Wednesday, February 11, 2009
There is so much to say now that I’m older and wiser. For years I’ve avoided talking about my intuitive sixth sense. I’ve been ahead of the curve about several trends, but never wanted to seem pushy about what I knew was coming. Now that I’m older, I feel I should share my wisdom.
Take flip-flops, my first real obsession. This began when I was very young. The only available flip-flops were the rubber kind from the dime store. The colors were basic: red, blue, yellow and green, and I had a pair of each. They were intended for summer wear, and mainly promoted at the beach. I found myself flopping into fall, kept them handy even in the winter months, and then was anxious to slip into my favorite pair as soon as the warm days of spring appeared. Before long, there were great flip flop designs showing up, expanding colors, materials, and different soles. I loved it. I’ve owned close to a hundred pair over the years. My family and close friends can tell you that I have been the flip-flop queen forever—way ahead of the curve.
Here’s another obsession that was on target: the gourmet cup cake. I’ve been into gourmet cupcakes forever. And way before Martha Stewart started using her ascending pyramid of cupcakes for special occasions, even weddings, I was all about the cupcake cake. Years ago, I went to K-Mart and bought various sizes of heavy plastic plant saucers, and little pots to stack between them. Doug drilled holes and attached them together, building my first multi-tiered cupcake stand, just perfect for serving various gourmet treasures.
Here’s my latest passion (it’s political, so brace yourself): this whole country is going to have to get over itself, and step up to the plate. We have over-indulged to the point of disgust. I get mad at myself when I think of all the wasteful things I’ve done. There was no question that eventually, this crazy way of living was going to end, needed to end, and that equilibrium would return. Our focus needs to shift from ourselves, to being more mindful of each other: to what we can do to be better caretakers of our world. I’ve seen this coming for years. However, knowing and doing are two different things. It’s like my adage about being proactive: doing nothing gives the power of influencing the outcome to someone else. Well, here we are, having turned our backs on good sense. We haven’t been proactive, and now we’re at the mercy of a world whirling out of control, and more people than I can believe are still in denial. We need to come to our senses, and step forward together with positive efforts to make this world the place it was intended to be.
I was right about flip flops and cupcakes, and I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I turned sixty today—that’s 60 years old. Those who have already crossed over this mark and adjusted to the shock of being older than dirt, are snickering about how I’m just a young’un, while those who haven’t made it yet are intentionally refusing to give it conscious thought. Being new to the dirt pile, I can still remember yesterday when I secretly and fearfully looked at sixty and didn’t like what I saw.
To begin with, I planned to be better prepared. I’ve been working on this moment for years, but somehow it still sneaked up on me. Every time I turn around, something that I should have been prepared for is overtaking me. I flop between not wanting to be anal, and being so laissez-faire that the truck runs me over before I know what’s happened.
My hair is a mess. By now I really thought I would have found my best hair-do to see me through the next (dare I say last) third of my life. Something I could count on. But no. I have not become one with my hair, its coarse, wavy texture, or its thickness everywhere except in front where it’s getting white and thinning around the hairline. I hate spending so much time messing with it…
Then there’s the weight problem. I meant with all my heart to be at a good weight when I celebrated this day. Instead, I’m twenty pounds overweight, and critically close to the obese marker. My BMI is high, my blood pressure was high until I started medication, and my unruly cholesterol is now controlled by an occasional statin and a MUFA diet.
Who is this person in the official birthday picture blowing out the proverbial flame of youth on the birthday cake? She looks like someone I might like to know, but she surely doesn’t look like me. For years I’ve been really hard on myself, and always thought I looked worse than I really did, but finally it’s caught up with me. If that is really ME in the picture, then I have exceeded my own expectations and actually look worse than I ever thought I would.
But for all the bad things that came with sixty, there is one thing that is far better than I could have ever imagined. I’ve never been surrounded by so many people I truly care about at one time. There was a moment when we were all gathered around a large dinner table. I looked around the table where many conversations were going full blast, and marveled at having all those diverse people sitting at one table enjoying the company of each other. As far as I could tell, everyone was having a great time, and I felt blessed, really blessed to have such a wonderful group of friends and relatives.
That’s the bonus of aging, and it’s not to be taken lightly. While I didn’t do a very good job on my hair and weight, my ‘loved ones’ pantry is fully stocked. This very unlikely group came together and found common ground. I’m not saying that you have to be 60 to have a good group of friends, but mine is certainly shaping up and I love them more each day!
There were many faces not present at that table for various reasons, but they were there in my heart. My being is a conglomeration of all these relationships. So, here’s a new ‘ism’ for you…we’re not really what we eat, but we are who we love. That’s true of all ages, and gets better with time, just like the really good wine we were drinking.