Growing is hard work, and out of your control a lot of times. It happens whether you think you’re ready or not.
I truly want to grow and think I have a pretty great attitude about it, but I don’t. Not completely: I want to be in charge of WHAT changes, HOW MUCH … WHEN and towards what (perfect) ends.
The good news: I might be past the worst of my midlife crisis, and am embracing good changes. Want to read about them? This month (National Bike Month, coincidentally) I’ll post more here about a significant lifestyle change we made at the end of March right as my grandma died (which was harder for me because of other family issues it brought up than actually losing my grandma) and this crazy overheated early spring unfolded … AND as the person I’ve been spending the most time with other than my wife decided to move out of state for a new job.
AND PRINCE DIED! Maybe that has nothing to do with me and I shouldn’t take that loss so personally, but his passing has been a touchstone of grief and strengthening wellspring of affirmation and inspiration at the same time.
Note: I was in a bad mood when I started this post, but writing it adjusted my attitude to CRAZY INVINCIBILITY by the end!
My mid-life crisis anxiety has been so revved up over money challenges, fear of failure, our biological clocks ticking, overwhelming necessary work transitions/reinventions, social/interpersonal sadness, and feelings of incompetence that I got fixated on how I’m about to turn 42 . . . to the point where I started thinking I already *am* 42, and was telling people I’m 42, and about to turn 43.
But I’m still 41!For a couple more days.
The whole trying-to-get-pregnant thing (with doctors who are younger than I am looking at me like, “lady you better HURRY UP if you’re serious about this, because you are fucking OLD! Do you know how old you are? Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re REALLY PUSHING IT, Grandma”) amped up my fear to the point where all I could think is that I’m too old . . . and just getting older. That it’s too late for alllllll of the good things I want, and all the good things I want to be. That tons of doors are shutting all around me. My time is up – I squandered it. Wasted my youth, my privilege, my health, my IDENTITY. Now I just have to figure out how to make do really fast and SAVE us from all of our debt.
This was supposed to be a happy-go-lucky positive-thinking post where I talked about OH WOW SEE ALL THAT NEGATIVE THINKING JUST MADE ME AGE MYSELF PREMATURELY AND I’M AS YOUNG AS I FEEL AND I CAN FEEL *GREAT* AS LONG AS I TURN THIS FROWN UPSIDE DOWN AND RECOGNIZE THAT I’M JUST AS FULL OF POTENTIAL AS I WAS TEN OR FIFTEEN OR TWENTY YEARS AGO IF NOT *MORE* AND YAY SO HAPPY AND EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING!!!
Guessing I need to not work myself up into having more attachments to big dreams, but to surrendering to just being happy with what IS, right now; I have white hairs sprouting up in my pubes, and I don’t actually just LIKE having text on my kindle enlarged to hugeness . . . I need bifocals or reading glasses to wear with my contacts because I’m becoming farsighted in addition to my already-deeply blurred life with this astigmatism and near-sightedness.
And my neck. My motherfucking NECK! How did I not see these ghastly loose flabby neck wrinkles coming?!? They’re in my genes and I made it worse by gaining and losing so much weight. Yes, forty extra pounds is MUCH WEIGHT. I’ll tell you more about that in more explicit pictures one of these days.
I hate it when people bitch about shit like this. I hate how much I’m doing and saying stuff that I hate.
I don’t want to be pretty. I never really did. What I wanted was to be immortal.
Apparently I don’t know how to make realistic goals.
But wait, THAT’S NOT TRUE!! I mean, it’s true many of my goals and dreams are unrealistic, but FUCK IT – our lives are awesome because we do shit most realistic people don’t have the balls to do.
I used to be 5’2″ until I made it a goal to be 5’3″ in my thirties. GUESS WHAT?? I’m an inch taller! I made myself taller. IT’S THE TRUTH!!
And speaking of even more fantastical transformations: this is my wife, Delia, now:
Delia showing off her tits in Vegas.
This was my wife twelve years ago:
There was so much more to her transition than gender presentation.
Fuck “reality”. What a stupid cage. I’m going for immortal.
And thanking Delia (who NEVER complains about getting older, or any of the myriad challenges much bigger than mine that she meets with sweetness and serenity) for it. And remembering that there are a lot of people who can’t just *think* themselves into being healthier and happier. I want to get rid of our debts so we can do more to help other people.
A song we sang at “sundown” at this one Catholic camp I went to once (I’m not Catholic, I just wanted to impose myself on my friend’s experiences). I’d never heard “Hurry Sundown” prior to that so I believed the counselors who said one of them wrote all the songs we sang, including this one, which I did not recall beginning so hilariously creepily (and without the trumpets it’s actually a pretty cool song to sing on a beach, especially if you completely disregard the beginning or you’re a melodramatic teenager in the 1980’s):
One of the uniquely beautiful and unusually relateable-to-us twists the movie takes on romance is that Adam and Eve live alone (like we have kinda started doing part-time though both our spaces are still jointly ours, Delia works better in Seattle & I work better at home), separate from each other . . . many time zones apart:
They live apart because they can, because it doesn’t deprive them of time together. “If you live that long, separation for a year might feel like a weekend,” says Jarmusch, his voice a spacey drawl. “It’s not an obligation, it’s an emotional connection.” -in The Guardian
It didn’t seem like it only felt like a weekend to them, though . . . otherwise they wouldn’t have been asked by their dearest fellow-vampire friend WHY they didn’t live together. Their living arrangement seems like an alternative lifestyle choice even by immortal standards, and it’s pretty clear that they can’t take each other’s lives for granted.
I think some people need time to brood and compose funeral music. Some people need to walk alone through old cities at night listening to music from the outside in. Those kinds of people don’t always thrive on being eternally joined at the hip to someone, day in and day out. They like quietly finding treasures to store up and share with each other later.
When you have the gift and obligation of enormous freedom, you should be able to use it to craft a lifestyle and environment that meet your creative and aesthetic needs and support the development of whatever rare thing you’re meant to make, even if it’s just an odd life well-lived. It isn’t perfect, and sometimes it’s lonely . . . but not the same kind of lonely it would be without your Adam or Eve to call or come visit and see how you’re holding up. To *know* you inside and out and that you’re brooding, and to not freak out too much about the single bullet you had custom-made even though the threat of that kind of loss would bring utter desolation to the other. They just know you’re not capable of traveling to them, so they better come to you because they are the more stable and competent one.
This month we signed a lease to keep our Seattle studio apartment / second home for another year+. We’re not sure whether it was the right thing to do or not. It’s only been in the past few months that we’ve spent longer stretches (almost a week sometimes) apart and I’ve started to remember what it feels like to be lonely without her. A few times it’s actually really fucking sucked, but I think it’s a good and necessary challenge towards building the kind of work life I can function best with, and a model for what we eventually want our dream home-and-work-spaces-and-schedules to be like.
Having a mid-life crisis for me isn’t just about grappling with my mortality — that alone would be hard enough — but I’m lucky enough that it’s also been a pretty fucking big identity crisis. As a product of good fortune, many things I’ve built my identity around for the past fourteen years have been slowly stripped away in the past two or three — that is actually PROGRESS. I’m being forced to see how little of it — how little of my”self” — is essential. When Delia isn’t with me all day every day, all night every night, I’m given an even deeper opportunity to face myself, and sometimes my “self” feels less solid and more empty than I ever imagined it could.
Most people define themselves by their families and/or their work; I’m super lucky to be taking a step back to refine and reshape my work, but it’s scary – I feel like I have a narrow window of time to plot the best and most fruitful course to 1) rescue us from debt, 2) provide us with some security (like a home and well-equipped work spaces) and all the resources we need to continue working healthily in some ways without having to do work that relies on our QUICKLY FADING YOUTH, and 3) shape the rest of my life, and I’m afraid I’m going to fuck it up or hear the TIME’S UP buzzer or miss out on the kind of magic I won’t be able to experience in ten or twenty years (which is total fucking bullshit).
(Happily) childless, without my partner or any family with me many days, and without the illusion that any one element of my old job(s) is necessary on a daily basis I kind of struggle to feel valuable. Every day that passes during what has almost become one part personal rehab and another part a glimmering invitation to sabbatical (if only I would mindfully TREAT it as such instead of wallowing in cycles of depression and anxiety and paralyzing indecision and practical-hopelessness) I recognize how much I really need to deal with basic fundamental shit like WHO AM I and WHAT DO *I* LIKE AND VALUE ABOUT MYSELF and HOW CAN I BE A BETTER PERSON AND PARTNER AND CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF HUMANKIND.
I thought by now I would have built some sort of legacy I’d be proud of. But now that I’m here, my standards are higher and my behavior and productivity is lower. I don’t feel like I have something solid and coherent to show for myself that I’m really really proud of except the basic semi-odds-defying survival of our business this far . . . without any guarantee it will continue since the odds get harder to beat with every passing year. But hahaha even as I type that I recognize I do have a pretty fucking insane level of confidence in my ability to make money since I argued with myself over that line, like “NO WORRIES – I WILL **ALWAYS** FIND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY.” So there’s that, which has always served me well and kept me much more independent than most people – it is one part privilege, one part type-A first-born entitled overconfidence, and another part a gambler’s compulsive comfort with taking financial, legal and social risks other people would consider foolhardy. Unfortunately, at this point a major part of my identity crisis is that MY WIFE’S WORK is what’s bringing in most of the dough these days. WHAT HAVE I BECOME???????
In many ways things are pretty fucking awesome for us right now, but they aren’t going to stay that way and they DEFINITELY aren’t going to get better (which they must at this stage in our lives) unless I make some big changes. And I feel like they need to be DRAMATIC.
But I keep wasting(?) time pondering things like using the space we made to dance and exercise downstairs by giving up normal furniture to GET MY PIANO BACK. Even though there’s no place to put it except in the middle of the fucking room. But now seems like the perfect time to get my piano back. I’m not going to compose brilliant funeral music, but I’m having a hard time understanding who I am and believing I can sustain the rest of my life just by sitting in front of computers. And because we have this space from each other — because we have a foundation of years of knowing and loving and being safe with each other — it’s possible for us to stay up all night if we want to making noises without disturbing each other.
It got better — in fact, I thought it was totally gone — so maybe I overdid it and wore myself out a few days ago. Wound up with my sore throat back with a clogged thick swollen VENGEANCE.
No matter how much I love people and want to spend time with them and no matter how awesome and accommodating they are and how little they demand of me and no matter how little energy I appear to exert socializing, I still burn through so much fuel SO FAST whenever I’m with people. Also: I don’t know when to get off the phone / say goodnight / turn in. I suck at transitions, and honestly do not want to cut my time short with people.
The more time I get to spend alone, the more obvious it becomes that . . . I NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME ALONE. Both work time AND free time. It’s always been that way. It will always be that way. It is even more so that way when I’m physically unhealthy.
I now have unprecedented levels of freedom to make that desperate lifelong-wish for a hermit’s lifestyle (with the security and love of my wife) a reality and am (STILL!) in the process of learning how to guiltlessly embrace and harness it.
On top of that, over the past two weeks Delia helped me realize that I do better in our small-town peninsula home than I do in the Seattle apartment. I get more fresh air and exercise and I am happier.
These are the last few weeks of me being forty.
As I close out the first forty years of my life — a whole entire lifetime for many people who have walked this earth — with the sun in my sign (Pisces)* and advancing towards Spring (it already feels like Spring, even though we woke up to snow today), I’m focusing on spending time with myself and practicing guarding myself from letting anything or anybody distract me from making rough maps and taking inventories of my tools and provisions for the journeys I want to go on over the next forty years of my life, if I’m so lucky.
I’m smoking less, which means dreaming more . . . and trying to dream-journal more. And focusing on limiting things I do NOT want populating my dreams in favor of only inviting in things that are necessary, healthy, beautiful, and/or part of the kinds of stories I’m interested in being told all night long. When I’m powered-up to do more, I’m going to make better choices about where I put my time and energy when (and only IF) I have more of it to share.
I also have to do a lot of drudgery to slog through, like taxes.
For most of my life, fall was my favorite season.
Now it’s spring. Definitely SPRING!
*I don’t believe in astrology, but sometimes I pretend that I do, and lots of things about it are true and/or fun and/or inspiring for me.
The patch on my back is to try to help my headache go away from spending too many hours working at the computer yesterday.
His stories are alive in my head often. I read him as fantasy and western more than sci fi, starting out in eighth grade with Dandelion Wine which I failed to finish for a book report (so I faked it) but what I *did* read of it stuck so deep in me and was so new to me genre-wise that I kept thinking about it and remembering the magic parts I’d absorbed until I read the whole thing and more.
When we moved into this smaller house I actually forced myself to part with a couple of duplicate copies I had of The Illustrated Man and Dandelion Wine (they had different artwork on the covers!) and all the others except the ones I’m in bed with here are in storage.
Not sure, but I think Ray Bradbury was the first author . . . oh no, wait. Judy Blume was probably the first author I thought of as a person whose work I wanted to specifically seek out and read more of. But anyway, LOVE RAY BRADBURY and am glad he left behind so so so many stories, and so many different KINDS of stories, and that (wow, I’m tearing up now thinking of how important this is to me) he wrote such rich and loved and amazing older women. It’s been a long time since I read those, so I don’t know how they’d read to me now, but I know that they had a profound influence on me. Those characters and their big roles in stories are missing in most of American culture. It was a blessing to read old women as important.
I didn’t grow up with Data or David . . . I was a kid in the seventies, when we had The Electric Grandmother:
Sweet Jesus, watching that again is weird . . . the librarians at our public library showed it a dozen times, I swear, and it felt like a really grown-up movie to cry to as a child in the seventies.
Welcome to my blog and homemade porn site! I've been a proud WebWhore since the year 2000; I plan to make porn for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy exploring my personal site whether it's getting to know me through my words or seeing me naked in my pictures, videos and webcams!-Trixie