Dear Reader 5.2.21
I missed chatting with you last Sunday for good reason: I turned 50. I’m still processing, as each time I see the number in print (verbalizing doesn’t seem to be the same trigger), I have to take a minute or two and connect the five to the person I feel I am. I certainly do not feel that I have five decades under my belt, but two Fs in remedial math courses in college taught me never to argue with numbers.
It reminds me of a moment I had with my grandma Ruby, sometime back in the early 2000s, after she’d had some sort of injury and was recouping at home. I was able to spend an afternoon with her, and when she had been gone from the familiar glider rocker in the corner of her wood-paneled living room for a while, I went looking for her, afraid she’d fallen or needed help. Instead, I discovered her standing before her bathroom mirror, poking and prodding her cheeks, lifting her brows, looking at herself from multiple angles.
I asked if she was OK, worried she was checking for injuries.
“No. It’s just this woman in the mirror,” she replied, her usual soft tone quiet with sadness. “I don’t know who she is. I know I’m supposed to be 78, but I don’t feel like it.” She traced the arch of her nose, the same bump on the bridge that I had, that kept the high school bullies full of mean-spirited fuel until I realized I shared the trait with her. “This woman I see on the outside is not the person I feel like on the inside, and I don’t understand how I got here.”
I remember sympathizing in the moment, understanding that aging continues without our permission despite our most fervent wishes that it would pause. With each passing birthday, I reflect on this moment, and this year, I fully empathized with my grandmother’s sentiment that day. I definitely don’t feel like what I presume 50 to feel like, and based on compliments from friends, I assume I don’t look like what I think (or thought?, as a younger person?) 50 looks like.
This rumination and bemoaning aging wasn’t the reason I didn’t write last week, however–although I will admit that a number of short pieces and pissed-off poetry came out over the week that I may share later here on the blog–I spent it with my parents, in their early 70s and not behaving like they’re a day over 30, sister and nephews. I am the love child of a man who believes that no day, including birthdays, are worthy of a celebration, and a woman who believes every day of life should be celebrated with balloons and cake. I gave them a happy medium by going home for dinner and cake, and can’t imagine a better way of having spent my 50th.
With all that, I freely admit that writing for the blog took a back seat this week to several other writing tasks that have deadlines in the real world, most notably a seven-class course I’ll be teaching in June that incorporates yoga, journaling, the chakras, and meditation to help heal grief and loss. It’s my first adventure as a certified yoga (and soon, meditation) teacher, so my perfectionist Taurus self is deep in the process, never quite done. You think after 50 years I’d be able to loosen up on myself in that regard, but I am still a work in progress.
How was your writing week? With spring firmly on track to summer here, things are green: grass, trees, future writing ideas. I hope something is blossoming in your word world worth pursuing! I’d love to hear about it in the comments, if you’d like to share.