Be Honest

I’ve got a question for you – well really, it’s a quote from Satchel Paige:

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”

Peter Chang - self portrait

Peter Chang – self portrait (Photo credit: chaos80129)

My own personal answer is neither firm nor absolute.  Initially, I thought the age I am now.  I am freer, wiser, less frantic, more accepting.  I don’t drive myself crazy believing that a work legacy is anything other than illusory and fleeting.  I have time for friends – old friends that I thought I would never see again and new friends that I never thought I would find at this stage in my life.  I’m smarter – or at least I think I am.  I hold onto things for far less time, and leave the perseverating to people who enjoy it more than I do.  The ghosts from my past don’t jump as high on the bed anymore.  They’ve gotten smaller, or I’ve gotten braver.  I am still ridiculously immature, do silly better than I do serious and have no intention of growing up.  I figure this intractability is ultimately a good thing – it worked for Peter Pan.

I didn’t like being a little kid, though I would give an awful lot to be horseback riding with my dad again.  I did a lot in my twenties – the best parts of it were giving birth to my sons – the rest of the decade was pretty much a disaster.  I definitely looked a lot better then.  I was fallow for most of my thirties, hiding behind my little boys while I nursed some of my open wounds.  But my sister got sick then and the mere thought of those days fills me with dread and fear (and a little nausea).  I can’t go back there, ’cause I need her here.

By the time Andy and I got together, I was closer to my forties.  Andy made me less afraid of  grown-up love.  I inherited a sister and brother-in-law I love deeply and wonderful parents-in-law.   I loved my forties – though my children became teenagers, needing to separate and return, a dance with no rhythm and what felt like no end.  I got sick in my forties.  Still looked pretty damn good – or so I’ve been told.  My dad’s decline was steeper, my mom’s anxiety heightened.  Yes, I was rocking the professional arena – and somehow that has become a footnote.

So I’m here – and I suppose this is where I would want to be – with a few caveats.  I wouldn’t mind losing the chronic pain for a few days, and sometimes wonder what will be in the future if my body is acting like such a renegade now.  There used to be an ad on tv with the tag line – “when I grow up I want to be an old woman”.  It was a good ad – lots of old women dancing around, doing lots of crazy and silly stuff – I imagine myself that way in years to come (hell, I do some of that now).  I’m determined to sparkle.  Life deserves some sequins and a feather boa.  I don’t like the implications – that more is behind me than ahead.  Other than that, I’ll take it, and don’t intend to go quietly into any good night.  I’m too lousy a sleeper.

What about you?

28 thoughts on “Be Honest

  1. Thanks John – I’m an Enbrel injector too, and I have no doubt that things would be a lot worse without it. Most of the time, I just look at this issue as a neighbor I don’t like with whom I share a property line. I have to live with it, but I don’t have to be friends with it. For the most part I do whatever I can not to listen to it when it talks to me. 🙂 Thanks for the support. I’m going to keep on loving this life of mine – and certainly will keep writing. You too!!

  2. Such an interesting question, Mimi, and I don’t really know the answer. I guess, if pressed, I’d say around 35, don’t know why, really, but that’s just the first number that springs to mind when someone asks how old I am. What I *do* know is that I can in no way reconcile my mind to the fact that I’m rapidly approaching the big 5-0. I remember when my mother turned hit the half-century mark, and there’s no way I’m as old as that! 😉 Seriously, with every passing day I’m more convinced that age is just a number. David is 9 years my senior and most days he seems to be my junior by a few. At any rate, I’m totally with ya–life deserves a few sequins and feather boas, and I know you are rockin’ those accessories my friend! 🙂

    • You know those Fancy Nancy books? I would dress up like that in a heartbeat!! True, I worry about the men in white coats coming to take me away (ha ha hee hee, to the funny farm where life is gay – I hope I didn’t date myself further with that one)…If forty is the new thirty, then fifty is the new forty..? May be hooey, but it underscores your point that age is just a number, doesn’t it? 🙂

      • 35 it is – and you don’t look a day older than 34..And no apologies needed about the pain – really. Most days I keep my big girl pants on, and just sneer at it as I would a yucky neighbor. I remembered when I first got sick and the partners in my office needed to know why I was altering my schedule for a little while. At the first partners’ meeting afterwards, I hated the way everyone was looking at me, and said “I do not want to be the firm’s poster child for disability, so just stop it now”. I still feel that way – sometimes it sucks, but in comparison to all the other rolls in the barrel that people experience, I’ll take this one. I’m still up and running (ok, walking quickly) and refuse to befriend this crap or let it define me. I mention it when it’s relevant to a perspective, but other than that, it doesn’t deserve my attention. 🙂

      • David, you’re a great guy and a talented, generous friend. But – there is no way I am going to befriend Endomondo – the evil app that that has brought you more tension and aggravation – and risk of tripping and falling – than any other app I’ve never met. 🙂

  3. I will be honest. Having known you through this virtual world, you are a start in my eyes, a sparkling one!! I am inspired when I read what you have been through and still loving life…I simply love that in you. When I write a post, a teeny thought passes my mind – what would be Mimi’s thought on this? 🙂

    • Ok, you got me…I’m in tears. I can only respond with a huge thank you and an expression of disbelief. I look forward to your posts every day, marvel at what you think and how you express those thoughts. You are like a fresh breeze. That I have had such a positive effect on you is so gratifying and so, so humbling. We’re all just living our lives as best we can, making good choices and really crappy ones too sometimes. Believe me, you shine brightly. And those my dear ‘understood genius’ – are my honest thoughts. Many many many thanks…hugs, m

  4. What age am I? Tough question as I try not to think much about it and just live each day that I am brought into. There certainly are days I feel younger and the opposite. I am sorry about your chronic pain, it does cast a nasty shadow on a beautiful day, but you seem to love life in spite of it which adds to your inner beauty.

    I too like to dance and have been known to have a boa as a partner, life is a hoot!

  5. I FEEL about 28! I don’t look it, but I certainly feel it. I refuse to grow up. And I’m one of the few people that if I had the opportunity to snap my fingers and be a kid again, I probably would. It’s not that I don’t love what I have, it’s that I love the game of life and the older I get, it’s harder; more pain, more fatigue, more caution . . . I still think that life is backwards!

  6. I’m not sure how old I would be, but for me, life didn’t really begin until you came into it, so somewhere between my late 30’s and my 50’s. I would never wear a boa, otherwise people would unnecessarily question a few things about me. I would however love to have you on my arm for the next 50 years.

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