Looking back over the year, 2013 has not been one of my best—not even close. But that’s what I’m thankful for.
Growing Your Own
I actually gave myself a gift. Sort of. I’m getting a genetic test done. The sample’s en route to the lab. But I’ve already made some very interesting discoveries.
Well. I have had a challenging three months. And things will continue intensifying through the beginning of June. Read on only if you can stomach my self-absorption...
Precisely one week ago, Anders Monsen published his top 50 libertarian fiction list, and included the rules he chose. I particularly like his restriction of only one choice per author; not only does it help spread the love around, as it were, but it encourages the listmaker to reflect on the various volumes of, for example, Robert Heinlein and to attempt to articulate the ineffable: Which one do I really like best, and is good at promoting liberty?
I somehow missed the terrible news out of Connecticut until just a bit ago. I’m sure my thoughts and feelings in response are far from unique... it never ceases to amaze me that individuals can feel such loathing or despair that such acts seem like a reasonable course of action.
As an alternative to thinking along those lines, I hereby offer a link and a strong suggestion to have some tissues handy: 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith in Humanity This Year.
Peace and love to you all.
I should have known that years of hearing “I pay the bills, so what I want goes” would have some effect on the snolfs and me—and perhaps I did, but only now that I’ve been clear of that environment can I fully appreciate the effect it had on us.
And I am long overdue in acknowledging three stalwart gentlemen whose shoulders have helped carry me further than my grownup self sometimes thought I could go.
Meteorological spring also brought another spring to my life this year ... one that was very slow in arriving but has already proved well worth creating.
I didn’t mean to be absent from here for so long, but I’ve been busier than usual. Most of you would be quite surprised to learn what’s taken up a large chunk of my time of late.
[Originally published April 2005]
I have never been concerned with my age, or aging in particular. Like my approach to race and sex, my approach to a person’s age—including my own—has always been: “You are what you are and you can’t (easily) change that”. Even so, as the silvery strands populate my crown more thickly, I can’t deny that I have been thinking more about the effects of the years—and miles—upon myself.
The impetus for this introspection has been the recurring topic of growing older in an email conversation with a very good friend. Being of like minds, it’s been mostly a positive exchange. I think we’ve helped each other with what might otherwise have been some rough spots, since it’s hard to completely ignore a culture that seems perpetually enamored with youth and firm, lithe bodies. When she mentioned that an acquaintance of hers recently celebrated her 50th birthday by throwing a “crone party”, the idea resonated with me very strongly. Why not celebrate an important, and potentially rich time of life—and the achievement of getting there?
I remember my grandmother calling the lines at the corners of her eyes “crow’s feet” when I was a youngster. The term horrified me, then and now. To me, the lines weren’t ugly; they were the sign of a face that had smiled and laughed much, enjoying the sun and wind and weather. I see the beginnings of them at the corners of my eyes, and instead of feeling a sinking dread, I welcome them. They’re reminders that I, too, have enjoyed much in my life thus far.
Similarly, my once-flat lower abdomen now curves a bit, a testament to my body's production of two children. As I enjoyed being pregnant very much, and enjoy my children, that new curve is a mostly pleasant reminder of two very special times in my life. To use a Heinleinian phrase, my baby-chewed breasts are softer now, but I wouldn’t trade their previous firmness for the many hours with a baby in my arms, gazing into his or her eyes as my body nourished theirs.
These days I’m moderately fit, instead of the very fit person I used to be—also something I refuse to feel guilty about (most of the time—again, those messages are hard to totally ignore). My life is so full that devoting the time it would take to maintain the body I once had is not a choice I want to make. I want to play with my children, who can’t hike, rock climb, or ski (yet); I want to savor the time spent reading a good book; I want to exercise because it feels good to feel my body stretching and moving, not because I have to maintain buns of steel.
I also refuse to count calories, or fat grams, or any such silliness, even though my body seems more likely to want to store excess than it has before. I’d much rather enjoy a decadent chocolate cake, a glass of red wine, and good conversation with beloved friends, and be a little wider in the behind for it, than be obsessed about thunder thighs and the Atkins diet, and be skinny and alone night after night.
I hope that I’ll be around to savor the intense spark of life in a grandchild. My mother railed against this sign of aging more than any other, and I’ve never understood that. What could be a more precious affirmation of life than creating new life—passing a bit of your spark into the future?
When I see a woman with stunning silver hair, I find myself hoping that when I’m completely grey, my hair is as gorgeous as hers. If not, I may just color it—something I’ve never even contemplated before—as a celebration of cronedom and the unique beauties it offers. I certainly will not cut it almost completely off, then curl, comb, tease, puff, or permanent the remnants, until I startle at my own appearance in the mirror every morning. My mane will remain long and flowing for as long as I’m able to care for it, or have someone willing to do so—and when someone isn’t, then it’s time for me to go.
My underwear—and nightwear, when I choose to wear it—will continue to come from Victoria’s Secret or similar place, even though I never have and never will look like their models. Must one be under 35 to appreciate the glissando of silk on one’s skin? Or even better, the caress of satin under an appreciative lover’s hand? Both feel better now for having slept in some of the interesting situations I’ve found myself in over the years.
In short, as I progress into another phase of life, I fully intend to drink fully of its offerings, learn as much as I can from both its pleasures and its pains, and do things the way I want, rather than the way “little old ladies” are expected to. That’s the way I have always been. Why should I stop when I become a crone?
It’s been said before that I’m a mutant. Maybe I am. But I see no value in denying what one is—who one is—for the sake of fitting in with a culture that is in many ways profoundly unhealthy. To me, becoming a crone is an important milestone, one well worth celebrating.
I think I’ll begin planning my crone party.
And I vacillate between which I feel more strongly.
What a ridiculous question that is, right? After all, I’m quite certain no beavers or termites are among the seven regular readers here. Still, some of you might be consuming cellulose from wood and not know it.
I was introduced to a bit of the world of Gabor Maté yesterday, and am so impressed that I think all of you not already familiar with him would benefit from making his acquaintance as well.
I’ve been having a conversation with a dear friend about rights, and property rights in particular. It took me back to this discussion. Then, in the midst of pondering all that, I came across an observation regarding self ownership that got my li’l reptilian going again. Fastening seat belts and/or taking blood pressure meds before stepping in to the debate room is advised.
And the young woman who labeled herself “the best slave” also clearly and beautifully demonstrates that it applies in only a very limited context.