Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I haven't written in such a long time. I feel guilty. I've been struggling with my book about turning 60. The good news is that I have an agent. I decided not to self-publish. I've taken a leap of faith and held out for a publisher who may see value in my musings. The bad news is that my agent thinks I need to change my title to better reflect the contents of the book. I'm open to new ideas. I hope we, the royal we, come up with something we all like.
I thought about it all weekend while I was on a tango weekend, a festival in Denver where some very good tango dancers show up and we get high on tango for 3 days over Memorial Day. It is always great fun even though some of the usual suspects didn't show. Was it the economy, stupid, or was it that the festival is getting stale. Stale and tango do not belong in the same sentence.
Meanwhile life takes twists and turns as in my sons are no longer speaking to each other. Don't they realize that each have only one brother in life. There are no more brothers to have in their lives. It's such a cliche in life that brothers/sisters don't talk to each other. It seems that siblings are harder on each other than just plain friends. They see each other are perfect in some ways, flawed in others and the good/bad characteristics are magnified tenfold. I hope in time that my sons, these once terrific friends, will mend the fences and forgive. Meanwhile, I've experienced intense emotional pain that I have almost lifted during the last three weeks.
My trip is coming up - to Southern Spain and Morocco. I just realized that I will be getting home July 5 at 11 pm and I have to teaching the next morning at 7 am. Boy, will I be tired. I'm using Advantage miles and I can't change anything. I'm going to die spending 17 hours in Heathrow. Most of the time, I'll be sleeping, but the next morning will be brutal. I knew this when I made the reservations, but I forgot - thought I was arriving on July 4th late. I'm hoping that something will happen and a seat will open up earlier to Los Angeles.
I feel naked because I don't have a book to write. Maybe I'll blog more. Maybe I'll meditate more. Maybe I'll write more poetry. Maybe I'll actually take a yoga class. Maybe I'll rest.
Monday, May 4, 2009
I haven't blogged since April 26th. I feel a bit remiss but not necessarily guilty...until now.
I've been in a general malaise outside of my yoga teaching. Oh, I love my work and am grateful every day for my students, my private clients and my friends.
I guess it has to do with adult children this week and the end of the old lover comeback. Let me start with the old lover comeback: there wasn't one; it was a non-started, a fake and phony attempt to reconnect with heart or devotion and with a dedication to carelessness; Moving on (although I didn't move on all week), the other issues revolve around my sons and their inattention. I guess it's great not to have sons that have a mother complex - the tiny voice inside of a man that says to a woman - No! No! don't come any closer to my heart because I really cannot love you with my total being. That's the inner mother. The outer mother is a symbol of the inner mother. Too complicated, huh?
Anyway, whenever I try to connect to one or the other of my sons, I get, "Mom, didn't I tell you not to call my home phone," or "Mom, I'm on my way to work, getting Starbucks, call you later." No call later. One is chewing me out while the other just ignores. What's the brain process here. We live in different cities. I try to come into Vegas once a month to see everyone, be with my grandchildren, be available, yada, yada, yada.
What is family connection, anyway? What does it mean to be connected to family? Family asks after you, as in, are you happy, feeling good, depressed, or are you doing all right with finances, work, dating. Sometimes I think a mother/grandmother should just take off for Tibet for six months and let everyone wonder what happened to "Mom." She used to be around a lot and now she just doesn't care about us anymore.
I won't leave. It's just not in my nature to leave my family. I almost did once in Buenos Aires when I could have had a job teaching English as a second language. I thought long and hard about it. I'd dance tango all night at the milongas and then I'd get home about 3 am and get up at 7 and teach English to those peacock Argentine men in their high rise buildings. I'd last about one week. I wonder if women who are a couple feel this kind of lonelinessor is it because I am single that I sometimes excess being ignored.
Anyway, I had a great weekend despite kissing off the old lover with an epic Beowolf poem exhaustedly, meticulously composed over a three day marathon. I was obsessed to get it perfectly written, and, if I do say so myself, it was a masterpiece of irony. And I already know the old lover won't even get it, let alone read it. But it doesn't matter because I feel fabulous today at 65. Oh, but you see, I also had a marvelous date with a much younger man this Sunday and all went right with the world. After the walk on the Venice boardwalk, which resulted in my buying T-shirts for my grandsons (oh, yes, I don't hide much), we went to an exquisite move called "Examined Life - Philosophy is in the Streets." Age didn't seem to matter much.
The day and my date reminded me of the best of times in Berkeley in the 60's at the beatnik coffee houses along Broadway and Columbus Avenue with jazz puncturing the cold night air. WOW! I felt like 19 again.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I'm still in Las Vegas for my monthly visit to my adult children, grandchildren and very elderly mother. I was dreading the "Elmo Live" show, but as my 4 year old grandson said, "Gran, it wasn't really about Elmo. It was about a flower looking for a place to grow." The boys enjoyed the show and my older son, Jonathan, and I enjoyed the boys watching the show. It had really cheap production values, by the way, but I wasn't writing a review for the Los Angeles Times.
Elmo is not what I'm pondering about today. I'm immersed in the emotion of two visits to my mother, 97, in bed most of the day and waiting, and not very patiently, to have it over with finally. "You're brave to come here," she said to me on Saturday. She was very surprised to see me although I had been there the day before and we had a nice visit. But I sensed depression was about to run rampant.
My mother was concerned about two things: she never knows what time it is, and even when told the time, she always thinks it is night; and she threw up the night before and was disgusted with herself. "I want the whole thing over," she said with finality.
But the "whole thing" isn't over and may not be for quite awhile. There is nothing major wrong with her except that she gets confused and disoriented and sometimes there is an angry voice inside of her that comes out in another, older version of my mother when her temper erupted. She also has a leaky heart valve that sometimes goes haywire but she seems to recover, albeit with confusion the next day. My mother kept telling me how awful the situation was and why did I bother to come she her because she didn't have much to say. We used to be able to share our experiences but no longer. I told her not to worry about that. "I don't know anything any more," she said with a face of an angel. I told her knowing a lot was over-rated.
I'm looking at myself when I see my mother. I'm actually visiting my image at an advanced age. It's frightening and peaceful at the same time. At least I how how my life will end. We always mirrored each other in life, our ambitions, our fortitude our strength and tenacity, and our pragmatism. I will be like her in death, disgusted and wanting to be done with it. "I've lived too long," she always tells me. And sometimes I think we do or we don't live long enough to reach some kind of transformation. Only the good die young or some such thing.
I walked out of my mother's home, and not for the last time, stunned, over-flowing with emotion and grief. I cried for the first time in along time over her. I told my mother how I became the woman I am because of her and thanked her for all the gifts she gave me and there were many. And I found our spiritual circle of continuity in that moment and it was stark and clear. It was a finite mind/body/spirit connection. I wanted to shout with joy as I found the opposing force of my energy dissolve into sadness. For that is life, isn't it? That is womanhood, the anima raging upstream, the goddess within.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Good Morning, Boomers,
I love being a grandmother in my 60's. I'm headed to Las Vegas tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn to take care of my 2 grandsons and attend the 1st birthday of my third grandson. My daughter in law will be away attending a college reunion of friends from her Tulane days. My son, Jonathan, and I will take care of the kids. This is the best part of being 60.
Text message last night from my daughter in law, Carli: "I know you'll be so excited to know I got tickets to see the Elmo show at the Thomas and Mack Center." Carli knows I won't be excited. She was laughing at me when she sent it. I went into a deep depression when I read it just before teaching my 4 pm yoga class at UCLA. Way to mentally prepare myself for a positive yoga practice.
I've done lots of things as a grandmother, some good and some not so good. The bad things are related to losing my temper when my grandsons begin to play with food and I get the stern witch voice going so I scare the holly crap out of them. But I do love to hunt for books at Barnes and Noble with my oldest grandson, 4 year old Jordan, and we do like to play in the part and swim together and those are part of the great fun of hanging out with the boys.
But Elmo!!!!! I hate Elmo! I don't like the way he looks or talks or moves. I don't like anything about Elmo. Both my grandsons love Elmo and so I have to look interested in their fascination with the creep. Thank God Jordan is on his way of love with the guy, but Luc is right on track developing an addiction to him or it.
I can endure the birthday parties this weekend, especially Greyson's 1st birthday party; I can endure eating out with them and watching them play with their food. I can endure the craziness at bedtime and the screaming when they don't know how to share toys. But I cannot endure Elmo and, yet it seems I have to. This is my inner child screaming for a way out and there is no out. There is a way out of cleaning poppy diapers, a way of sleepless night, waking a baby grandson for an hour at 2 am, a way out of coaching them to eat when they have no interest in food, a way out of distracting them from dangerous behavior, but I believe with all my heart, there will be no way out of my Friday night meet and greet with Elmo or my name, Gran, will be mud.
I don't feel bad about this negative feeling even though I am a yogini and teach yoga all day in the positive light of the universe. You see, Elmo isn't real. Elmo is a made up character in Seasame Street so he doesn't have to touch my heart or my mind. This really gets me off the hook because it doesn't relate to my karma in past lives or on earth. Now, I'm free to really despise the big guy. Take that, Elmo!
Now I feel better.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I've been thinking that my blogs go into cyberspace and no one is going to read them. I'm right about that, I know, because I should have a website and blog on my website and I'm not there yet. I'm waiting until I publish my book (stupid) or get an agent (I should be so lucky) and I'm not really kicking ass like I should.
I'm 65 and too busy working. Can you imagine teaching 27 classes a week in yoga and one tango lesson to my best friend? By Friday I can't walk or talk. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love teaching yoga and meditation. In fact, I'm taking a seminar in Kundilini yoga tomorow for 4 hours at UCLA through the Mindfulness Center. It's all very wonderful every day, but the physical toll on my body worries me. Someone said to me, "That's why you're in such good shape," and I responded, "It's overrated."
More angst this week with my old lover returning and the same pattern materializing. I finally got up on Friday morning and wrote the email of all emails to him about how I see our relationship developing if he would just get out of his mother complex long enough to listen to his heart and stop running away.
Which leads me to ask: Do people really change? Do men change? I was talking to my ladies in recovery (from drugs and alcohol) in their meditation class on Thursday and I posed the question to them. Well, they are in recovery and, of course, they feel people can change. They are changing, for God sake! But these are women - nurturing, open, compassionate women and in this moment of their lives fully conscious for the first time in decades. But can men change? Can we change the strips of a zebra? I do not know. I will let you know if there is a man that can change when I find one.
I'm closer to publishing my book, SO YOU'RE 60, GET OVER IT: CONFESSIONS OF A BEATNIK/BOOMER. I have 2 agents to hear from and one publisher and my contract with another publisher and then I'll move forward. I'm feeling low on energy right about now. It's the lull before the storm. I need patience. That's why I meditate 4 times and day.
My iPod shorted out this week. On Monday, no less, with the entire week ahead. I play music in all my classes. My iPod is my life!!! It had 80 GB and they don't make those anymore. I got a nano iPod with 8 GB and it isn't enough to hold all my favorite music.
I'm off to see the new Chinese gardens and the Chinese art exhibit at the Huntington Museum in Pasadena with one of my male best friends. Andrew will help me load my 8 GB iPod. Really, men can be great in other ways. They really don't have to change. I wouldn't want Andrew to change a hair on his head.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
We're 60 now and we're beginning to lose friends, loved ones, parents, and the inexplicable becomes a zen meditation on daily losing. There is no way to explain those feelings of loss. My therapist would say, "Sit with it, Joan. Be with the feelings for as long as you need to."
I opened the mail yesterday afternoon around 5 P.M. There was a letter addressed to me from a man I did not know but whose name I recognized. He was the devoted son to my good friend, Doreen Kuhl. When I say devoted, I mean that with every fiber of my being. Doreen's two adult children, Philip and Diedre, set the standard high with love and devotion to their mother. Philip wrote to tell me that his mother died on March 30.
I knew she was going to die. She told me so in an annual Christmas letter. She said, "This is the last Christmas greeting you will receive. I am dying." I wrote her and we then exchanged a few beautiful letters. Hospice had quietly entered into her apartment in Arlington, Virginia. She told me she was not happy about that. My friend had the most incredible sense of humor, dry, penetrating, sharp, real, raw. "I don't them around me. But they're useful, I guess." She had C.O.P.D, a disease, which she probably had for years and didn't tell me or anyone.
How a person perceives his or her own death is the mark of divineness. Doreen had divineness is spades.
I think Doreen was about mid-70's. I met her in Ls Vegas so many years ago I cannot remember. But I was running a legitimate year round equity contract theater in a shopping center down the road from UNLV where my previous job as an acting instructor ended at the glass ceiling. You remember those days. I woman couldn't rise above her status because men were deathly afraid they might be smart, capable and better at their job than they were. So I went down the street and opened a theater after I spent a year fund-raising and gathering around me the most capable, brilliant theater people in the business west of the Mississippi.
I met Doreen through her husband, Larry, who was my thesis advisor in theater at UNLV where I was getting my second master's degree. Larry was brilliant, too, but difficult. He died rather too soon of lung cancer, which freed up Doreen to pursue her passions after a decade of taking care of him with devotion. She acted a bit in community theater after moving to Arlington, was a docent at The Kennedy Center and museums and did art work for just about anybody who needed it. She was an amazing example of growing older gracefully and full and richly. I remember directing her in "On Golden Pond" one fall season and she had just about the best instincts as an actress you could ever imagine. She had it all over Kate Hepburn. It was her shinning, glorious moment on the stage and I was able to witness it. I don't think I even directed her. She had it all together from the moment of her first rehearsal.
When I told her how brilliant her performance was, she said, "Oh, my darling, it was not, but it was the best I could do." She always began every sentence with, "Oh, my darling."
Doreen is my role model for growing older. She always kept active and fed her mind and soul with important things in life: family, children, giving back to community. She was selfless, loving and larger than her life.
I will miss her.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Attention Female Boomers, (this is not a man's issue)
I am single, living alone and learning to enjoy the fruits of my being. I was just dancing along in my life with three great days of tango dancing when suddenly an old lover returned.
Almost five years (in July), I began to date on the Internet. I first signed up for J-Date (the preference is for Jewish men) thinking how impossible it would be to find an age-appropriate Jewish man near retirement. But what what the heck, nothing to loose and my yoga client kept prodding me into it. All right, already, I did it and, lo, behold, the first man out of the starting gate was the man I fell in love with. Now, come on, what are the odds? Playing craps has better odds. More and better, he fell in love with me. I write lots about him in my book, SO YOU'RE 6O, GET OVER IT: CONFESSIONS OF A BEATNIK/BOOMER. We hit if off like Sonny and Cher, like Abelard and Eloise, like Brad and Angelina. It was magic. Forty-five minutes after we met at my Starbucks, we were making love. It was that clear we were meant for each other. But as my mother says, repeating the words of a song made popular by Tina Turner, "what's love got to do with it?" Boy, is she and Tina right.
But three days later, in the throws of lust, he asked me to marry him.
"Where do we do that?" I asked him.
"City Hall," he responded casually.
My head was exploding off my body. I couldn't believe what was happening. A little voice whispered slow down. Be cautious of all of this sexual madness.
"We only known each other three days. Maybe we should take more time."
Four months later he told me to date other men. He thought I hadn't had enough experience dating. I had been in a long term relationship for almost sixteen years, but that ended two years prior to my meeting the Jew from the Internet. But I was sure and he had already started running away from love, from me, from commitment.
Our dance, the Ben and Joan show, has lasted for almost four years. He would call, see me, leave me for seven months, call again, see me. It was a sad and painful loop because I really fell hard. He loved me, too, but he didn't want a relationship. So really, he didn't love me, right. He was care-taking his parents, still is, busy with making documentaries, and I understood, really understood and I moved on.
I really did move on, worked on myself, went to therapy, had a boyfriend, broke up with the boyfriend (maybe I still loved Ben), saw a few men along the way, had a few one night stands with much younger men, considered myself cured and then....
A call at the beginning of March. This time a little shy of seven months. But right on time.
"Are you married yet?" he asks. He always asks that.
"Are you dating?" He always asks that.
"Because I seem to only attract schmuks."
"This is ridiculous, Joan. You are vibrant, beautiful..." Yada, yada, yada.
The catch up. Everything is fine. Family good. Finished the book. Still teaching all the same clients, lots more yoga at UCLA. All is good. Goodbye. Be well. Conversation over. Thought nothing more of it.
End of March: Email: "I give up." I called.
"What are you giving up about?" I asked.
"I can't find your number," he lied.
"You just called me at the beginning of the month," I said boldly.
"I've looked all around...."
He was tired of missing me, tired of being alone without a buddy, getting older, growing older...wanted to see me...saw me, love at first sight again.
But is it love at first sight again? I was finished with him in my book. It was cathartic to wright about it. I loved that it had ended. In my heart, I knew he could always come back for a phone visit. I could always conjure up a phone call when I felt like talking to him. I felt like a witch but it worked. But in person was something different now because I'm different.
When an old lover returns, when the intensity is still there, and there is still no promise of consistency let alone commitment, what's it all about Alfie? At this moment, writing this blog on a Sunday with no call (it's a weekend, buddy!), I am sure he is the same man five years ago. I knew he couldn't bring himself to be available on a Sunday when a couple in love likes to hang out at a movie or at the local art fair today. He never did before and he cannot do it now. I'm not close to the top of priorities. His promise to work on changing is nothing but wishful thinking. He can't. I told him men don't change. A zebra cannot change its stripes. He is just lonely, needs a buddy, a hug, sex from time to time, but his priority remains the same: he is his priority. His needs, his responsibilities. I told him once, near the bitter end, that he expects the woman to give everything and he gives nothing in return. If he gives it is at his convenience. Maybe it's common for men; maybe it isn't. Women give no matter what. We are givers and nurturers and, sometimes, fools.
The good news is that I have no expectation and attachment to an outcome. I'm still having fun in my single life and it feels good. How long will this situation last with the same old, same old with Ben. Not very long. I'm wiser now, more confident. You'd think it's about time since I'm blasted 65!
Oh, but age doesn't matter in questions of love. Isn't it odd that women's relationships with love and men, no matter the age, is fraught with common threads if obsolete expectations and romantic fantasies. We've all experienced these common threads since we started to date and fall madly in love with the high school football quarterback. Gender relationships are difficult enough to sustain, but you'd think by 60 that things would just mellow out. It can be the case or it doesn't have to be the case. Stay balanced and in the center of your being. It works.
So the lesson here is to be slightly detached about the whole business of old lovers, new lovers, old husbands, new husbands and not let our emotions get ahead of the present moment. I am in the present and it's very powerful.
I salute all our divine sisters who have ever been in love.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I've been remiss in not writing in my blog. I had an assignment. An agent was interested in my book, SO YOU'RE 6O, GET OVER IT: CONFESSIONS OF A BEATNIK/BOOMER, and she wanted a full book proposal. I've been avoiding writing it for a month but, since an agent requested one, I had to hunker down and do it. It took me days. I usually don't have writer's block because I am genetically predisposed to talking and writing, but my resistance was based on principle and laziness and not ability. I did it. It's done. If any other agent asks for a book proposal, I have it.
The good news is I'm on letter M in the alphabet in my search for an agent. Sometimes I cheap and take my divining rod and select a random out of order agent, say a T agent or an R agent. That's my rebellious side.
But even better news is that I don't have osteroporosis. My bones aren't shrinking. In fact, I am above average in my bone density. I am thrilled. But more importantly, my doctor was so happy over the phone when he left me the message. He was practically giddy. He thought for sure I was shrinking - "you skinny, white woman, you" he must have been thinking. I told him I teach yoga and I was not at risk. "Yeah, yeah," he brushed me off. Maybe he'll believe me when I tell him that the benefits of yoga for good health out-flank drugs by intergalactic miles.
I was walking on air all week. You'd think I'd fallen in love. I have no idea why I was so happy about my strong skeleton. Of course, I'm a yoga instructor and teach all day every day and why would I have thinning bones. You never know, however. My mother at 97 has skrunk to less than 5 feet and 80 pounds. Her spine is so curved she cannot stand up. I don't want to end up like that at 97. I'll just be in my prime at 97, ready for love and sex and more travel.
I also saw my dentist this week. He's been in love with me for over 25 years. He keeps hoping I'll have an affair with him even though I told him years ago that I don't "do" married men. One of those in a lifetime is sufficient, thank you. But he keeps giving me free teeth cleaning in the hopes I'll succumb. Not only will I not succumb, I keep taking the free teeth cleaning. We have no one to go when my dentist is conducting the every four months conversation with me, like do I have a boyfriend (NO!) or am I dating (No!). "Why not?" he asks. "Not interested," I respond. He looks sad. I hide my lies behind my positive smile.
Question: Do I miss the sex or do I miss the company of a man?
I went tango dancing last night. It's my weekly milonga (place where we go to dance Argentine tango) and saw an old maestro of mine. He was splendid at 70. And he just divorced his wife this last year and they were married unhappily for over 20 years. Funny about life and people. I couldn't figure out why he was so vibrant and alive and sexy. Damn! He was single again. We danced, and then he said to me in Spanish, "You're happy, aren't you?" Thank God I understood him quickly. "Yes, por su puestro, Fecundo." "I thought so," he said in Spanish. "So am I." It was a perfect exchange to a lovely evening.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Did you know that most of the airports in the great and glorious and super tech U.S. do not have Internet access, and if they do, we have to pay for it! This is the United States of American in the year 2009. Years ago I went to Amsterdam and the Internet was available at free computer stations and I thought I died and went to heaven.
Can't we do something about this situation of no Internet access in airports? We are supposed to be the leaders of the free world and we can't even access our Internet for free in our airports! It's a pathetic and shameful situation. But what is more pathetic and shameful is that no one does anything about it. No hue and cry; no letters to the editor; no flood of email to our so-called legislatures. When are we ever going to give something away for free in this country? Hey! Aren't the airwaves free anyway?
I was sitting in the Las Vegas airport last night waiting for a delayed plane. Every Southwest plane was delayed because there were very strong winds and dust storms in the lower and upper deserts. Los Angeles weather was just as bad. I thought I'd get on standby on the flight before mine, but I was #20 and it wasn't going to happen. Out of a sense of desperation, I asked the man sitting next to me if he thought I could get Internet access in the airport. "Not in this B Gate," he said with authority. "You mean there are other gates with Internet access?" I asked excitedly. "Yeah, you can get it at Gates A and C." The obvious question was "What happened to Gate B." I felt stupid asking but I asked anyway. "They ran out of money," he replied. "My company wired A and C Gates and they ran out of money right after that."
I wanted to know who ran out of money, but I figured it was the McCarren airport with its usual shortfall. Airports always have money problems and that's why most of them look half finished or in need a facelift almost immediately after they are built. If you've been to LAX recently, you'll know what I mean. Outdated and outmoded.
But where was the outrage not only at the lack of sophistication and technological expertise, but it was also one of the most chaotic scenes I have ever witnessed in an airport and I've been to many airports around the world in my long life. Okay, India and Cairo are really bad. I was stepping over bodies all over Gate C. People were practically pitching tents it took so long for Southwest to get organized with their out of control flight delays. I waited an extra 50 minutes after my plane landed because there was no crew. They were coming in on another flight that was delayed and then delayed before that. It took five hours to get home on a flight that was 46 minutes.
Did we Boomers march and protest in the good old days or was it my imagination? What makes us so complacent now, so lazy, so like lemmings being lead to the edge of the cliff and told to keep going and we do and we fall in to Iraq or Guantanamo? We've been content with less than adequate situations and immoral and unethical conditions for decades since our Vietnam protests and our Civil Rights days, and we've become immobile and satiated with too much food and good times to care a wit that we are actually sitting in pig shit.
I was starting to get radical sitting on the floor with my computer on my lap, my butt and legs numb from the hours of waiting. I tried desperately to stir up some opposition to the enervating atmosphere. No one took the bait. No one seemed to care that we had been reduced to shells of our former selves, filled with stale pizza and sub sandwiches with too much doughy white bread and pepperoni. Hours before we took off, our cell phones ceased to interest us so all we could do was just stare into space and find solace in the din of white noise.
Even I was beyond impatience and hostility. I, too, crossed a mental line after failing to muster any support to picket the poor woman giving out hourly flight updates, which no one was responding to because the florescent lights had given us a lobotomy. It was simply no use to shout, "Let's burn our bras and take over Southwest." There wasn't a Boomer in sight who could have lasted an hour in a Gate C sit in. What happened us? Where is our edge? What will finally make us take up arms against a sea of trouble and by opposing squash the incompetents.
Or maybe I should just focus on finding a really cool and smart male companion to get me off of my mini-rant. I'd at least get some satisfaction.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Sometimes it is tough being a parent of adult children and an ex-wife all in the same night. With trepidation I entered the restaurant wearing both hats.
I mentioned in my first blog yesterday that I had hoped the birthday dinner of my oldest son was going to go well. It was a family affair, minus one of my daughter-in-laws who was sick. My ex-husband was the host. My two sons were present as was my oldest son's wife, my other daughter-in-law.
This birthday dinner should should have been routine, but nothing is routine in my family it seems. There is always something going on. We have a bit of a tendency to catastrophize events. Couldn't I be 65 and have no drama at a family gathering? Shouldn't every issues have been resolved by now? It wasn't and why should it. That's just the family dynamic. But it is beyond tedious. Sometimes I feel we are the The Adams Family on crack.
But this time we did not fit the goulish description of TV's one most popular program. Yet, we didn't fit the phoney "Leave It To Beaver" family either. Last night we fell somewhere in the middle of "Arrested Development" and "Brothers and Sisters."
My sons had fought bitterly over the winter holiday. No need to give you the details, but somewhere in a matter of an hour, a stealth bomber had entered my ex-husband's house in Park City and exploded with flares and fires between my two sons. The fight, a little on the physical side (let's just say they were chasing each other down the stairs and I broke them up in the laundry room), ruined the evening planned by my ex at a country club with his dearest friends. I had flashbacks of the horror I felt at seeing my two boys go after each other in the manner they once did as kids. I entered the country club, crying buckets as I entered the bar and drowned myself in a martini was was only four ounces and had no visible alcoholic content. Of course, we were in Utah! Everyone else put on a brave face.
Last night's birthday dinner was the first time I had been in the same room at the same table with my sons. I wasn't privy to all that had been said and not said throughout the last three months. I deliberately absented myself from my family for awhile. It was my their fight and not mine. Wasn't that good of me? There were years when I always tried to make it all better for everyone and failed miserably. But this time I closed my mouth and threw away the key. Is that what it's like being 60is and wise? Who knew it was that simple?
It all went well. There were laughs; there were stories. My second son had just returned from Austin and the South X Southwest music festival and my oldest had returned from DC on business. It seemed he went jogging with a couple of right wing Christian Republicans around the Lincoln and Washington monuments ending up at the steps of the Capitol in a bizarre and really out of body experience for my son. The Austin music festival was fascinating for all of us. My ex, usually somber and sarcastic, was actually animated, albeit still argumentative. I ate and drank great wine and relished listening to the conversation. No one came away emotionally scared. It was a miracle.
I never thought, never could imagine myself in my 60's living with a sense of foreboding or anxiety. It was like my faucets got switched. Which one was I turning on for what feeling. Last night at dinner I told my daughter-in-law that I had an outer body experience for a few minutes. Of course, I was sitting there single again and facing my ex-husband and realizing that it was actually our 45 wedding anniversary if we had still been married. I toyed with bringing it to his attention or making a joke or a toast to years of knowing each other but we really didn't know each other at all. We pretended to know each other a long time ago when we were in our twenties. That was long ago and far away and there was no sentiment left. His struggles, and there are many, including the primary one of his living in a cave without light (my code for being unconscious), were too painful for me last night. Bringing up an old, mangled marriage memory was out of the question. I couldn't go home again.
Live is certainly not lived on a level playing field, but is a wildly interesting character study.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Greetings, Boomers. Greeting to those who are 60 and over and living la vida loca.
This is my first blog. I'm nervous, anxious and technically challenged. I'd rather write in Word. It's probably no different than writing a blog, but it feels different. I'm expressing my deeepest sense of self into virtual reality. It feels impersonal. I would prefer talking about living in my 60's face to face with a real person. But I'm forging on, taking a personal risk and dancing as if no one was watching.
I just finished writing a book called, So You're 60, Get Over It: Confessions of a Beatnik/Boomer. I had no intention of writing another book. My fantasy was to do stand up comedy. Soon after turning 64, well sometime before that probably, I began to think of my 60's as a pretty strange and funny time when all the rules of living I once abided by were totally gone. I wasn't really a parent anymore in the traditional sense; I was a cheerleader for my kids. I became a grandparent, but it was really somebody else's child, and I had no say as to how to raise my progeny. My children were adults and living their own life without my approval and caring less about my disapproval, which I could not voice. My sons had turned the child-parent paradigm upside down by parenting me instead a long time before this. I was now the one doing everything wrong. And since I am single and sometimes dating, I have to keep my social life separate from my family life. And if I didn't, the question was: why did I date losers? More important the dynamics of sex has changed and not for the good. Sex is part of a relationship negotiation at 60. Men and women are not having sex on a level playing field. Men are losing testosterone but women can replace estrogen levels and have a pretty good sex life. It is definitely time to try younger men.
Everything about my life us crazy except my work. I'm a yoga and meditation teacher fine tuning the spiritual mind/body connection living my Tao while practicing daily losing.
But sex preoccupies me. Not only do I like sex, but I also thint that sex in my 60's is particularly funny and strange and sweet and generally kind of an out of body experience. One Saturday night as I was attending my regular milonga, the place where I go to dance Argentine tango (more later on that other passions of mine), I told a female friend, a film director, that I my fantasy was to do stand up about sex in my 60's and all the various, idiosyncratic and funny situations I and other women my age have encountered. My friend replied to me: "That's more than stand up. You should write a book." And I did and it was blissful and cathartic and full of wonderment at discovering my transformation as a woman in my 60's.
So I put myself out there at 60, expose my innermost thoughts and desires and fears, looking for a way to be joyful and grateful every day for all my gifts of family and friends and yoga and tango and music. I'm inspired and hopeful.
Times are difficult for us all. It's not easy to find the humor in living with half my retirement gone, gone, gone and still working at 65 and looking at 66, 67, and 68 and on to 70 as working years. But I decided that the economic downturn gives me another gift: the ability to create, see clearer, be more inspired, and more loving to my family. Now if I could not stop obsessing about the DOW, I might be able to clear out most of my cobwebs and be more conscious.
I didn't mean to get serious in my first blog. But since I finished my book, the times got more serious for us Boomers. Bad economic news is a definite drag and causes depression. So can tax season. We'll all get past this moment because what goes down must come up. I'm an eternal optimist.
But right now, I've got to be a grandmother because the my grandsons, Jordan, 4, and Luc, 2, are getting up from their naps. Everyone is sick. Even Greyson, my youngest grandson (10 months) whom I babysat for yesterday. My entire family, including my ex-husband, are all in Las Vegas, both my sons and daughters in law, my 97 year old mother, my brother and his wife, and my best friend. I'm on my once a month weekend warrior visit. I don't go to Vegas for fun; I go to connect with my family. And sometimes it can be fun. Jordan just came into my room to ask me for a drink so I'm off to spend the rest of the weekend celebrating my oldest son's birthday (Jonathan, 37) and to hope that the rift between my sons (Aaron, 33) will begin to heal. I feel like I'm a bottle of glue with arms and legs stretching out to bring my family some peace and hope.
This is not what I expected from being in my 60's. Where is my script? My cheat sheet? My advanced curriculum for Living 101? I'm winging it like everyone other Boomer.
The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.