Wednesday, January 19, 2011

i feel old

I'm going to be forty-five soon. I've done a lot of thinking about age lately.
I developed a back problem over a year ago. Over that year I've done things like look at canes online, contemplate the use of the little cart at the grocery store, and choose clothes based on their ability to hide my orthopedic device.
Then one day, the chiropractor told me that I needed more supportive shoes. What? Should I get those weird taupe colored orthopedic shoes? Maybe get some support stockings while I'm at it?

Here are some other things that make me feel old:

~ There are people who were born after I became an adult who are now adults themselves.

~ I have friends who are grandmas.

~ There are doctors younger than I am.

~Kids I used to babysit have kids.

~ I won't even go into the litany of physical decay.

~ I remember records, eight-tracks, and transistor radios.

~ I remember Elvis.

~ I remember when computers were mythical things that filled entire rooms in far off places.

~ I need my children's help to use my Itunes.

~ My phone is smarter than I am.

~ Young women call me sweetie and hon.

~Young men don't look at me. Old men do.

For a while, I considered giving in. I decided I would embrace my dotage, get those support hose, and spend my time reminiscing about the good old days. But you know what? I'm only forty-four. It's possible that I could live that many years more. I may be only half way done.

Fifty years ago forty-four was old. But in this century it's not. I'm not willing to spend half my life being old and decrepit.
There's not a lot more I can do about the decrepit part. I'm working on getting my back healed, but apart from that I can sure do something about my atitude.

My body may be a little out of control, but I can control my thoughts.
I'm gonna stop feeling old.

Any suggestions? What makes a person feel young? What makes a person seem young?

Monday, January 10, 2011

middle school middle agers

I was never popular. I had friends, but that was about it.

Now though, I kinda feel popular. I feel liked and that's really a nice feeling. It makes me want to pull a Sally Fields--"You like me! You really like me!"

I am blessed to have many friendships on many different levels.
Everything from Facebook friends I've never met to close Bosom Friends.
I'm one of those people who has several very close friends. Some people prefer one or two but I'll take as many as I can get. Each one is my best friend and each one is loved as if they were the only one.

I'm a relational person and I love all of these relationships.  But there's a dark side.

Apparently you can take the girl out of Middle School, but you can't take Middle School out of the girl.

I told my friend about a coffee shop I like, so she went to check it out--with another friend. They didn't think I would be able to go, so they didn't even ask. I was hurt and a little angry.

Another time a friend and I met to write, but didn't invite friend number three. So number three was horribly hurt, and little angry.

This friend talks to that friend more than me. That friend had lunch with this friend.
I have a monthly movie-watching date with one friend and other friends are jealous...

I never had to deal with this before.

I didn't know it would be so hard at this age. I had imagined that by midlife we would all be secure and mature and past all this.
But we all want to be liked. We all want to be the favorite. We all want to know that our friendships are sound and firm.

I am working on feeling secure. Letting go. Learning to not feel threatened when my friends have other friendships.

It seems silly to me that I struggle with this, but I know that I am not the only one. It's nice to have yet one more area where we relate. We all go through so many of the same things.
And learning how to handle friendships is a blessing. I wouldn't trade the lessons or the friends for anything in the world.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i don't know how to swim

photo from
When I was trying to learn to float, the teenaged instructor would put her hands under my back while she encouraged me to relax.
I'd say, "Don't let go."
She'd say, "I won't. Relax. Tip your chin up."
"Don't let go."
"I won't. Tuck in your tummy."
"Don't let go."
"I won't."
"I promise. I won't let go."
Then, when I had my posture just right, my chin up, tummy tucked and was sufficiently relaxed for the water to buoy me up, she let go.
Immediately all my muscles tensed and I sunk.

From then on, I don't care how many times they told me they wouldn't let go, I don't care how many promises they made, I couldn't relax. I couldn't trust them. Even if it was a different girl, or my mother, or my husband. My abdominal muscles alway had that slightly tensed feeling. I was ready. On guard. I still can't float.

The other day I asked God to give me a word, a theme, for this year. A lot of people do that, and I like the idea. I've done it before, although, I have to admit that I usually forget what the word is by December.
This time I heard "Trust." But don't I already know how to trust? Then I heard it again and my stomach muscles did that thing. They tightened up. "But why, Lord? Why would I need to trust? What do you have planned, exactly?" Then I realized that I live my life with those tightened abs. Well, not tight in the way I'd like them to be, but tensed, ready. 
I live life in an attitude of not trusting. 
I thought I was trusting. Especially I thought I was trusting God.
I do believe. I have faith. I think I have strong faith, but what I've realized is that faith and trust are not the same. Trust is faith lived out.
So, I'm hoping this year I'll learn how to let those muscles relax. I'm hoping I'll put my faith into action and let go. 
I'm even thinking it might be time for me to take swimming lessons again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

checkin up on my check up

Last January I posted about my plans for the year. I mentioned a scarf I was making. Guess what? That scarf still isn't finished. It's still imperfect, though. In fact, when I pick it up and try to work on it I seem to not remember exactly what to do. So it gets more imperfect the more I work on it.
I think I'm not a knitter. It's very tedious. Some people apparently like that. It relaxes them. Not me. I think I'll just buy my scarves and socks and stuff already made.

My plan last year was to embrace imperfection and take risks. I don't remember many risks I took. I did speak for my Writers' Guild. That felt risky, but the reality is that it's a very safe place. I could have fallen on my face and they would have embraced me.
I sorta tend to forget my plans for the year, so I can't say that I was very proactive in the embracing imperfection thing, but I do feel more comfortable with it. I'm still a perfectionist, and perhaps always will be, but I feel a little less pressure. I've found some grace to bestow on myself.

How did you do last year?