Sunday, July 26, 2009

Time marches on...

It's been nearly three months since I posted anything on my blog. There has been plenty to write about; the Brady family had a huge reunion, my daughter bought her first home with her husband, I went to a Red Sox game with a friend from high school (Happy Birthday, Pam!), the Iranian election results were disputed and people in Iran took to the streets in protest, the national debate on health care reform heated up, I co-chaired the Rindge Memorial Day celebration, kept working on plans for some kind of wind energy study for Rindge, and danced in the recital with MPAA. Perhaps it was because there was so much going on that I didn't have time to write about it?

I've been thinking about time a lot lately. Everything in my daily life reminds me that I'm fast approaching 60...that our time on this earth is fleeting. It's not just my reflection in the mirror or seeing the video of my performance in the recital. I can see the lines and crinkly skin and the stiffness of my body when I dance...evidence I can see with my own two eyes. It's not just that...because we all age at different rates...I'm lucky to still have all my original joints and enough teeth to enjoy a meal. It's also that I have trouble summoning up enthusiasm for decorating my house or even cleaning it properly. I don't care very much about clothes anymore. I no longer believe that if I could just lose 10 pounds or find the right make-up, I would be so much happier with myself. I don't even care about finishing my master's degree before I retire. I don't think that I am ever going to be rich or famous or celebrated in anyway other than by my friends and family.

At first, and as I've written in my blogs, I railed against the unfairness of this life; it's shortness, it's social injustice, the oppression of one people by another. I thought, perhaps I am depressed? After all, symptoms of depression include a lack of interest in one's appearance and surroundings...feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

Now, I think about all of this differently. I want to be engaged and to contribute to the future, but I know that my situation with work is not likely to change. I probably won't ever find a position again where I will be on the cutting edge of technological development. The company I work for will most likely continue to discount my ability to problem solve. And, I suspect, the young woman in sales will continue to call the shots and bully the rest of us. I used to feel such rage when she would assign me shipping tasks...!

Now, all I can think of is that I only have to hold on at work for two more years...then I'll be eligible for social security. When our office bully does something that feels disrespectful or mean, I just tell myself that I will be free of this in 2 years; she still has at least 26 years of misery (because you have to be miserable to want to spread it around) ahead of her. Meanwhile, my primary focus is on paying off all my credit card debt and staying mentally and physically active. I am simplifying my life as much as I can. I am spending more quality time with my friends and family...and especially my husband. Time is fleeting...!

I have not stopped dreaming...or recognizing the need to dream of something beyond the daily grind. I simply have come to recognize that, like a slave, I need to buy my freedom before I can move on. I have stopped trying to turn back the hands of time. I look toward to that future when I have the financial security to pursue the dreams and causes I've had to sacrifice in exchange for earning my daily bread.

I suppose I've come to these realizations later than some people. And, truly, it might be different if my chosen occupation were more friendly toward older workers. But, it is what it is and I certainly enjoyed many years of an exciting professional life. Although there wasn't an exact moment of epiphaney, I know what has most influenced me. At least two of my friends have dropped 10 years from their birth dates on their FaceBook pages. After I stopped laughing, I thought, "Well, what 10 years of my life would I like to erase so that I could be 10 years younger?" And, of course, the answer is none of them. Maybe there's a day here or there that I would surrender, some acts or words that I wish I could withdraw, but on the whole, I am content...even grateful for it all.

And, I think I am lucky to not care about Botox injections or plastic surgery to make me look younger than I am. I realize that if I need to pay down my debt, it is a good thing I don't covet fancy clothes or a showcase home. From this point on, all my decorating and improvement effort will be focused on the "inner" me...where the real action in life happens.

And so, I keep on dancing, keep on dreaming, and looking toward the future...a body stiff with age, but surrendering all self-consciousness to the joy of dancing my inner being to the music of life.