D Is Not for Diet

Yesterday, as the turkey cooked and my husband napped, my mom and my sister and I got to talking about getting older. We talked about our fears of getting sick, falling, not being independent, and we even batted around the “D” word. Fear of dying is universal, but what’s interesting is how different one person’s fear is from another’s. My sister spoke about the “how”. My mom mentioned seeing a billboard about a development with a planned opening of 2020 and thought with some surprise that she very well might not be here to see that. I realized, not surprisingly, that my greatest fear is being left out. I can’t conceive of a world I am not a part of, of milestones I will miss, of family that will be born who won’t know me. I remember years ago, there was a lot of buzz about the test of a super collider that could conceivably cause the earth to be sucked into a black hole. I loved this idea. If I have to die, I’m taking everyone I love with me. Nobody will have more fun than “Dead Me”, cause we will all be dead. I am well aware that this is a very self-skewed view of life and death. And I am not blind to the fact that if I live fully in today, try the things I’ve always wanted to try, not just talk about them from the streets of Someday, USA, I won’t be nearly as scared of a world in which I am a fond memory, an old photograph. And maybe, just, maybe, I will be able to look around at others’ lives without envy and longing because “Live Me” is having a ball.
Woman w/ Beehive Howls at the Moon

Those Extra Bags Are Gonna Cost You

Someone I care about a lot spent most of the day Sunday in the hospital waiting for test results. Of course, I spent the day worrying. Thankfully, the tests showed nothing wrong, so I stopped worrying. For about a minute. Now I’m walking around with a low grade terror and waking up with bags under my eyes that make me look like a cross between a shar pei and Eleanor Roosevelt. Now as anyone who knows me, or reads this blog, knows, I am a veteran worrier. I’m gonna worry unless I have complete and total assurance that there is absolutely, positively, conclusively nothing wrong, and nothing bad is gonna happen. Well, that assurance, if it comes, is pretty much a lie. No one can ever know what’s coming, good or bad. We can plan and prepare. We can eat healthy and reduce stress. We can floss and exercise and look both ways before we cross the street. But while we’re keeping an eye out for an out of control bus, the sun gets in our eyes, blinding us so we walk into a pole and fall into a manhole, never to be seen again. Let’s face it, bad things happen, whether I worry or not. And meanwhile my life passes me by and before you can blink an eye, I’ve missed the good because I was too busy waiting for the bad, and I’ve got bags under my eyes that are gonna cost me.


That’s Gonna Leave a Mark!

This weekend, there was a mini-reunion of Pitt theatre department alumni in Pittsburgh. This included a tour of the three theaters, two which have been renovated since I left 31 years ago, and one which wasn’t even there in my day. I had hoped to go, but in the end, financial concerns dictated otherwise. Friends who went have been posting pictures which has been a real treat. And yet…I have been hungrily perusing the pictures with a mix of teary-eyed smiles and a little pain in my gut. I have the most wonderful memories of being part of the theatre community at Pitt. I belonged to something extraordinary and truth be told, I probably did the best work there as an actress that I would ever do. I miss that much more than I realized. And it always shocks me to realize that more than 30 years have passed in the blink of an eye. I know I’m not alone when I believe at 18 or 21 that I am going to live forever and time spreads out in front of me like the limitless ocean. I look at my nieces with their whole lives in front of them. I want to give them all the advice my dad gave me. But I didn’t listen to him and they won’t listen to me. It is a right of passage to listen to our elders and then turn around and do whatever the hell we want, to look ahead at time spread out in front of us like the limitless ocean. Will there come a time when I don’t get that little kick in the gut at how much of that ocean is now behind me? When I don’t feel a physical ache at dreams I didn’t pursue? I hope so. There are dreams yet undreamed. There are seas not yet explored. And every drop is precious.

Our Burdens Wear Wings

Blur Me

It often occurs to me as I read a lot of my previous posts, that they aren’t necessarily about getting older. Sometimes, they’re just about life, albeit from the perspective of someone who is, in fact, getting older. And maybe that’s the point. There isn’t a single thing on earth, living or otherwise, that isn’t getting older. From the day we’re born, we age. And that’s a good thing. Imagine a world full of smooth-faced newborns who scream a lot, but don’t have much to say. So, let’s revisit getting older just a little before we return to the business of living. Wrinkles, age spots, lumps and bumps that never seem to disappear, creaky joints, gas, the need to color my hair more often to retain my natural red hair, bunions, bad knees, weak ankles, a spare tire around my middle that grows in direct proportion with the the decreasing distance between my boobs and my pelvis, and did I mention gas? Wisdom, growth, passion, 3 nieces that have become amazing young women I can actually talk to, old friends, greater perspective, less fear, more joy, lessons learned, experiences, good and bad, memories, life. There’s a cosmetic movement that’s become sort of the next big thing. One company calls it “Miracle Blur”, others call it a primer. It’s basically spackle for your face. It smooths out all the lines and the wrinkles and makes you ten years younger! Only it doesn’t, not really. I still see the laugh lines around my eyes, the cranky lines between my brows, the life I’ve lived. There’s a fine line between being your best self and erasing the life off of your face. What we are is a patchwork of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, what we’ve gained and lost. If we blur the lines, all we are left with is a smooth-faced newborn who screams a lot, but doesn’t have much to say.

Patchwork Quilt Series #1, #2, #3