate it. I appreciate your words, and I’m glad to have you in my family! Get ready for some of the “regular” stuff soon. I’m fighting hard to get my focus back and ready to share some fun foods. 🙂

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  2. pegf418

    Thank you Terrie, for such such a sad, gut wrenching, but heartfelt and caring blog about these horrific events that continue to plague our country and how it affects us all.
    We have to continue to stand together and show support. Thanks to your dialogue, it helps to realize that you are not alone. We are here for each other , and praying things will change!
    Peg Fithian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peg! Yes, it’s strange, isn’t it? That we can all be feeling similar things and yet feel so lonely in it. As heavy as my own heart is about this issue, I can’t imagine the anxiety for those with children and grandchildren. We must do better.

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  3. Nancy Thompson

    You spoke for so many of us, Terrie. Thank you for that. I too am numb. Hoping it’ll be different this time, but fearing it won’t. I’m worried about tomorrow, wondering what tragic, unthinkable horror the others will pull off as a distraction from the evening’s hearing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Terrie! I feel it as well. I cried this morning listening to a mother of one of the Uvalde students speak at the hearing this morning. I had started to write a post and then just closed my laptop and turned off the TV and cooked. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It has been a terrible month. I start to watch the news and I turn it off. My sadness is that here I am in my 60s, having stood in protest lines since I was a teenager. 50 years, and here we are with women’s rights to choose, and voting districts defiled, and gun manufacturers funding the NRA and then politicians so that they can make a profit and our children are being murdered to protect these idiots so-called rights.
    I’m sick.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are not alone. Mental stress is our body’s reaction to conditions over which we have no control. I am stressed just reading at what’s happening in the US. It must be worse for you. I hope that change is effected by the Uvalde shooting. It’s hard to think of a worse tragedy than this and if no remedial action is taken … there are no words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting, Sandy. Yes, I hope along with you that change will come after this. But we have seen here in the U.S. that change doesn’t come easy. Nothing changed after a similar shooting of (even younger) children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut almost a decade ago. What kind of country does so little to protect the most innocent and vulnerable? Truly awful. 😦

      (edit: obviously, I should have said Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook was the elementary school. See? Distracted.)

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  7. I am so happy you have spoken out. Here is something that made me even sadder. At the end of Tuesday’s post, I posted Rancho Gordon’s call for reasonable gun control. Usually I get about 100 likes on a new post. I got 25 and not one comment indicating they had read the postscript. Interesting and sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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