Dita Parker

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mid life stasis

My youngest was lost in thought. Then, 
"I'm so glad I wasn't born in the '80's."
? "How so?"
"I wouldn't have had any toys."
?? "I was born in the 70's."
??? "Were your pacifiers made out of wood?"

My children make me laugh on a daily basis and they make me think, and lately I've been thinking a lot about age and time and aging. We're summer sons and daughters and tomorrow, it's my turn to turn a year older. As I keep nearing my forties, more and more people have asked do I feel some manner of crisis coming my way as well.

I can honestly say that no, I don't. That ship has already sailed. I traveled on it in my twenties, cruising from port to port, casting anchor time and time again because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, when or where I wanted to disembark, or if I even wanted to. When you're restless and rootless, settling down sounds an awful lot like sinking. I would imagine myself rattling the cages of whatever choice pinned me down, pinned me down to the ground where I would have to be a what and not a who, defined by what I did, where I lived, the company I kept, not by who I was, and shudder at the thought.

I was also, at that peculiar poignant point in my life, very sure I would die young. That certainty didn't come from any kind of death wish. I wasn't self-destructive, quite the contrary. But so much had been squashed into my twenty-something years that the only explanation I had for such fast-forward-living was that I had to live a lifetime in a very short time.

With the melodramatic inclination and foresight of a twenty-something, I would imagine my tombstone. "She could have been many things," it read. It didn't sound right. It didn't sit right. I had to anchor. I had to alight, rein in the restlessness, choose to become somewhat of a what, not just a who, or do the seven seas drift never arriving.
Drifting was once a choice. I choice I chose not to make. I used to play a game where I imagined where I would be had I chosen another schooling, professions, certain jobs over others. People. Continents. I found myself in very different places among very different faces. Would I have been happier had I gone down some other path? I seriously doubt it. Some parts might have been easier, some patches much harder. Just as interesting and complicated and bewildering. But happier? I think not.

Contentment is supposed to be detrimental to creativity, tantamount to death. What a bunch of bollocks. Why are people so afraid of being happy? What do they really fear? That they don't deserve it, as if you had to earn it any more than you deserve the bad and the low? Some truly amazing things have happened to a lot of awful people. An awful lot of amazing people never seem to get a break. It's infuriating and frustrating and makes you dream of revenge or even poetic justice but sitting and waiting for life to course-correct is a poor man's deal.

The restlessness hasn't gone anywhere. It's part of my make up; existential, not circumstantial. And so I find myself at a happy stage, a happy age, even if I have no idea how old I am. I sometimes feel I was born an old dame. I sometimes feel I'm just a kid. For me, age is a state of mind. It's not the years, it's the mileage, Dr. Henry Jones Jr. once said. But as the years gather, the less the tripometer seems to mean to me, or matter.

I'm already burying loved ones. My siblings and friends are still having babies. Life goes on. One day I will mingle with the wind and the water and if they need a tombstone they can write it in sand and what it will say I'll never know. I hope they understand I tried to use my time and blessings wisely and that I tried to be kind and if my actions or words were sometimes naive my intentions were always noble and if I caused you pain I'm truly sorry but all I ever wanted was a life based on truth and justice and beauty and freedom. Love.

No keeling over.

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