I’m blank this week on what to write.
Not the kind of blank that arises from nothing happening, but with so much happening its almost impossible to pick a defining thread from the mosaic of events that are going on right now.
One thing that does stand out is that it’s my birthday today – I’m now 49. The most startling thing about that to me is that I thought that by this age, an age where one is on the brink of becoming a ‘senior’, that I’d know what it was all about.
When I was younger I had this vague idea that when I was older I would know the ‘rules’ and that I’d have life down pat. In other words I’d be a grown up. So what’s happened? Well I still have the feeling of being a 20-something in my head, but when I look in the mirror I see someone who’s starting to look more like my mother by the day. Shit! Who is that person in the mirror? She actually looks like she knows what’s going on. Truth is she’s as clueless as the rest of us.
The only thing I’ve learned about being ‘grown up’ is that everyone is scared and everyone’s just making it up as they go along.
There’s a passage in the book The Women’s Room where one of the characters describes it thus:
When you’re a kid you know its ok because your parents know everything and will take control;
When you’re older its ok because your boss will know everything and take control.
Older still, the President (its an American book) will know everything and take control.
And then one day you wake up and realise you’re the President.
I had the romantic notion of spending my decaying years growing old disgracefully. I now realise that there will be no set-off point for that direction, its just a continuation of the trajectory I’ve been on all my life.
When my parents were my age, they were preparing mostly to sink into old age. They weren’t starting new hobbies, cavorting on a stage or getting a fresh direction in their careers. I realise now that if they had been then they would have been different people, still aware of life’s zest and joy and not victims of the quiet despair that surfaced from time to time.
One year older.
One year wiser? Maybe.
Enjoying the ride? Definitely!