"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Post-sixty worries

Last Friday I turned 60. It didn't feel any different than any other day of the week. I didn't feel older. Each day passes and I never feel older. I ride my horses and lift heavy things and climb up chairs to reach cabinet shelves and laugh and talk and don't feel the years accumulating.

Still, I have an increasing worry.

I recently went through a "thing" with a friend. They were a good friend, and then a few things happened to make me feel awkward and they felt offended and it went downhill from there. We managed to patch things up, in the following way:

1. Everytime I discussed my pain, I was told that my feelings were wrong (or nonexistent), and that this person hurt more.

2. Everytime they discussed their feelings, I tried very hard to acknowledge them without feeling like I was responsible for the way they felt. This is hard for me, since I think I'm supposed to make everyone feel good and be happy and like me.

We agreed to let go of the past, and I will, and I also accept that I'm not going to change this person and I can't be the boss of them.

Here's the thing: I've been noticing that this person has become more self-centered as they grow older and I'm frightened that I will become the same. Our conversations revolve around their news, their activities. They become increasingly irritated over things that don't go their way. I spend more and more time with them being less and less engaged.

There have been a couple of news articles about middle-age and narcissism. I can see how an older person might think, "My time here is winding down. I'm only here for a few more years. I deserve to move to the front of the line."

But I don't want to, at least to demand it. I explained this all to my husband, who said, "Everyone gets to be a cranky old person."

I don't want to be that person. I don't want to give the stink-eye to a young mother with a screaming child because I've forgotten what it's like to be that mom. I don't want to hear other people's woes as a competition to prove my aches and pains are worse than theirs. I don't want to lose my empathy, my humanity.

Can I ask for your help? If I start to become that person, will you tell me? From all indications, I may defend myself. I may fight you. You might have to be braver than you ever thought you could be. But trust me, I want to be saved.

I want my tombstone to say, "She was a real human being," not "She was a pissy old broad." Oh, and "She was really, really old" would be good.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy birthday to me!

Today's my birthday. It's not just any birthday. It's a milestone birthday (think 20, 30, 40, and beyond) AND it's my year on the Chinese calendar. I'm not Chinese, but I was born in the year of the Horse, and I'm going with that.

Of course, being such a momentous year, I plan to celebrate big and often. Tonight there will be a nice dinner with friends. Next week will be our monthly birthday celebration at the local watering hole. And further?

What I want to do is to give and get, for an entire year. So every time I do something nice for someone else, I'm going to reward myself with fun time with my friends. I'd like to be able to get together with people more often, and perhaps this will kick me into gear.

In the meantime, I'm offering FREEZER BURN for free this weekend. If you haven't tried it yet, here's a chance to check it out. http://www.amazon.com/Freezer-Burn-Peri-Minneopa-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B007ZHVDN4

Have a great day. I plan to.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A babbling brook of news

Too bad my name's not Brooke. That'd make it a really funny post title.

I'm still recovering from a fabulous weekend at the Southern California Writer's Conference. I spent three days discussing writing and marketing with fun and earnest people from all over. After each day's hard work, I sat at the makeshift bar of the Crowne Plaza Hanalei on San Diego's Hotel Circle, nursing a glass of wine and laughing my tushie off at the antics of the same fun and earnest people.

There's more to the debrief, but my eyes, to quote my grandmother, feel like "two pee-holes in a snowbank" and I can't quite make the right words come out of my brain.

In the meantime, the interview I did with Julie Preble of Horse and Rider Magazine is up and at 'em. If you want a chance to win Snoopy's book, go here. There's also a Q and A video of me on YouTube. Check it out.

I'll be back tomorrow or Thursday to report more. After I've slept.

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