Monday, September 8, 2008

River walk

It's funny what a walk down to the river will do for you. (Or in this case, me). I did a lot of thinking. About everything. Where I am and where I am going, what's going to happen and what I want the second half of my life to be like. These reflections brought, as they commonly do, good news and some bad, too.

The excellent news is that I know what I want. More on that later.

The less than ideal news is that due to my recent reflections on what the first half of my life have been like, I have had to face some distressing facts about what I have been been calling mytragic, unfair, almost mythologically terrible life. The facts are the my life has not been tragic or unfair and I realize too that mythologizing my... wait for it... pain (*sob, sob) is... wait for it... selfish and immature.

What the fuck? Seriously.

I got born in the richest country in the world to parents who loved me. I got born white* and with the exception of some early life kidney issues, healthy. My parents are no longer here because of cancer and its special brand of terrorism, but so what? What grounds have I got to even complain about that? Orphaned at 38. Bah. What a crock. Being disinherited? Well, so what. I could also have been born to people who had no money at all and I could have been raised in the kind of house where no one aspires to anything more than drinking PBR and moving up the ladder at Wal-Mart. I could have been born, in other words, to people who didn't steer me right. But I wasn't. I had great parents. They died. It sucks, but heart attacks and car accidents and freak accidents on roller coasters happen, too. So again, so.... WHAT?

I also got born into an extended family of honorable, decent people. I might be parentless, but I have my aunts and uncles and my brother and his wife and nephew. I have more friends than I deserve.

And then there is the fact that I wasn't born stupid or ugly. True, I am not as smart as either of my parents were - and like anyone else, I am rarely the smartest person in the room. But I am not exactly running a second rate brain, either. As as far as being not ugly - I didn't say I was beautiful. But I am standard issue blond Irish-American and as long as I don't let myself get too fat and I don't run my mouth life a sailor, other people assess me as pretty enough.

I have an education, too. And a master's degree. And I have a good job that doesn't keep me up all hours of the night tossing and turning about my place in the world. I know very well what it is: I am a teacher. I teach. It was not only what I do; it is what I am. 99% of the rest of the world does something they hate for money to pay bills they would rather never have incurred because life... even in the richest country in the world... is hard.

And then if you look at my romantic ungoodness, well. What the fuck ever. I dated some nice men. I dated some bad ones, too. I just never got married. Big deal. If you consider the.... emotional attention that needs get paid to family issues when people have cancer, it's hardly surprising. My mom was diagnosed when I was 16 and she died when I was 25. My dad - you already know about. It's arguable that there was time in between for me to find someone and blah blah blah - and believe me, I tried. But from where I am sitting right now, I can see a certain divine wisdom in keeping me on my own. Those between years were spent getting an education and changing careers and adjusting to life in New York - and there were boyfriends, yes. But none of them was the right one. What? Was I supposed to drug some poor fool and drag him off to Vegas? Plus, I know a thing or two about myself and commitment. I don't commit well, mostly because I take commitments so damned seriously. It's no wonder that the marriage and kids thing didn't happen for me. When was the timing right? When did the right guy appear? Never and never.

My money problems suck, but they are not my fault. I worked and worked worked. I got rooked in nine different ways. But who doesn't have money troubles? Big f-ing deal.

So I sat there at the river and faced the facts: my life hasn't sucked. It has been more good than it has bad. What has sucked is my immature sense of entitlement to something different, something better, something else. Well, Jesus Christ on a cracker. WHAT?

So now i return to what I want the second half of my life to be life. Since you are surely entitled to sainthood after reading this post about, oh, ME, and my issues (self-centered, much, Nina?) I'll list what I think I want in round two in list form.

1) I want to run again. Little known fact: I used to marathon. I was never fast, but I was good at it and I am convinced it would produce something akin to joy if I were able to find a jog bra that fit and start doing it again.

2) I want to write. Blog, fine. But I need to write other things. I am thinking of writing books. More on this later when it is clearer to me what those might be about..

3) I want to out-climb that hyper-ambitious ceiling swinging climbing Goddess known as Sri. The itty tiny little competitive streak in me? It popped up and said "Hi" to me as I sat at the river. I want to climb and I want to do it really well.

4) I want to untie all the knots in my head and get myself in a psychological position to date again. Not because I want to have kids - that ship has sailed. But recent reflections (see above) lead me to believe that all my NO MEN EVER AGAIN policy is both unrealistic and the greatest manifestation of all that I am behaving - with regard to my past - like a spoiled child. What good is proving to the world that I can in fact ignore the whole business of dating? The only person with anyone to lose or gain is me. And I'd be losing for trying. So I have to stop trying - that is start trying not to look at every dating opportunity as a personal invitation into the mouth of hell. It might be, but if I am ever going to get my psychological outfit into a healthier arrangement, I might need to start looking at men as something other than a guarantee of full-on misery. I don't know if I will make any progress in this area, but try I must.

5) Smile more. Do my job with a little more verve than has been my habit for the last 8 years. And more than that, do no harm. Pain, suffering, misery of all kind is out there everywhere. I don't want to contribute to it at any point, for any reason, for anyone.

So, uh, that was my day.

How was yours?

* I ain't bein' racist. If you want to act like life isn't easier for white people, fine, but I think we all know that it is. At any rate, I'll take the pale, flat and uninteresting skin, SPF 40 notwithstanding.


P said... days was...uh...less productive. I sat on my ass for a few hours and thought about underwear.

Sounds like you've got things sorted. I am seriously impressed. Good for you, Nina.

Annie said...

Today I am taking a wee break from creating and cleaning my house and thinking that for my second half of life I want to keep creating
beauty and not much else :-). I loved this post and I love that you are figuring out what you want.
I think you would be a wonderful writer. So write!

sybil law said...

You're awesome, Nina.
I am glad you've reached a point where you have some clearer goals.
Go! Write! Climb!
You can do it.

nicoleantoinette said...

I've been so very introspective lately and am always interested in reading about other people's introspectiveness. Sounds like you came to some awesome conclusions!

catherine said...

I hope you will stop being an apologist for the author of this blog for writing about said author; It is her own damned blog, for one thing, and the practice presumes that perhaps one had expected to come here reading about airplane mechanics or office cubicle art or fields of daisies in the pale moonlight.

It is distracting when one is sitting here quietly trying one's best to read about this particular author, something I find pleasing and hopeful and beautiful and gratifying to my mind and brain.

Thank you for your consideration.

LizB said...

My thoughts were exactly like P's: damn, girl, you've had a much more productive day than I. Good for you! Sounds like you have gained some great perspective.

Sturdy Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sturdy Girl said...

What an incredible brave empowering post/revelation on your part.

I believe when you get to this point in your life and decide to live with this particular mindset that you free yourself to begin again, without any ties to the old life - even if the only ties are the excuses you regularly used to explain why you haven't lived to your fullest potential/expectations.

I remember after living through divorce and poverty and death I told people that I was lucky. Lucky to get a second chance - to start again with these experiences to guide me and most importantly to give me perspective on life and on what is true happiness.

You have this opportunity now. You're lucky too.

Kate P said...

All right, with the goals! (My suggestion for running bras is like a good selection.)

My day was O.K. Four more days until I leave my job.

Mr. Bingley said...

There will be bumps ahead but it sounds like you've got your shit back in gear. You have faith and friends to help with the bumps.

maryse said...

i wish you luck. and strength. and by the way, if you want a family with children, you aren't too old. i met my husband when i was 38. married him when i was 40. i didn't have kids (because i'm a class A procrastinator and i was afraid -- but that's my issue) but my sister in law had a beautiful girl at 43, and plenty of my friends have had healthy kids after 40. so it's not over. just don't obsess about it. (i'm 45 now).

La Lou said...

Just ran a four mile race in Central Park this past weekend---prior to that my last race was a Turkey Trot back in '98. Despite the 94% humidity it felt so good to be back out there again, regardless of how I placed.

Title Nine's Three Reasons Support bra changed my life.

Em said...

All good.

ByJane said...

You go, girl...on all counts.