The students have all gone home, most of the kitchen workers are off – except for the few that have to perform at a small catering event this evening and the wind is bitter, whipping across the empty campus as if it were announcing the arrival of the grandest winter storm of the century. I want to use the old adage “The calm before the storm,” but I think it’s more than that. I think I will have to wait to see what the wind is saying; in the meantime, my mind is full of words and my fingers are itching to write.
Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep I was thinking that I haven’t been a very good writer these past few months. I started to remember things from my childhood that I need to write about, things that happened when I was young and raising my children, things that are happening to me now and then I couldn’t think of anymore stuff to write about, I chastised myself for not writing. I don’t know if you know this, but in order to be a writer one has to practice writing every day in some way, shape or form. I have done some journaling and a few blogs here and there, but nothing consistent. Anne Lamott says that writers have to force themselves into the habit of writing every day – even on the days when one doesn’t want to write. Kind of like exercise – which she also says everyone needs to do every day. She’s one of my favorite authors – the reason I changed my minor to creative writing and as I thought about those instructions, I started to cry. I’ve failed as a writer and more as a human being.
I’m not doing myself any favors by not writing or not listening to my body. I need to care for each more intently and I know I don’t. As I’ve aged I’ve lost the urgency of how important taking care of what matters to me – my writing and my health. I have no excuses other than I’ve let myself sink into this pit of nonchalance. I suppose I figure I’ve done all this – the healthy lifestyle, the unhealthy lifestyle, the crazy lifestyle, the professional lifestyle, the family lifestyle, the party lifestyle, the ‘I do what I want’ lifestyle…Whoa! I really have run the gambit of lifestyles! I feel like I keep reinventing myself and morphing into what is acceptable and I’ve forgotten to just ‘be’. Now, I don’t know how to be me.
About 50 – I feel like I want to just get it over with. Like, why do I have to wait two years? My 40’s have been more turbulent than my 20s and 30s and I cannot express this enough – those years are a blur to me. I think I lived two lifetimes during those years…maybe because I was living two lives? I don’t know – something I should write about, I think.
So, back to topic, 50.
Living through all these years I have learned so much about myself. I think you are supposed to learn things and I don’t plan on stopping, but I’ve learned so.fucking.much. I think some lessons took too long – mostly because I was so damaged and abused, but eventually, I picked myself up and pushed through the nasty shit. I look back and just sigh now. Sometimes I wonder: What was I thinking????? Mostly, I’m proud of myself for getting myself where I needed to be. So, now – here I am – pushing 50. What happens now? More importantly, why am I not worried about what happens??? I guess because I finally understand the concept of not worrying about things that I can’t change. That lesson took me FOR-EVER to learn. I wish it didn’t, but it did. So, here I go onward and upward.
I know I need to write more…I need to push that envelope and really get myself down in the trenches and pull all of these words out of my head. As Anne Lamott says, write the shitty first drafts. The pieces eventually takes form, the shitty first draft needs to happen first, otherwise the words – the stories – sit in my memory bouncing around like the ball in an old pin ball machine.
Having said that, I need to find a form of exercise that I can manage without becoming discouraged and quitting. I think yoga is the answer, but – there shouldn’t be a ‘but’ – I need to just do it. Ugh, I hate when I already know the answer. My fate as a middle aged woman is that I’m neck deep into menopause and my body is rebelling against me, or rather I’m rebelling against it. Where I was fit and youthful once is now soft and sagging – and old. My emotions run from ‘I don’t give a fuck’ to ‘I’m so happy I could cry’ – crazy lady hormones and a lagging metabolism are the blessings of menopause. Yay ME! My mother’s advice when I asked her how she got through it? “I don’t remember – I just stayed drunk!” Not exactly the plan I had in mind (or the advice), but I think, for the most part, I’ve traveled this road pretty well. I know other ladies of mid age that have completely become unhinged; I think I’ve managed only minor unhingement…not too bad for someone who has suffered from severe depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and co-dependency for most of my life…I’m not on any medications and I’m in healthy, respectful, loving relationships. I care for my soul more than I ever have, so there’s that. I just need to care for my body…listen to the old bones when they snap at me early in the morning and give them the care that they deserve. My body has carried three children and suffered violence that no one should have to suffer – but my body was strong and carried me through to this middle part of my life. I see beauty and peace when I look in the mirror – I’ve traveled a great many miles to not own my journey. I just want to reward my body for all that it has done. I think the least I can do is be kinder to it.