Their present is awash in physical diminishment. Their future is all about down-sizing and giving up and letting go. No scenic tours anymore; it's a one-way street on a dead end. My old Uncle Tim, who lived to be 104, used to say that if you could eat, sleep, and poop you had nothing to complain about. I don't know. I think old sucks...To stay sane, old people have to focus on the past! They have to talk about their health; together they solve issues their doctors can't or won't.
Did I say the whole thing depresses me? I think if I have to live another year like the one before, stuck in my tiny house, the skies endlessly gray wherever I look, my only company being the aging woman in the mirror and my only diversion the relentless task of searching for jobs that don't exist, I will go stark raving mad. Truly. Really, how pointless is it to be fifty-seven years old in a state where "young" is cutting edge, there are only 14,000 jobs, and 360,000 unemployed? The definition of crazy, I've heard said, is doing the same old thing over and over and expecting different results. Can I really expect to continue what I'm doing and not go crazy?
I have to ask--Instead of down-sizing, giving up, and letting go, why can't I be like my niece Jamie, who just took off across Canada, BC to Newfoundland, with just her thumb and a couple of friends? Why the bloody heck not?
The answer of course is that I have the weight of age in my soul, Jamie does not. She has a whole future ahead of her. She doesn't need to carry the worry over money like me. She's got her eye on Newfoundland, not Medicare. So this lack of money at my age is a big deal. Being unemployed for 15 months is an even bigger deal. It means that my savings has been leaking like a helium balloon and, last time I checked, I did not have a fairy godmother with a lovely magic wand and handy helium tank.
There are of course a host of other problems that weigh me down. Like an old Jeep with 220,000 miles on it--and no air conditioning. In Arizona! And what about my medications? How will I get the hormones refilled? The thyroid? See? Old people talk about their health all the time. And now that we're back to that, I might as well confess that my aging brain slows down on the necessary logistics that have to be worked through, spinning around and around like the "wheel of death" on my Macintosh computer. Like I said, mind boggled. With no way to reboot.
Ah, but into all this mental chaos and soul-searching doubt and high anxiety and suffocating fear that doesn't become me arrives my youngest son, temporarily camped at my doorstep because he has a squatter who's taken up residence in his condo. "Just go," he tells me. "Just do it!"
"Just do it!"
So I've been wading into the tangled mess of logistics, this nest of impossibilities compounded by scams on Craigslist, moving forward one step at a time (still reserving the right to retreat!) until, wow, last night, things actually started to look up. As of last night I have someone to stay in my house; as of last night I have a place to stay in Arizona. In fact, a whole house to myself--always a plus. In fact, right next door to my former mother-in-law! It's magic. A whole huge tangle of logistics nicely unraveling and magically knitting themselves into place. Dare I say net?
Leap and the net will appear. Yesterday afternoon I leaped. By nightfall I had
It was a glorious fall day. Blake, still temporarily camped out on my doorstep and both of us suffering agitation over the latest shenanigans of his squat
"What should we do now?" I asked Blake, tasks done and feeling good for having made up my mind at last.
"You need to go for a motorcycle ride."
"Are you crazy! I can't drive that thing!" Thing being the huge black motorbike in my driveway.
"I'll drive you. I'll take you for a spin through the neighborhood."
"I'm too scared."
He gave me that look that said "you're always scared."
I got the point. "Okay," I said slowly, trying out the idea in my head. I skipped a little, my body catching up to the notion. "Okay!"
"Okay then! Go get a sweater!"
He helped me into his leather coat, zipped me up, then jammed his helmet down around my head. My ears folded over down around my chin somewhere. "Hey! What do I do about my ears?"
I did...and why can't a face lift be so easy?
I held my chin up to get the buckle snapped into place. I heard a click. Blake gave the strap a tug. I was in. He rotated the visor down over my eyes.
Wow. It was like being inside a fish aquarium. No bubbles, though. No hiss of a pump. Just an odd silence. He swung onto his bike. Patted the seat behind him. I swung on, not as gracefully but I did swing, and grabbed him around the middle.
"Scoot back a little!" he hollered off his shoulder.
He scooted back into me, tucking right into my arms so I could feel his whole body connect with mine. Twenty-nine years ago we'd held this position for nine months. How had this wonderful grown son of mine once been an embryo of life inside me? Not even a heart beat and now making my own heart thud in steady excitement? Vroooom! Off we went, rumbling out of the driveway, this thing called time a very funny thing indeed.
"Slow down!" I screamed.
The picture means something to me. Something about riding a motorcycle with my son suggests I've got a long way to go before getting old. It hints of adventure every woman should heed before eating, sleeping, and pooping becomes enough.
Leap and the net will appear.