Saturday, October 01, 2005

Paper Dragons

9:30 am, Saturday

A half-full glass of water on the floor beside the bed.

On a tray on the dresser: three-quarters of a bottle of el Jimador tequila, a plate of lemon rinds, a shaker of salt, a bottle of red wine accompanied by a wine glass with a stain at the bottom.

Wax has dripped onto the night table and there are half-damp white face cloths strewn around the room. Last evenings’ clothing (mine) is heaped on the floor. And the sheets definitely need to be changed.

My hair looks like it’s been run through a tornado.

I take an Aspirin and brew a cup of coffee strong enough to remove rust from metal. I’m stretching out kinked muscles. I have a mild hangover. And I can't stop grinning.

You’d think, after nearly ten months, me and The Scorpio would have slowed down. Both of us are over 50. People, according to my understanding of conventional wisdom, are supposed to slow down, or develop other interests, or buy that little red sports car. I have no problem with those options - they just aren't mine. And if you don’t choose one of those options, you might be advised to keep it to yourself lest your behavior be deemed inappropriate or plain freakish.

The glorious and terrifying part of being over 50 is that, if you are brave enough, you get to decide what is appropriate for you. The clock is ticking. And the rest of your life is not the infinite span it seemed to be at 25.

Gloria Steinem said in an interview, for women over 50, there is no map.

It’s a scary process, making the map as you go, wandering in places where most of society has marked the words, “here there be dragons.” Frequently, I find myself in swamps and bogs, scared, lonely, and emotionally lost.

But sometimes I wake up to a pristeen blue sky, the clear, perfect air of a September day, surrounded by happy evidence of the night before, and I know for certain I wouldn’t want to be 30 again – or trade lives with anyone.

I will forget this, of course. Return to the hell of falling asleep to myself and the world, to the hell of ingratitude or the compulsion to follow scripts written by someone else for someone else. But right now, today is the first day of the rest of my life. That "the rest" could be as little as five minutes or ten years, makes it all the sweeter.

1 comment:

Koru's Daughter said...

Flying without wings
Map isn't the territory
Old Chicks are my heroes