May 29, 2007
Okay, so I had a birthday. If you are a regular occupant of the Internet, which I assume you are or you wouldn’t be reading this, you’d realize I’m getting pretty old. Not yet 70, but pushing it pretty hard.
I can tell you that at this point life is experienced as whizzing chunks of time – a projected future that keeps coming at you and then disappearing. You spend a lot of time dwelling in places and time zones in which you used to be. The past, I mean. Other voices, other rooms, another place and time. And sometimes it's instructive.
Then again, you anticipate what's coming next. I decided to give myself a party on the weekend before the birthday. This would make it not quite a birthday party, and the less said about age the better. This would give me something to do for a rather manic two weeks as I got ready, including cooking, straightening up, getting the right dishes and glassware out, selecting appropriate attire, etc. Now that's over. The guests have come and gone, the food has been consumed, and the dishes washed and put away. It was an excellent party, actually, with little mini-events and minor scenes, a lot of laughs, and the chance to see beloved friends all in the same place. I drank champagne, but with the adrenaline level I never felt it. I have to keep reminding myself why I bother with champagne at all.
Now comes the next chunk of time: planning a vacation in New York beginning a week from Thursday. All of us in the know are aware it's not really a vacation, but a business trip in which I'll explore the underpinnings for my next life-phase, yet it will be a vacation as well. I need to know my way around the residential areas surrounding the city so as to help with my big decision. I need to eliminate certain neighborhoods and concentrate on those that hold the most appeal for me.
You'll hear more about this whizzing chunk as the time draws closer. I will not make any firm decision until after the big Marietta Johnson School Reunion in early October. Planning and preparing for that big party will occupy most of the next timechunk.
Any birthday makes me aware of all those things that have changed within -- and without -- myself. A look in the mirror almost always causes a pang of regret and grief for a loss of something I didn't even know I had. But I also know that, as the chunks of time whiz by with greater alacrity, almost all the old feelings are still under the surface, that inner child and former nymphet are ready to appear in the older, wiser and flabbier person's body.
Sometimes I forget what's in the mirror and react as the adolescent. In spite of the wisdom of the years, I drop everything I've learned and succumb to the call of my former, reckless and carefree self. I make a decision to change my whole life once again.
When you get to be my age, if you're lucky, you may learn a lesson that transcends the reflection from the mirror and the preoccupation with things you cannot change.