I've just gone through the last three years of New Year's Day posts and they're less than scintillating. 2004--nothing; 2005--photo of my nephew and cousin; 2006--ah, this was the year I came into my own as a blogger. On January 1, 2006, I offered photos of the goose I cooked at Christmas (to be known forever more as either The CSI Goose, or The Only Goose I Will Have Ever Cooked); a little tidbit about the Rose Bowl, and a link to something about Camilla and Charles' wedding in which I made a prediction. I cannot be more specific about these last two, as I'm just not interested enough to reread them. Was I then? Or did I think that such links were what would make a Real Blogger of me? I suspect the latter.
I have no resolutions because I make them at Rosh Hashanah. And break them at Yom Kippur.
I am now in my seventh decade. Doesn't that just scare the fucking shit out of you (she says mostly to herself)? Particularly those of you who have resolved to quit swearing (yes, you over there with the Red Stapler). I would like to tell you that living all these years has made me a wiser woman, but--t'ain't so, McGee (that, I believe, is a cultural reference to a radio program from the 30s or 40s--I picked it up from my mother, who would be 98 this year).
The fact is that you are who you are no matter your age. It's kind of like that adage: you take yourself with you wherever you go. I don't know that stuff gets better; maybe you just don't care as much. Some days I accept who and what I am; some days I want a do-over.
I can remember looking at a photograph of my mother when she was a young woman and being amazed at how beautiful she once was. Didn't she mind, I wondered, getting old. When she looked at herself in the mirror now decades later, didn't she care terribly that she no longer looked the same? I think I asked her, as well as I could without coming out and saying, "Don't you just hate that you're no longer pretty and young?" To me, at that time, aging was a tragedy.
From this side of the mountain, however, it's not. Oh, I am not thrilled with age spots (for which Esoterica does nothing) or crepey skin or errant facial hair. But they don't define me. Somehow I have always had friends who were much younger than I (is this a sign of immaturity, that I play better with the little kids?), and I'm coming to realize that the age difference is more of an issue for me than it is for them. What is it that I'm nervous about?
Okay, here's the tell all. I'm scared of looking like a fool. I'm scared of being one of those old women who dresses like a kid. I'm scared of people saying about me, "why doesn't she act her age...find friends of her own...stop bothering us...stop thinking she has anything in common with us..."
Here's something I wrote, a poem I guess, dated August 20, 1973. I can tell from the paper I wrote it on that I was sitting in the Newsroom at the BBC. Make of that what you will:
To retain my cool at
That is my heart's
For my biggest fear
in this whole wide world,
Is looking like a fool.
Thirty-four years later, what has changed? My biggest fear now, I'd have to say, is how much that little ditty still governs my life. How much I have sacrificed to not looking like a fool.
I think there may be a resolution in there somewhere, but as I said--I don't do them this time of year.