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middle age

Carry On

Well, it’s August again.

It’s hot again. It’s sticky again. It’s sweaty again.

Kids are back in school. Papers upon papers were signed. Supplies upon supplies were purchased. Open houses were attended. Lunches have been assembled. Pre-teen and teen are begrudgingly putting one foot in front of the other, one early-morning alarm at a time.

New beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates. In the midst of the oppressive heat and humidity. Again.

Time to make the doughnuts.

“I got you, babe.”

Here we go. Again. Feeling rather meh. And why, pray tell, would anyone write a blog post about “meh?” Furthermore, why would anyone read it? Where’s the positive spin? Where’s the life lesson? What’s the point?

When I decided to blog my life, I mostly wanted to have a space to display my writing style for potential employers. And then I realized how much it helped me be a sane person. So I said a prayer to God and the universe that I would always try to stay true in my blog to be a positive force for good in the world. And this blog has blessed me. And it has blessed some readers and not blessed others…I’ve certainly heard both. Hey, you can’t please everyone, right? And I still work hard to stay true to blogging for what I know to be true and good, as best as I can.

But I’ve found that it’s getting harder. This life stage I’ve somehow found myself in is super strange.

I’m 46. Which means: 1. My body has changed in some unpleasant ways. 2. I’m witnessing precious marriages blow up left and right. 3. In two years, my oldest will leave home. Don’t even get me started.  4. My youngest is buying makeup. 5. My parents are getting older. 5. I don’t know what music to listen to anymore. 6. Am I allowed to dance in public anymore? 7. Routinely flogging myself for watching horrible tv that mature adults shouldn’t watch. 8. My celebrity crush is now Stephen Colbert.

And all of being 46 plus the worst political times of my lifetime and during the most appalling, least human, worst gut punch of a presidency and administration. Where only some people’s rights matter. Every day the news is horrific and frightening.

So TBH- this is where I am. To use an Oprah line and twist it to take it to a new low: I am not living my best life.

I’m not. Wow. How’s that for a depressing line? Before all 46-year-olds blow our collective brains out, let me also say something that I believe in my heart, that I know is bold, as well as a challenge and a middle finger to the universe: I know it’s going to get better.

My mother used to say that to me when I was down about something. It sounds trite but it’s something that I’m touching down on a lot right now. I thank her for gifting me those simple but necessary words. Because you know what? She’s always been right.

The other line I’m touching down on a lot these days is that British line- that “carry on” thing they do. Like, yeah, life sucks, so what, just freaking carry on, ok? Is it weird that I find that comforting? Maybe, but I do. Carry on- go be an adult. Just put your head down or your chin the hell up and carry on. Shit happens to everybody and everybody has to be 46 (except those that don’t and I definitely don’t want to be them, lol). And other countries have appalling, shitty Presidents and even worse conditions. And maybe this is the American in me, but I read that British line with a twinge of “things will get better” at the end. That’s my interpretation, anyway, and it helps me.

I’m writing this, wondering if others are feeling the meh. For all I know, it’s just me and y’all all think I need to go check in to rehab for “exhaustion” like the celebs. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ve got kids to raise, a husband to nag :-), dinners to cook, jobs to find, family and friends to love, plants to water, blogs to write, horrible tv to watch, books to read, dogs to walk.

It’s ok. I’m not living my best Oprah life but I’m ok. I’m having to dig deeper but that’s ultimately what makes us stronger.

It will get better. Carry on, y’all.

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Carry On

by fun.

Well I woke up to the sound of silence the cars
Were cutting like knives in a fist fight
And I found you with a bottle of wine
Your head in the curtains and heart like the fourth of July

You swore and said we are not
We are not shining stars
This I know
I never said we are

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows to know you can never look back

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Carry on, carry on

So I met up with some friends in the edge of the night
At a bar off seventy five
And we talked and talked about how our parents will die
All our neighbors and wives

But I like to think
I can cheat it all
To make up for the times, I’ve been cheated on
And it’s nice to know
When I was left for dead
I was found and now I don’t roam these streets
I am not the ghost you want of me

If you’re lost and alone or you’re sinking like a stone,
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and
Carry on

Woah my head is on fire
But my legs are fine
After all they are mine
Lay your clothes down on the floor
Close the door
Hold the phone
Show me how
No one’s ever gonna stop us now

‘Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
So we’ll come, we will find our way home

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and
Carry on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle-Aged College Student Goes Back to School, Again

So I get it; summer’s over. As of tomorrow, it is officially fall. If you haven’t accepted it yet, you better get over it. Fall is here, whether you like it or not.

I’m back in school, for the third year. It was supposed to be two years, but I couldn’t handle more than two classes at a time, so it’s gonna be three years instead. Going back to school this past week was the hardest it’s been yet. Just ask my family. My poor, sweet, undeserving family. I definitely had a harder time than my kids, and I have an almost 13 year old. I for sure drank more wine last week than they did. Or, at least, I better have!!

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Part of my reluctance involved the fact that I have two poetry classes, and I am not a poet. Although I love to write a good limerick now and then, true poetry is so hard on  my middle aged brain. It’s just not really my thing. I’m a prose girl (see above blog.)

My first day of class was totally cliche: late to class; called on at random within 5 minutes of late arrival; asked to introduce myself (first); forced to sit in a circle (ugh); forced to learn everyone’s names in the class (what?); forced to fill out questionnaire about self and asked “why are you taking this class”, which I left blank; also asked to name 5 contemporary poets (Nikki Giovanni only one I knew, because I had seen her book in Barnes and Noble recently.) And last but not least, forced to memorize “The Road Not Taken” for the next class. Sigh. Yes, it was like that.

Those of you who haven’t been back to school in middle age are currently thanking your lucky stars and congratulating yourself on your wisdom to stay in the work world, despite its horrors. After beating myself up a bit, I came home and had a come-to-Jesus-talk with myself. I said, ‘Self, you’ve got 29 more classes to get through, so you must put the wine/whine bottle down and put on your Big Girl panties.”

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On the day between classes, I spent the entire morning on email and phone, trying to figure out how to log in to my class assignments. Which led me to thinking that perhaps they should hire someone to run a new department: Middle-Aged-Student Affairs. They have a new system/log in procedure, which I was unable to discuss with my dorm mates and sorority sisters, because I AM 42 YEARS OLD! So, my newly devised morning study schedule went down the toilet the very first study day as I sat on hold for someone half my age to help me log on. Really super for the middle aged ego!

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Before you stop reading this and enter a severe depression, my second day of school went much more smoothly. My classes were actually interesting; my classmates were lovely, participatory, and smart; my professors were less scary; my memorized poem went decently, if not perfectly; and I knew we had a holiday coming! What a fantastic time for a holiday.

I was able to enjoy a few days of vacation with my family, and afterwards, as I tackled my homework, I felt oddly peaceful. And no wine was even involved! After working for several hours, the time flew. When I took a break, I realized that I was actually enjoying myself again. Poetry is much more inspiring than I first thought. It’s like a puzzle that you have to try to figure out, and I love a word puzzle. I remembered my love of layered meanings and writing that is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I felt ready to blog again, so that says a lot.

So, maybe this poetry thing won’t be so bad after all. I still am a long way from writing it, but studying it might help more than I realized. Read Robert Frost’s “A Road Not Taken” and you’ll be surprised that it doesn’t mean what you think it means. I mean, really read it, and then read it again. Are you confused at what road he’s taking? That’s what he meant. Pretty smart and cool, I think.

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http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717

Today I feel back in the saddle again, on this Labor Day. I didn’t mind working today at all. When you are doing something you enjoy, it’s not work. But to do my kind of work, you have to unplug and get away from it all in order to find that creative, inspired place away from distractions. So on this Labor Day, I wish the same for all of you: to unplug and take a break from your day-to-day grind in order to find what inspires you — you might even be surprised at what you find!

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Take care of yourselves and each other,

Katie

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(Well-Hidden) Touch of Grey

The WordPress social services is going to come and take my blog away.  I am guilty of neglect, of the most benign kind, but neglect is neglect no matter how you want to sugarcoat it.  The issue is not that I do not love my blog; it is that I am a college student again and I am very busy trying to remember how to use that part of my brain that has been dormant for many, many years.  So please forgive me, and I will consent to going to blog caretaking classes–oh wait, my classes are all English classes, so they are, in a sense, blog caretaking classes.  Will that hold up in WordPress social service court?

I don’t have much time but I had to get back on here.  I’ve faced a birthday milestone this week, and I was thinking how I coped in different ways.  I stayed busy, I read the stream of well wishes on Facebook through out the day, I was cheered with phone calls from family and friends.  I spent time with my family, who cooked for me and gave me presents and love.  I ate well and drank just enough, not as much as you might think.  And for a good bit of the day, I thought of how many other life experiences have been worse than reaching forty.  So I present to you now, my list of:

 Things I Have Faced That Are Worse Than Turning Forty: 

1. Going back to college with kids young enough to be my children

2. Pain of childbirth (yes, even with the drugs)

3. Getting dumped by boyfriends

4. Sorority effing rush

5. Listening to that song Fireflies by Owl City

6. Eating escargot at prom

7. Getting hit (accidentally) by a baseball bat in the mouth in elementary school

8. Wearing, at the same time,  purple eyeshadow, pink lipstick and a home-permed mullet in the 80’s

9.  Being forced to fire a guitar teacher over the Georgia/Clemson rivalry

10.  Throwing up in the ski lift line at Beech Mountain as a teenager (for the record, I was sick, not drunk)

11.  Annual trips to the gynecologist

12. Biannual trips to the dentist

I could go on and on.  There really are so many more things worse than turning 40:  Terminal illness, sex slavery, communism, John Edwards, clitoridectomies (thanks, David Sedaris- see Me Talk Pretty One Day), Priscilla Presley’s plastic surgery.  And so, right or wrong, I feel so much better about myself, and my crow’s-feet, and my aches, pains and creaks.  I also know that while I may have looked cuter in my 20’s, I am a better person at 40.  And that comforts me as well.

“There isn’t one of these lines that I would erase…” -Jennifer Nettles/Bon Jovi, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”

“I will get by, I will survive…” -The Grateful Dead, “Touch of Grey”

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