Friday, April 25, 2008

Rising From the Ashes...

This is not original but has been circulating on e-mail, and it spoke to me today. I have been up and down so much this week that I swear I'm on a roller coaster ride from hell. And by "up," I don't mean "high." I mean not as low as some days. And by "down" I don't mean suicidal. I mean not as high as I've been this last year. According to my dear blogger friend in New York, I should be going through this cycle several times in the next few weeks, but I just want to let you all know, I'm hanging in there. Up, down, high, low, but I'm still kicking. Hugs to all of you who have been there for me now and in the future. I could not get through this without you. You're the best.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift..........

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie or for not making my bed or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need but looks so avante garde on my patio.

I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set . They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one or when a child suffers or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)


Monday, April 21, 2008

The Fairy Tale Is Fading Away

I think I was in love with the fairy tale. That's why I put up with being treated with 50% of the effort while I was giving 200%. Once old friends, lonely boy seeks out lonely girl on the internet after 20 years apart. And for the past year, this love has been like none other. I have never felt this way about another man in my life. At the ripe age of 50, I felt a love that truly made me walk on air. If you had seen me through my divorce and the subsequent months, you would think I had swallowed Tinker Bell. I was downright giddy. For God's sake, I learned how to swim for this man. And now the fairy tale is slowly, painfully sliding into the sunset. I deserve to be treated better. I was willing to put up with so much because I have never felt a love this strong, this powerful. But Vegas brought out a lot of realities that were too painful to ignore. And while my heart is hurting now, the pain excrutiating, I am coming out into the light. I remember thinking last year that if I had been my friend, I would slap me and say "Snap out of it." I was that freakishly happy. Well, now if I were my friend, I would say, "It takes one hell of a man to be better than no man at all." It's time I listened to this friend.

Walking back into my apartment, reminders of Sailor Boy are everywhere. Photos of us, lotion he gave me, a photo of me in the Bay, a pirate action figure, tee-shirts, a pitcher from the Valentine's flowers. This morning I looked up on my dresser to see my Beanie Baby Crab and Lion (Zodiac signs). Maybe I should have known when the chain from my heart necklace broke when I was in Vegas. So utterly cliche. And now my own heart is breaking.

I did not even feel this kind of pain when my 27-year marriage ended. Because that had ended years before and I had work to do. This pain is almost unbearable and gut-wrenching... another thing I thought I was too old to experience. I was wrong.

We are in the negotiation stage. You will not see "busy skyping" on my IM messages. After 14 months of 2 hours almost every night on Skype, we are taking a break and reflecting. Maybe I'll be his once-in-a-while sailing girlfriend for long weekends. I don't know. We're not talking much about details. The pain is too deep.

Oh, and by the way, I am quitting my job, moving back to St. Louis, and the house has a contract on it. I won't believe it until the keys are actually turned over. There are too many changes for me to catch my breath. Please hold me in your thoughts and prayers.


Monday, April 07, 2008

My colon passed with flying colors

A colonoscopy is a piece of cake. Mmmmmm, piece of cake. I'm hungry. Just kidding. I would have never jeopardized my colonoscopy by introducing solids during the Day of Evacuation. But trust me, I wanted to. Every dream, and I had many, involved accidentally eating something I shouldn't which meant ANYTHING. I didn't sleep well the night before my procedure (hereby deemed The Super Dooper Pooper Snooper) out of nervousness or trips to the bathroom. But when I did sleep, it always involved food. Food accidentally being eaten out of habit, out of forgetfulness, out of boredom. I think at one point I actually dreamed of eating birthday cake, and we all know it's no where near my birthday.

But seriously, folks, I worried for nothing. The day before the test you drink nothing but liquids so there really is nothing in you... but liquid. Drinking the mixture, I will admit, isn't the tastiest of potions. Phospho-soda does taste, to quote Dave Barry, like "a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser with just a hint of lemon." So you chug it in a 1/2 glass of water. Then they tell you to chase it with 3 glasses of water. NO SHIT SHERLOCK. It didn't take reading medical instructions to figure that one out. You willingly pour anything down your gullet to get rid of that taste, but it goes away. It does not linger. (Dave Barry took Movi-Prep which I cannot attest to, but I assume it tastes as bad as Phospho-soda.)

I wished my appointment had been in the morning (a) to get it over with (b) so I could come back home and sleep the rest of the day or (c) so I could start eating sooner, but alas, it was in the afternoon. The biggest factor of not eating is boredom. Really. You don't realize how much or how often we stick something in our mouth our of boredom. But once I was taken to the Endoscopy Center, the nurses, anesthetists, and even the person who makes a living sticking tubing up people's butts were wonderful. Before putting the IV in, the nurse brought me warm blankets. They explained everything. My blood pressure was fine. And away we went. You even get chauffeured down the hall in one of those beds with wheels. The one I thought I would get when I had kids, but they made me "jump on down" into a wheelchair after delivering an 8 pound bowling ball. I finally got the escorted bed.

The nurse anesthetist administering the "milk of amnesia" said to think of a nice dream, and before I could think about being in Vegas with Sailor Boy, I was already back in my recovery room with those heated blanket on my legs. I am thinking about getting the "milk of amnesia" for my next tooth cleaning.

Hell, I should have had some for the last 10 years of my marriage.