growing old


is not what you want to be at almost midnight on a random Tuesday evening.

So, I’ve been trying to prove my non-addiction to caffeine, by not having any. The result? Predictably, my first day I had a major headache by mid-morning. That sent me into a panic – and since then, I’ve been in an on-again-off-again separation with black tea and coffee.

Yesterday was good. Although the white ayurvedic chai from teavana felt pretty caffeinated.
Then today: I had a great morning at the park making paper-mache lanterns with a bunch of moms I really like from my attachment parenting meetup, and when I got home I was just beat. So beat, that at 4 pm, I turned tail and ran to the kitchen to brew myself a strong black cuppa.

About an hour ago, my husband kicked my chatty butt out of bed, with a, If you’re so awake, why don’t you take your laptop out and post?
I grabbed a pile of books (good reads) that I’ve been meaning to post about and bounced out to the dining area.
But there is so much other stuff to write about, than the books I finished a month ago.

I told Chad today that there are going to be some changes around here. Life changes.
1. I’m going to clear the surfaces in my bedroom and keep them cleared.
When I got home from Korea this summer, I woke up one night in a fog. I was sure that I was in somebody else’s room, but I hadn’t the faintest idea whose. The room was awesome. It was dark, but I could see the outlines of all the furniture. The room was clean and uncluttered. It felt like a room that had been designed or spatially mapped out by an interior decorator. (I envy people with excellent spatial design skills and I’m always on the look-out for a friend who might want to come over and just completely critique my house and help me redesign my living space.) The strange thing was, that in some corner of my mind, I knew logically that this room was my own bedroom – I just couldn’t see any of the clutter.
When I woke up, I determined to re-create that room.
Of course, I’ve ALWAYS meant to declutter my bedroom, but it is always the space I neglect, because when guests come over, I focus on the living room and kitchen. Bathrooms must get deep-cleaned regularly, guests or no guests. The bedroom where my office resides pretty much gets ignored, even though in reality, most of my guests end up seeing it and I spend a lot of time there. This time I mean it. It’s going to happen.
Besides which, I really do believe in creating a more peaceful serene environment for Christian.
So, this is the plan: there are three major surfaces to tackle. Each one needs to be cleared (and it may be easiest to just leave them empty), which means going through every item and finding its home. The top of the chest of drawers will be done by Nov 1 (gulp – next weekend). My desk and accompanying file cabinet by Nov 15. And the top of the bookshelf will be clear by Dec 1.
Warning: I’ll have to get rid of more stuff, so anticipate parcels and gifts.

2. I’m going to start exercising twice a week and doing yoga twice a week. I think that needs to happen from this week until the end of my life, because I am growing old and I CAN FEEL IT HAPPENING. For somebody who has always been in pretty good shape and very limber in her youth, it is frightening to feel that strength and energy slip away.
I read in a Real Simple magazine that it takes 10 minutes a day to maintain your current level of flexibility. BUT if you do nothing, you can lose up to 7% of mobility A MONTH, in your hips, for example.
When I was young, in my teens, most stretches that people did to warm up, did not feel like stretches to me.
Scarily, now everything feels like a stretch. It feels like a stretch to simply reach up. My back hurts all the time. The reality is that I haven’t exercised or stretched properly since before I was pregnant with Christian, so three years ago.
Ideally, I need two walks/jogs around the lake each week. I need to figure out what mornings are good for that. I’ll start with once a week, by walking to playgroup every Thursday. That’s an easy way to sneak it in.
And yoga – I’m thinking every Tuesday to start. There’s a handwork and Waldorf discussion group meeting at a park every Tuesday – and I’d like to do an hour of yoga at the park before that begins at 10. Maybe the other jog and yoga session can happen on the weekend. Hmmm. Better set a deadline…
I’ll try another yoga set on Saturdays or Fridays and another run on Sundays by December 1.

If you want to join me for any of this (sit on my bed and chat while I organize?), let me know. Maybe I’ll start a weekly walk/jog meetup? Accountability to others seems to work for me (better than a monetary carrot, which is my husbands preferred method of encouragement).

I think this might constitute a minor mid-life crisis.

You know what it’s like turning thirty-nine? It’s like being a human domino – one by one, all the folks I thought of as being my age are turning forty this year. My fortieth birthday ever approaches.

reminds me of Holly Hunter in Broadcast News: She’s sobbing on the bed and William Hurt is trying to comfort her. She manages to choke out, “…and I ‘m turning forty!”

Hurt says, “When?”

Hunter breaks into sobs anew, “SOME DAY!”

I’ve been thinking about time and energy in relation to love. I think time and energy might equal love. The amount of time I am willing to spend with a person or activity should be directly proportionate to the amount of love I feel towards that person or activity. Growing into a life that fits better has to do with doing what I want to be doing, without waiting for time for that other something. (Lennnon’s cliche: life’s what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.)

For instance, it’s really time to stop being a public school teacher, because when ever I introduce myself as a teacher to somebody, I contradict it in my head (I’m not really teacher! It’s just an in-between job!) Not that I am a teacher this year, but that’s what I say I do, because nobody really understands what an English Language Arts coach does, and I am still working for a public school district.

I am also starting to understand how people are able to shoulder bigger and bigger responsibilities – or how they get be a top dog. In a school district teachers are perceived or see themselves as completely separate from administration, but then teachers are the ones who become administrators, and transform into authority figures at the district office. Probably every admin person in this district was a classroom teacher at some point, and yet they are perceived and treated as something other, something against teachers. And strangely, being in a position of authority does not necessarily mean you have skills – but rather that you somehow impressed upon somebody with even more authority that you can serve some useful purpose. This seems ironic to me – doctors become doctors without people skills. Teachers become teachers without communication skills. Administrators become administrators without diplomacy skills.

On the other hand, with enough time and energy, you can become good (excellent even) at almost anything. I think though, that the time and energy have to be focused. I think it might be why it seems to kids that grown-ups do things so well. It really takes practice to do anything well (or to learn to do it in the first place).

This is a long-winded way of explaining my dad’s theory that any sport, instrument, or language can be decently mastered in five years. I’ve watched him do it successfully with tennis and golf (less so with the trumpet and Spanish…) It’s also my way of understanding how I feel like I’ve entered into this new stage of my adult life where I can see how much my friends and peers have accomplished – the sheer amount of experience and decision-making power that we have accumulated – If I have a question about almost anything, I feel like I know an expert I can ask…

Well, I guess the fact that I’m up at 1:30 in the morning speaks for itself; I’m busier than usual these days. It never fails when I have something to procrastinate for – the degree of business is directly proportional to the importance of the task. In this case, I have a master’s thesis to write, so I decide to buy my first house, apply for a new job, start a blog, start a new diet and exercise regime, and plan a birthday BBQ for myself. How would I get anything done without the impetus of procrastination?

Turning 38 is not so bad. I know myself well enough to know what I want (a birthday party with carrot cake with my friends in the National Park) and I’m getting less and less afraid of saying what I think. I’m becoming a crochety old woman who doesn’t care what other people think so long as I get my way.

I have two friends coming in from NYC for my BBQ. It’s so much fun to have friends visit. These days I have a hard time remembering what I like to do – and an even harder time remembering what I was going to be when I grew up. The terrifying thought occurs to me that I don’t think I ever made a conclusive decision on that one. Oh! I just remembered, I like to cook too, particularly for other people. I don’t want to be a cook though, or a masseuse.