Posted by: rocketbride | May 29, 2017

In 1979 I was just learning how to be thirteen. I didn’t know that I’d have to keep thinking about it until I was twenty five. I thought that once I figured out thirteen, then it was history, junk for the archeologists to find years later. I thought it would keep working that way, figuring out each year as it came, then discarding it when the new one came along. But there’s much more to the whole thing. I mean, I had to figure out what it meant to be a boy, a man, too. Most of all, I had to find out what it meant to be Indian, and there ain’t no self-help manual for that last one.

(Sherman Alexie, “Witness, Secret and Not”, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, page 211)

viva-la-vida
“Viva la Vida” by Brandon Maldonado

My 41st year is turning into a bit of a mememnto mori experience. Not in the sense that I am preoccupied with my own death (although I have been thinking about the death of my parents more than usual), but because claiming 40 means that I am officially Too Old For This Shit, as my death won’t wait for me to grow up.

In some ways this has been liberating: I’m constantly making lists of silly things I’ve always wanted to do but have ignored, like getting my aura photographed or having one of my moles removed for non-medical reasons. I have also been getting closer to a few life-long dreams: I took time out of writing this entry to register for a course that will qualify me to work in the library as well as the classroom, and I am inching closer and closer to taking a creative writing course and seeing if I can find my story.

It’s been a weird year socially. A few very long and cherished friendships seem to have died when I wasn’t paying attention, and I have been working on being mature enough to let them go. I have had trouble with this my entire life. I am not only super sad when I feel a friendship cooling off, but even when it’s going well I’m sometimes jealous of any other person that they seem to enjoy. Once my jaws are in you, do not expect me to drop off without a fight. I oscillate between thinking that I’m brave and loyal like a wolf or a terrible pest like a tick.

So it takes me a long long time to realize it when 1 or 2 rebuffed invitations turn into years without any contact from them. I am guilty of counting huge seasonal parties that are so open-door that it doesn’t really matter if I go or stay away as real interactions; they’re not. At this point, I inventory our past relationship, mourning the death of what could be. I do this in spin class, or when I’m in the middle of a run and have nothing else to think about and the grief rises up me like fumes.

Ultimately, being 40 means that I have to cut the shit and follow the same advice I would give to anyone else. If someone is acting like they don’t like you, they probably don’t. If someone doesn’t invite you to their gatherings, it’s probably because they don’t want you there, and no amount of affection you had or have for them changes that.

There are so many people-shaped holes in my heart that might never be filled again. I have to find a way to lean into this.

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Responses

  1. Nice to see you here. I check back now and again as I enjoy your writing.


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