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8:49 p.m. - 2012-09-30
All Right Now.

The theme to my life these days.

Not complaining. Truly. Sometimes I get that guilty stomach clench thing, an ugly nudge telling me I am going to regret not doing more with myself and my life while I have the chance.

I question that voice.

What exactly am I supposed to be doing? Making more money? Trying harder to be some big shit SOMEbody? I remember how important that latter thing used to be to me. Upon further reflection I came to understand my desperate desire to be a big shit SOMEbody was so I could go to the one person who'd told me I was worse than worthless and prove I had value. The original one who'd thrown me away. I used to fantasize about showing up at my Da's house with a stack of my bestsellers under my arm, me looking bitching tough and cool with a tiny waist, high heeled boots and my hair all pointy, and finally forcing him to admit I was great. That he'd been oh so wrong. And damn was he sorry! Sorry he'd walked out. Sorry he'd turned his back. Sorry he'd fobbed me onto a stepfather and allowed that dim but very kind man to make his name my own. Sorry he'd sold me off like a used couch on Craig's List. See, Da? You fucked up big time when you wrote me off!

There is only him left, you see. All the others who'd laid the 'Life Ruiner' label on me are dead, divorced from me, or otherwise gone, gone, gone. Like my sisters. Like the ex I'd wasted 25 years on. Like my elder son.

Yeah, I used to dream of greatness. But only for the recognition. I used to have a bad, bad case of Mama Rose.

I never wanted to be famous for my own self, I only wanted to be famous for the regret it would cause everyone who'd done me dirty when I was small and weak and obscure.

I know better now.

I understand the dopiness of believing I could win love and approval and heart space from those who'd never wanted or understood me in the first place. If someday I could pay my way in with riches, recognition and influence I'd be vindicated. Duh! If my sisters suddenly started liking me if I became a big shit SOMEbody it would only be because they were following the herd. My Da? Doesn't matter how famous or rich I was, he'd just laugh and tell me to go piss up a rope. He had his real kids, the sons he'd always wanted. Not me, the useless daughter he'd accidentally begot with my stupid mother in the backseat of a Nash Rambler at a drive-in movie when they were both barely 18 years old. My elder son, Alex? Yeah right. If that kid comes around it'd be for the money. I raised a self-serving, greedy brat. A child who fled the first time I insisted he give something back. The only way I'll ever see my firstborn again is if I win the lotto or become a distaff Stephen King.

Not one of those reasons is worth it.

This ties in with something I've been giving quite a bit of thought to recently. I've been wondering just how long I want to live.

For real. No, no. This isn't a pathetic attempted suicide "Notice me!" thing. What I'm pondering is this: How long do I want to live as an old lady?

I have friends, smart friends, well-intentioned friends who spend a great amount of money and time and effort in the pursuit of the healthiest life. They eat soy and never have cupcakes. They run and go to the gym and wear pedometers to track their 10,000 steps. These good people are doing everything they can to live forever. I cheer them on and wish them every success, but I have to wonder to what end are they doing this for? Is a life without french fries and mojitos really worth it?

I'll be turning 50 after the holidays. My looks? Gone. My ability to bear children? Over. My career prospects? Limited. Health? Only downhill from here. If we take quality of life and potential for earnings, surprises and adventures into account, throw in that my mental acuity and physical desirability will continue to degrade and that soon enough I'll be pissing people off at Shoprite while I fumble around with my maddeningly slow self producing coupons and dealing with that scary confusing electronic payment thingie (if I don't already), why would I want to live for another 50 years? To what end? How long do I want to hang on after I can't drive a car anymore? How many illnesses? How many pills every morning? How long do I want to be around to leak pee when I sneeze and laugh?

Look, I'm not advocating putting the elderly on ice floes because they can't contribute equally to the welfare of the tribe anymore. I am speaking only for myself. I had my shot and I blew it. So what do I do now? I have gotten to see how sweet it is when someone wants me. And I'm all good now. Life's mission complete. My children are grown or nearly so and my Mom time is almost over. I am not beautiful or sexy at all these days, even Mick will concur on this. All the people I'd hoped to wring approval and acceptance from are gone. My ambitions (such as they were) have shown themselves to be nothing more than the howls of a hurt and lonely kid who wanted the satisfaction of an apology.

I'm looking into a future that has nothing but more pain and loss on the horizon. Pain and loss have been my daily meal since ever so how much effort do I truly want to devote to scoring another five decades of it?

So far my answer is: Zero.

I like Cheetos. I love my sleepwalking days. I am content. My guys get home from school on the weekdays and we talk and laugh and eat the nice dinner I cooked. On the weekends we go to movies and shop and occasionally go to car shows and craft fairs. There's no pressure. Life is good and easy and relatively pain-free. Finally. I just want to enjoy this brief grace space and not have to continue to claw my way into professional recognition, beat my bod to shit with aerobics and jogging, to say no to a good steak and snarkily brag about my cholesterol number. I don't want Botox injections or wear Spanx under my jeans. I don't want to struggle and battle and deny myself anymore for a future that will come no matter how much bran I gag down.

I'd rather spend the next 20 years at my ease, enjoying my little house and my quiet happiness and then die some nasty quick death- the price paid for whipped cream on my sundaes, hours of Sims and Netflix, peace of mind and spirit, and being here wholly in the moment with my sugary tea and a fried egg sandwich made with real butter than spend the next 50 years eschewing meat, salt, chocolate, beer, pancakes and high fructose corn syrup; dragging my tired ass to Planet Fitness to work and work and work some more; enduring some kind of joyless drudge-march toward my 100th birthday and knowing full well that every single day I do this crap I will NOT be prettier or a better writer or lover or friend, or be rewarded with a sliver more love and acceptance from the people who matter most. The ONLY thing I'll have is more time to work even harder on my absurdist's journey and maybe bragging rights over those who lived out my current life's path of excellent contented obscurity and dying young but happy.

Gee, another 50 years to have ugly old lady feet, a jowly pelican chin, sore muscles, and a stomach pretending to be thrilled with tofurkey. Another 50 years of society's impatience with my senior slowness and indifference to my voice- a woman past her sexual prime and therefor useless to anyone. Five more decades to suck up and deal with nearly the same kind of abuse and hate I'd been dished for my first five decades without my consent, only now I can deliberately turn my back on the stuff I finally found out made me happy so I can supposedly prove something by 'living' past my 100th birthday. Wowzers, sign me up.

Not!

Not my intention to criticize anyone. The older I get the more I am pro freedom of choice. Live as you will. Love who does ya. Eat and read and watch and write what you want to. The only thing I am sure of is my desire to be let alone to do those very things. To love my cranky Irishman and my sons (yes, even the one I'm totally pissed off at), to smoke my Virginia Slims, to eat bacon and General Tso's chicken, to bang my head against the wall of the freelance writer's kool kid's klub, to vote my conscience, to quietly regret my mistakes and make my peace with what I have left and be happy.

I started out by saying I was sleepwalking but really it's like this:


Doing okay, ~LA


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