Answering the Questions

I'm thinking about how some of the questions you ask in your youth can reappear later on...

In the suburbs, we question…

So my husband and I were talking as we were drifting off to sleep, as we often do.  He said something about how odd it was that all the big questions we had as our younger selves, well, they’d all been answered.  He said it with a hint of sentiment, like maybe there were no big questions left.  You know the big questions of your story: Who will I marry?  Who will my children be?  What will my career look like?  Where will I live?  Who will my friends be?  and the biggest big one… Who am I?  So I got to thinking, I’m only 45.  I can’t have answered all my questions yet.  Or have I?

Maybe in your twenties, like me, you dreamily thought about who it was that you would marry.  Husband, wife, partner, lover:  Who would it be?  And when that question was answered, and the flowers faded and the music in your head stopped playing…20 years later…were they really the one?  Some of us answered yes and are still enjoying a growing and evolving partnership (because as we all know, it changes).  And others of us found out that the glass slipper was actually the wrong size.  But I think in relationships; whether spouse or partner, new or old, we still have to ask ourselves some questions.  Am I the partner I want to be?  How can we work together when times change?  How can I be the best partner I can be?  What goals do we both have?  What can we both do to get it right?  The questions aren’t the same.  Hell, they’re not as sexy as they once were either.  But they remain, even though firm thighs, uncolored hair, smooth skin and pain-free days may not.

Ah, then those dreams of your children.  They laughed, blond and blue eyed, one boy and one girl, adequately spaced apart with no allergies or faults or ugliness of any kind, as they ran through a field of wildflowers.   They were virtually perfect, innocent, without a whisper of sarcasm or dissent.  They had no need for technology of any kind and their thoughts were purely aspirational and altruistic.  In fact, you armchair parented on many an occasion, judging the parent with the screaming child and the unruly hair.  Your parenting would be so good, so fucking exemplary, that your children would be well rounded individuals with perfect SAT’s who never talked back, never rejected foods you prepared, hurt another person’s feelings or had bad breath.

Then your children came.  And your questions were answered.  Mostly.  But, as with marriage,  the questions continue.  Who is my child?   What kind of person does my child want to be?  How can I get out of the way and help him/her get there?  and the last question…I’m not even shitting you…Who will my grandchildren be?  Zowie!  

In your twenties, did you make assumptions about your career and where you would be now?  Like, I was “never” going to go part time to raise my kids.  Not to mention (heaven forbid) switching careers after investing 10’s of thousands of dollars on an education.  (For our kids, it will be 100’s of thousands.  Just sayin’.)  I am fortunate to have a job that I still find rewarding even after close to 25 years of practicing.  I am one of the few.  Some of us keep reinventing ourselves in a different direction over and over again.  Some of us keep getting beaten down by the same asshole boss in the same shit-eating company and yet we stay put.  Some of us are climbing the ladder, grabbing the brass ring and pulling in some major coin.  Others, content to be in the non-profit world, give of ourselves in lieu of a hefty paycheck.  Whatever your career has brought you, it is no doubt different from what you had in mind while you were drinking a beer bong and making out with that guy, what was his name again?  The questions are different now.  What is my career and what is my calling?  What feeds my soul vs. what feeds my family?  What is my vocation and when is my vacation?  You may just find you have a choice after all.

Who your friends were and where you lived in your twenties may be very different than today.  And then again, they may not.  For me, I got the itch for the west coast after a couple conferences I attended made me yearn for mountains and a more laid back lifestyle.  I thought I’d come here to live for maybe a few years, then go back home.  Turns out, this is home.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we were fortunate enough to spend it with some great friends.  Did I miss my family: my new niece, my hilarious older sister, my precious mom, my insightful younger sister?  Yes, of course I did.  I thought of them all day.  But I also embrace the family I have made, the connections that deepen every day and the choices which brought me here.  Our house, built in 1950, has a litany of idiosyncracies, too.  Creaky floors.  Lots of knotty pine.  Low ceilings.  A dripping roof.  In spite of it all, it holds inside the sturdiest of beams, the firmest of foundations and the truest of hearts.  Is there another place which is better for us now?  Who is our community?  Can we afford to stay?  Home is where you make it.

Lastly,  the question of who you are.  More often than it should, we ask ourselves who we think we are.  Really, the answer changes constantly, that is, if you keep moving.  Who you are today is not who you were a year ago or who you will be a year from now.  And that’s how it should be. To feel alive, it seems to me, there are more questions than there are answers.  Then living is the answering.

I'll never stop asking "Who am I?"  The answers are endless...

I’ll never stop asking “Who am I?” The answer never ends.

What questions are you answering?

Thanks as always to Barbara Paulsen, from whom all beautiful photos emerge.

I confess. I didn’t work out today.

I'm thinking about exercise, guilt and time.

I’m thinking about exercise, guilt and time.

I didn’t go to the gym today.  My gym shoes lie dormant in the shoe closet, festering in dark silence.  My yoga mat sits neatly rolled up in the corner.  The pad of my index finger did not sit on a screen to check me into the gym.  My dog did not pant gratefully, then flop onto the cool tile after a run.  My speedy green road bike hangs on it’s hook, its odometer stuck on the same number from my last ride a few days ago.  Still and peaceful in my drawer, my heart rate monitor awaits it’s next challenge.  But my brain?  Ah, my brain.  That’s been going a thousand miles an hour.

The clock now reads 7:47 pm, and I am still thinking about where I could have squeezed in a workout.  (Okay, dammit!  Not “thinking.”  Obsessing.)  In the 45 minutes I had before I picked up the kids?  Could I have gotten up early?  I should have gotten up early.  The mental space taken up negotiating, fact checking, brow beating and ass kicking has been a workout in and of itself.  I mean, seriously.  What a waste of time.

Now, I grew up Catholic and my husband is Jewish so we are no strangers to guilt around here.  But my fellow suburbanites also carry around a fair bit of guilt themselves.  They work too much.  They don’t exercise enough.  They don’t make enough money.  They should be more crafty, more creative.  More interesting.  Less critical.  More kind.  More productive.   They should take more classes, go back to work.  (I swear to you all overheard in one happy hour).  There are multiple structures in your brain which are responsible for how you perceive and process guilt.  What motivates one person is different than what motivates another, but we are all profoundly and universally influenced by community.  This means that if your friends and community didn’t exercise, it would be a hell of a lot easier to hit the snooze button rather than get up and go to the gym.  Conversely, this is often why groups like Crossfit and for me, my yoga community, are intrinsic motivators.  You think about who you will see and who will miss you if you don’t show up.

In suburbia, if you see other people making good money, working out/looking fit, having good marriages and managing their time wisely, you want to do it too.  It’s a testament to my social network and neighborhood that there are some pretty hot 40 somethings (with great lives to boot).  So that’s probably why I feel bad when I miss a workout.

Personal blame, like when you are a lazy ass and don’t work out and beat yourself up for it, is mitigated in the subgenual cingulate cortex by the limbic (primitive and emotional) region of the brain.  These layers of emotion, blame and guilt make for some very busy collaborations.  It also makes sense to me, given all the stuff your cranium is processing, that you would be exhausted.  At this point, you should do yourself a favor.  You should, as my grandma used to say, shit or get off the pot.  For me, I should either not work out and chalk it up as a rest day or I should just go work out and be done with it.  Today, I am choosing to call it a night.   And I’ll tell you why.

First of all, it was a great day.  Beginning with a fun field trip with my 8 year old daughter, followed by getting some errands done, doing some writing, talking with a friend and ending with some real magic, it’s okay that my day didn’t include breaking a sweat.  Also, rest days help the following day to be stronger and better.  Maybe it will help that nagging knee pain I’ve been experiencing.  Maybe I’ll tackle an 8 or 10 miler tomorrow with my pup.  And you know what else?  There is SO MUCH more time in the day when you don’t work out!   I got my paperwork organized for work tomorrow, got my daughter to swim lessons on time, grudgingly mailed the taxes my hubby thoughtfully prepared, wrote a note to my sister-in-law and did some yard work.

As for the magic, the picture below was a rainbow we saw right out my front window tonight.  We would never have even known it was there if my neighbor hadn’t called to tell us to look out our window.  Thank you, neighbor.

Thank you, community.

No more guilt for me.

Now that's a little suburban magic right there.

Now that’s a little suburban magic right there.

Thanks again to Barbara Paulsen for the image at the top of this post.   She continues to inspire me with her creativity.

A Suburban Soliloquy

School should be a safe place to learn and grow.

School should be a safe place to learn and grow.  Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood Mama photos.

I feel so lucky that my kids had runny noses, that they almost forgot their lunches and whined about the weather.  There are 20 families in Connecticut this morning that didn’t get so lucky.  Two of them had funerals instead.  Today I was fortunate enough to have the day off and go to my favorite yoga class.  As tears and sweat mingled in salty reverie, I was inspired to write even though most of my weekend was spent in a state of autopilot, despair and hibernation.

Like so many of you, I watched the coverage of the shootings with disbelief.  And like many of you, I resisted the urge to run to the school to pick up my kids.  Dropping off my kids at school today, I felt more than fear.  I felt dread.  You see, dread is what you feel when something happens suddenly without warning and when that same thing is something you have absolutely no control over.  Our brains tend to overestimate danger from such causes (think plane crashes, mass murderers etc.)  The threat is bigger than our comprehension, so our fears multiply.  Breathe, friends.  It’s rare.

And then I am reminded of my recent brush with guns and am suddenly aware of how close to home this type of tragedy can be.  When we feel out of control, we want to fix the problem, rage against the NRA and demand better mental health care for our citizens.  I hear you.  But can we slow down?  Can we let these families grieve first?  Can we first just be uncomfortable?  It doesn’t feel good to be uncomfortable, but sometimes it’s necessary.

There are other things I can do to help my community.  Nothing radical, nothing controversial.  They might include:

  • do some bell ringing for the Salvation Army.
  • hug a kid with Asperger’s (asking permission first of course, they tend not to like it.  On second thought, play a computer game with them)
  • adopt a family for Christmas.
  • put one of the toys you bought for your kid in a donation box.
  • pray, breathe, dedicate, devote, sing, offer, create
  • make a gingerbread house with your kid
  • write a note to someone you love
  • etc etc etc…………..

This kind of loving energy is as essential as air to all of us as we go about the business of preparing for the holidays, all the while knowing that other families are not as privileged.  While I am dedicating these small actions to the families who have survived immeasurable loss, I am not wishing them “comfort”.  I am wishing them the time to reflect and grieve, space from nosy reporters, the ability to treat themselves to loving kindness, a hope that one day the holidays won’t be synonymous with sadness and the strength to be there for the living.

But mostly I wish them a purpose, a divine strength that guides them into action.  Not now, one day, when agony gives way to ache, may they have the will to tell a story.  One whose ending is not yet written.

In the meantime, the suburbs witnessed an evil act.  But the suburbs are not the problem.  We, in fact, are the solution.

What will you do?

“Terror in the Suburbs!” OR “Letting Go of Control”

My pumpkin patch, or apparently the place to leave discarded weaponry

On the way up my driveway last Monday, I was checking my pumpkin patch.  My daughter’s pumpkin was ready and I was admiring it as I halfheartedly looked forward to the chaos of Halloween.  I had just dropped the kids off at school, and I was turning over writing ideas.  Then, I caught sight of something metallic and shiny.  As I approached, my brain tried to make sense of what I was seeing.  It was a gun.  And, although I didn’t know it at the time,  it was loaded.

I ran inside to tell my husband, my heart racing and my mind attempting to formulate some sort of explanation.  He walked outside with me.  While I yelled at him not to touch it, he gently used a pumpkin leaf to check it’s weight.  Apparently this is what you do when it is a couple days before Halloween and you are unsure if the supposed gun is real or a toy.  It wasn’t a toy.  So,  I called the police.  I stood in the window watching it.  As if it might get up on it’s own and commit a crime.  Or in case someone walked into my yard.  I was prepared to yell “Gun! Gun!” to anyone who entered.

The police showed up like 10 minutes after I called.  Seriously fast.  Get this, one officer picked it up with his bare hand.  Hasn’t this guy ever seen CSI?  Doesn’t he know about fingerprints?  DNA for fucksake?  He made a couple jokes to try and make light of the situation, given that I was in my pajamas, my husband was ready to go for a bike ride and the four of us were looking at an instrument of death.   We made guesses as  to how it got there.  They checked the barrel.  One bullet missing, but otherwise loaded.  No safety.  They took down my name.  They told me it was  a 32 magnum (which I had to google). With a shrug and a “well that’s one less gun out there,” they left.

As much as I tried to get on with my day, and then my week, as much as I rationalized, I was left with one agonizing and recurring thought.  What if my kids had found that instead of me?  They were out there playing the day before with friends.  I played a tape in my head that ran all week of a child pulling a trigger.  Nothing could be so scary.  Not the fact that my family was staring down a major storm.  Not that my husband’s mom is in hospice and we are left to watch a strong spirit wither away.  Not an election that seems to have no end.  No, nothing is as scary as a cold, icy gun in the hand of a child.  Nothing.

For those of you who have experience with guns, this may all seem a bit over the top to you.  After all, you may be used to the power of a bullet propelling itself out of a metal barrel.  But I am not.  I remember all the movies I have seen and all the headlines I have read and I am terrified.  I can’t get myself out of the running tape.  That night, I confess to my husband that I am scared.  We decide, for now, not to tell the kids.  What kind of damage had that gun already done?  Obviously someone wanted to get rid of it.  Then, suddenly, I felt ashamed.  Like I had done something wrong or that this was a reflection of the downward spiral of my neighborhood.  I don’t want anyone to know.  I wish I could take back the friends I have told, I panic.

So, I call the police department.  I want to know what happened to the gun.  What it was used for? And what has happened to it?  If you have ever called the police department,  you already know what a head-banging experience in frustration this is.  There are multiple numbers on the website and I got directed to another two.  At last, there is a nice person who knows a thing or two and she helps me stay calm.  As my de-facto therapist, she explains that I don’t need to feel ashamed and that I have done nothing wrong.  She said I was the “victim” here.   And then it hits me.  That’s exactly how I feel, that I have been violated.  There was a person or persons who saw so little value in my life or the lives of my children (we very clearly have children based on how our home is decorated for Halloween) that they tossed a loaded gun onto my property.  There you have it.

My friend Tami soothes my nerves as well by telling me that the reason others may be uncomfortable with the situation is because they worry it could happen to them.  I remember comforting myself with iterations of  that neighborhood or those people when something happens that is scary or unforeseen.  It can even happen with things like divorce or job loss.  We tell ourselves it won’t happen to us for whatever reason.  But as the officer told me, people do desperate things.  I sigh.  I want to be in control, I want to be able to protect my children.  In my mind, I don’t call the police.  I keep the gun in my bedside table and feel it’s cold comfort in my hand as I aim it in the direction of those who would hurt my family.

But wait.

That’s not me!  I remind myself of who I am and who my neighbors are.  We are all really just doing the best we can.  So I will continue to do the things within my control while I giving myself some room to breathe when they are not.  And often, so often, they are not.    My pumpkin patch and my yard have given me much joy, and facing the truth always feel better than hiding.  Suburbs, we are all in this together.

 George Harris sticks carnations in gun barrels during an antiwar demonstration at the Pentagon in 1967.

Photo by Bernie Boston of the Washington Evening Star.  George Harris was sticking flowers in gun barrels at an anti-war demonstration at the Pentagon in 1967.  Guns freak me out too, George.  But I sure as hell wouldn’t choose to get that close to one.

Happy Birthday to Suburbo-types! And me!

We’re all in this together.

Okay it’s not my birthday until mid-November, but this week marks a year since suburbo-types was up and running.   (Suburbo-types is only 1, but as my daughter pointed out, I am going to be 44, not 43 as my brain had originally thought.  Nice.)  It’s a natural time to think about this project, what I’ve learned and where it’s heading.  Originally, suburbo-types was meant as a platform for my understanding of the truth of our relationships in suburbia, how and why we stereotype each other and to gain a fuller understanding of my fellow suburbanites.  Alas, a year later, I have no solid answers, but the questions are evolving.  And the truth as to why I began is starting to make more sense to my often hard-headed skull.

It’s a biologically human and rational inclination to desire contact and connection with others.  In the months before I began the blog, my best friend Tracy moved away and I found myself wanting to get to know people more.  Tracy was my lifeline as we raised our babies together (our kids are the same ages). We talked on the phone sometimes 3 times a day.  My baby projectile barfed! Her baby sprout a tooth!  I’m worried, I’m scared, I feel incompetent, I’m lonely!  I was able to say whatever I wanted and I knew she understood.   It is an intense time for all new moms, but it was made easier by Tracy who juggled making me laugh, listening to my incessant chatter and hearing every word I uttered without judgment.   She is still there for me, but she lives 2 hours away, works and has a life of her own.  So do I.  But when she left, I wondered how I would ever feel as connected again.  Not to mention the pain of living so far away from my family, especially my new niece.

Shameless promotion of adorable new niece.

In the wake of going back to work part-time, raising young children and navigating the suburban landscape, I found myself being incredibly judgmental and critical of my suburb-dwelling peers.  I was constantly sizing people up, and in the end, I was really only judging myself.  I realize I was making other people seem scarier than they were to protect myself from, what, getting attached and having THEM move away too?  Maybe it was easier to keep everyone at arm’s distance.  But as I came out of my shell,  and as I met new friends and let myself (and them) off the hook a little more,  I came to see that all of us hide a little and we certainly protect ourselves.  Maybe we criticize others for how they parent, how they dress or what they say.  I am guilty of doing these things too, but I am willing to let go of it bit by bit to make the suburbs feel less strip-mall and more Main street.  In Dave Goetz’s book Death by Suburb:Keeping the Suburbs from Killing your Soul, he states that cultivating deep friendships (note: not the get your mail for you, wave from your car-kind), those that bring deep joy and satisfaction, is the antidote for social climbing,  people pleasing, ass-kissing and perpetuating your mask.  I know, deep, right?!

In the compelling book Incognito by neuroscientist David Engleman,  he lays out a complex interplay between two parts of your brain.  The first, the prefrontal cortex,  does it’s best work by stretegizing and analyzing.  It plans and thinks.  It tells you that you have exactly 24 waking hours on the weekend in which to do laundry, finish that report by Monday, help with homework, make meals, prepare for the coming week etc.  Then, the more primitive limbic system, or emotional control center, begins to feel the freak coming on at about 4 o’clock on Sunday when all that shit has no chance of getting done.  It works the same way when you are building relationships .  The prefrontal cortex examines what you will say or wear, then the limbic system causes you to worry about that joke you told or the red shirt that you wore that may have been just a little too low-cut.  All of us have these two characters battling it out in our heads.  For me,  genuinely connecting to others and putting myself out there makes my inner soldiers a little less likely to get into full-blown war.

The suburbs have always felt a little lonely to me.  They with their picket fences and closed doors.  Unknown neighbors.  Long driveways.  Pruned bushes.  What’s really going on in there?  (okay, not everything: private is private) This writing, although making me incredibly vulnerable and fearful at times, has freed me to explore uncharted waters.  Who is beneath the facade.  Where the truth lies.  All the topics for suburbo-types come from conversations I have had or overhead somehere in the ‘burbs.   And the interviews are attempts to understand there is a lot to know about each of us.  Really, it’s just so we all know that those we surround ourselves with are more than who we see.  Of course, you don’t want to be too vulnerable.  You don’t want to tell someone that you are living a shame-based existence the first time you meet them.  The fact that you slept with the entire football team your sophomore year of high school?  Probably TMI.  You have to have a strong base to hold up the weight of the relationship.  Thanks to you,  I hope is what the community of suburbo-types is starting to do.

So, for the coming year, the blog will be focusing on more interviews, more subjects that maybe we all think about a little bit but don’t talk about very much and just being here for a safe 5 minute read during your busy lives.  Please let me know what you’d like to see, any polite criticism (I am human, after all) and insights into your suburban life.  I value your feedback and don’t publish it if requested.

Mt. Hood Mama Photos is responsible for the lovely image at the top of this post.  My sister is responsible for the cute baby photo.  And the cute baby.

Just Don’t Try to Cheer Me Up!

Sometimes in life, you have to step on a crack.

I found myself getting all “rah-rah” with my daughter the other day.  She had a really crumby day at school and, feeling her sadness as acutely as if it were happening to me, I tried to quickly talk her out of it.  I gave her all the lines, you know the ones:  “Look on the bright side!”, “Think about what a great day you had yesterday!”, and the perennial favorite “Turn that frown upside down!”  Yuck.  Even I was repelled by myself.   She finally looked at me with her big spoon-like eyes and said, “Mom, just don’t try to cheer me up.”  Stopping suddenly in my tracks, I realized that I was doing what was best for me, not for her.  I was so uncomfortable with her emotional state, that I tried to shake her out of it. I wasn’t accepting the truth of how she was really feeling, and to her that felt like rejection.  I am noticing it all the time now, like at the coffee shop when  a friend tells another stressed friend to “stay positive” and “don’t let yourself get depressed.”   While well-meaning and heartfelt, maybe what your friend really needs to hear is “that fucking sucks.”

In our brains, we are biased to being an optimist or a pessimist on a structural and chemical level.  You know, you’ve taken the tests of which one you are.  (If not, try this one.)  There is an area of your brain called the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) which lights up on brain scans when thinking optimistic thoughts, while seeming to malfunction in people who had depression.  Funny though, we are all hard wired toward optimism.  Yes, even the teen you see walking to high school every day wearing full black, wrist cuffs, head-down/hood-up and hair dyed orange.  It’s called optimism bias, and it means we tend toward the rosier side when thinking about our own futures even smack in the face of that little thing called reality.  Statistically, people radically overestimate their own odds of getting divorced,  getting fired, having a child who is above average and how long they will live.  So maybe all this super-positive-ness has some neurobiological roots.

In any event, some of us are just cheerier or more gloomy than others.  So be it.  Tending to fall more into the realist category, I am somewhere between an optimist and a pessimist.  More like a “defensive pessimist” as Julie K. Norem of Wellesley College describes us.  We tend to set a lower bar, think about things that might go wrong (note: not obsess) and mount a defense based on our skilled breakdown of what may actually happen.  This can actually help you turn some of that hand-wringing into a plan of action.  Like writing a list of pros and cons.  Or eating a pint of ice cream.  Or writing a blog.

So what to do when someone tries to cheer you up, or when you find yourself being the cheerleader (check out this awesome video of the Onion, and how the FDA has found a drug to cure the “excessively perky”)?  Take a step back and figure out if your counsel is working for you, or for the person you are supposedly trying to help.  I love this quote from writer Augusten Burroughs (who wrote the book “This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More.  For Young and Old Alike” in case you didn’t know he was awesome):

Truthfulness itself is almost medicinal, even when it’s served without advice or insight.  Just hearing true words spoken out loud provides relief.  

And so, remembering how I feel about truth, I just told my daughter, “it sounds like you had a bad day.”  And then made a plan for the next day.  And then we snuggled up and read a book together.  And we both felt better.

photo credit:  Barbara Paulsen

How I Know I am Getting Older

I am on a trip to see my family, visit in-laws and show the kids all my old haunts.  In doing so,  I am realizing all the things that make me realize I am getting older and moving into a new phase of life.  Aging is pretty much unavoidable, so they say.  But does it have to be so sneaky?  Your parents talk about it, you hear it in the media.  Aging is a perverse little ghost, snaking through every day life in some ways which are not readily apparent.  It’s also a blessing, and can be freeing and forgiving.  It allows you the perspective of time.  Anyway, here is my incomplete list.  Feel free to add or comment. 

Ways I know I am getting older:

My hands.  They remind me of how my mother’s hands looked when I was growing up.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, my mother’s hands are comforting and fixed many a skinned knee and wiped many tears

My knees.  As I leaned into a standing forward bend in yoga the other day, I noticed my knees in horror.  They are fucking wrinkly! 

I am still willing to pay lots of money for hair color.  I am not ready to be gray.  Yet.

When I am on the machines at the gym and they prompt me for my age, I actually have to stop and think.  Answering how old I am has ceased being reflexive.

Monkey brain keeps telling me I need to get peels and botox.  When I wake up in the morning, I have papery bags under my eyes and I save tea bags in my refrigerator to place on my them. 

There is a whole industry dedicated to my eyes and making me look younger, it’s called “cosme-ceuticals.”  They are failing.

I have begun telling people that they don’t understand things because they are young or that they will understand when they are older.  When do I get to the point of all-knowing?  When will I be finished learning?

My husband and I are scheming about things we will do when the kids are out of the house. 

I am shocked at the cost of things.  I make comments like, “A loaf of bread cost 99 cents when I was growing up.”  Who gives a shit?

Fatigue is my daily enemy.  My bedtime seems to be getting earlier and earlier.  Pretty soon I’ll be going to bed yesterday.  What the hell!

Friends from college that I haven’t seen in a while-they look older.  I find myself wondering if I look old to them.  (Uh, yes.)

I am starting to gauge the time I have left in my life instead of not thinking about it at all.  For me, those things include places I haven’t been.  Books I haven’t read.  People I haven’t apologized to. 

My body hurts in places it never used to hurt.  That really really sucks.

When I think back of what it was going to be like being (pause) 43, it is not what I expected.  As it turns out, I want more for myself than I thought I would.  I am feeling a little selfish these days.  That feels pretty fucking good.

Wait, am I 42 or 43?  I am pretty sure I am 43.

Sometimes when I am with my husband’s mom, who has cancer, I think about legacy.  I think about how we are all remembered and what we do in our lives to contribute.  That time I ran into traffic in the city at a green light to impress some friends?  Not a legacy moment.  Yesterday at Ellis Island when we looked up relatives in their database and saw their names?  Legacy.

I cried yesterday when we saw Mary Poppins on Broadway.  The mingling of a classic film and songs, today’s production and the sweet memories of my children and my own childhood:  joyous.

Okay, I look really fucking young in my wedding photos.  It wasn’t THAT long ago! 

My body is redistributing in some strange ways.   It is not currently aligned the way it used to be. 

I cringe at some of the things I have done.  Then, miraculously, I let myself off the hook.

Sometimes I daydream what it will be like when it’s just my husband and me and when we will retire.  What will retirement look like?  Will it be in twenty years?  We plan on being very active and healthy.  We also know, from experience, that the ball can drop at anytime.  We try to practice gratitude for what we have right now.

I am so so happy, when I look back on it, that I married the guy I did.  I was pretty fucking stupid in my 20’s, so you know, WHEW.

So I am going to get back to the good stuff.  Family, sunshine and Spring.  Wish me luck in my new phase!