Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Aging Is The Mother Of All Eff You's

This past April I did something truly heinous and scary.  I turned 40.

I have been dreading my fortieth birthday for most of my life.


When I turned 20, I knew that I was technically an adult.  Technically.  I mean, I was a mother and was married and living my own life, wherein I paid bills and did laundry and the state of Colorado proclaimed I was indeed an adult.  Yet, I still sort of felt like I was simply playing house.  I thought, no, I'll give it a few more years, then I'll feel like an adult.

I turned 30 (despite having denied that I was having birthdays, anymore) and found a grey hair.  Actually, I found several.  Almost to the day of my thirtieth birthday.  I was fucking devastated.  I savagely ripped those blights from my head.  And then I cried.  Somehow I went from feeling like a fake adult, to an old lady, over night. 

Somewhere in my 30's I started to realize that I was no longer in my 20's.  That was a little bit devastating for me.  Actually,  it was a lottle devastating for me.

No longer could I race down a ski slope like a bat out of hell (without a helmet!) like I did when I was in my teens.  No longer could I drink like I was in my 20's. No longer could I stay up all night.  No longer could I run a mile in under ten minutes.  No longer could I go hard like I did when I was younger.  Recovery was slower and far more painful.

So, as you can imagine, I was fucking terrified to turn 40.

My 40's are making it clear that, physically, I wish I was still in my 30's.

Drinking is something to be done under the supervision of a doctor and a fully staffed support system.  As one of my friends recently put it, "having a hangover at 40 is like recovering from surgery."  True dat, my friend, true dat.

Taking a hike requires a small recovery period of three weeks and a handful of Tramadol and Percocet and a couple of muscle relaxers for good measure.

A ten minute mile?  Ha!

Ha ha ha ha!!!!

Skiing???  Are you fucking crazy?!?!?!  Dude, I managed to fracture my foot (a bone my orthopedic surgeon assured me is capable of withstanding an insane amount of pressure...meaning I'd done a really superb job in managing to fracture that puppy) by doing nothing but walking.

Skating also goes on that list of not fucking happening.


As I got closer and closer to turning 40, I started thinking a lot about just why I was dreading it.  Physically I hadn't changed all that much since my 30's.  I was less likely to take risks with my person, but I think that's maybe a sign of maturity of another kind.

I found what was truly behind my fears wasn't that I didn't want to look/be old.  No, I actually don't mind the number.  I'm damned lucky to have made it this far in life.  Childbirth was something that nearly killed me.  Stupidity in my teen years nearly killed me.  Stupidity in my 20's and 30's nearly killed me.  I'm happy to be "getting up there," actually.

What had me terrified of 40, is what it means in relation to the time I have left.  I'm no where near ready to leave this life.  I have stuff I still want to do, see, experience, teach, learn.  I want to see my daughter graduate from med school.  I want to see my grand kids graduate and get married.  I want to see the whole world.  I want to climb a glacier and explore volcanoes and run with the bulls!

My first 40 years were devoted to growing and learning and raising kids.  I've been dreading getting old and what I should have been doing is embracing it and looking forward to it all!  I have a bucket list that's nearly a mile long.  I have many things to do and a long way to go, and I'm ready to get started.

My body is trying to betray me and keep me grounded, but I'm stubborn.  I don't feel like I'm getting old.  I still play in puddles and dance in the rain.  I still play games and act silly.  I still read children's books and fall in love with old stories each time I read them.  I still laugh at farts and burps.  I still watch Scooby-Doo and love it now just as much as I did when I was a kid.  More, probably.  I still like making out in a car.  Actually, does that ever get old????  I still like to line dance at the bar.  I still like to climb up dangerously high places.

I still have a lot of life left to live.  I think my 40's will be my best years, yet.  Aging is the mother of all eff you's.  But only if you let it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The One Where I Address the Caitlyn Jenner Issue

I've been really trying to give this some serious thought before I put pen to paper, so to speak.  This issue is stuck in my craw, and I've been using this time to formulate my thoughts into cohesive, sense making sentences.  Hopefully I'll do this topic justice.

For those of you who are currently residing  under a rock and missed the hullabaloo, the shortened version...
So Bruce Jenner, former athletic powerhouse and reality "star", has recently gone public about his gender transformation.  He is now she, Bruce is now Caitlyn.  There has been some facial surgery and breast augmentation done.  There was a prominent photo shoot done by one Annie Leibovitz (lucky!!!) for Vanity Fair magazine, that seemed to really start all the hoopla.  Then there is the matter of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.  People are upset by the fact that Caitlyn Jenner has won this award for courage.  They felt other "more deserving" athletes were picked over in favor of this "publicity seeking" reality star.

Here's my two cents on the matter...

In regards to the Bruce/Caitlyn topic on the whole:  who the fuck cares.

In regards to Bruce now wanting to be known as Caitlyn:  who the fuck cares.

In regards to it being a publicity stunt:  who the fuck cares.

In regards to the Arthur Ashe Courage Award:  I have a few thoughts on this matter.

First off allow me to define courage for everyone.  Courage:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

Does Caitlyn Jenner exude courage???  In short, yes.  Here is a person who has largely been known as a male athlete.  In my time we've come a long way towards acceptance.  But we have a VERY long way to go, still.  That which makes us different is still less accepted than the socially approved norms (though just who exactly dictates what normal is, I don't know).  Being in the public eye and being different can't be much fun.  So, here's Bruce Jenner, and he knows he's not a he.  Your options are continue being he and be miserable but accepted.  Be Caitlyn at home, when nobody is looking, and likely be miserable, still.  Or publicly be Caitlyn, who you believe yourself to truly be, and open yourself up to ridicule and scrutiny and hate.  And likely be miserable.  But, at least you get to be yourself.  Me, I'd probably hide who I am for fear of rejection.  I don't feel I'd be courageous enough to publicly renounce the man I was born as, and embrace the woman I want/know myself to be.  No matter what your opinion on the person/the act, you have to agree that it was in fact an act of courage. 

I've been deeply saddened by the backlash from this story.  Caitlyn's story, transition, and winning the Arthur Ashe award doesn't take anything away from anyone else.   You and I are still who we were before this all started.  Veteran Noah Galloway is still a remarkable human being, even though he didn't receive the award.  I'm sure he'll still get up and go for a run today, anyway.  I'm sure he'll still keep rocking in the athletic world, despite not having the title of Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient.  The world just keeps on going, like that.  I'm sure Noah Galloway would be the first one to tell you not to feel sorry for him, as he seems to not need your pity.  I'm fairly certain he's still courageous without the award.  

If it makes you feel any better at all, they didn't ask me who I felt should receive the award, either.  

Personally, I feel anyone who gets up off their ass and does something to better themselves should get an award for courage.  My heaviest weight is 290.  I've managed to knock off about 50 pounds.  So far.  It's not easy.  I constantly have to struggle to move more.  I've hauled my fat ass up the Manitou Springs Incline.  Twice.  Tell me that didn't take some courage!  We need to take the time to recognize that all of us are capable of courageous acts, they just come in different forms of courage.

I am constantly reminding my kids that they can't change the world, they can only change themselves.  I'm beginning to feel like I'm doing them a great disservice in telling them this.  Normally I like to tell them this little nugget of wisdom when I want them to stop trying to control what another sibling has done/is doing.  My point to them is that they need to stop worrying about what others are doing, because we can't change others.  We have no control over what another person does, says, thinks.  The only one we can exert that kind of control over, is ourselves.
But, here is Caitlyn Jenner.  She might not be out to change the world, but she is.  She's helping pave the way for others, intentionally or not.

What truly saddens me about the world we currently live in, is that it costs nothing to be accepting of others.  Your religion tells you that being gay is "wrong"???  That's awesome, I'm glad you found a religion that allows you to follow your beliefs and makes you happy.  Doesn't your religion teach you about acceptance???  That whole "love they neighbor" thing kind of applies here.  You don't have to be gay to accept another as being gay.  It's not contagious, you won't catch the gay by being accepting.  Your personal beliefs don't allow for tattoos???  Hey, I'm not even mad at that.  My response: don't get one.  Me, I love my tattoos and plan to get more.  Your upbringing keeps you from partaking in alcohol or smoking weed???  Great, it's not for everyone.  I don't drink, either, but mostly because I'm allergic to my beloved beer.  But, I won't hold it against you if you choose to partake.
To each his own.

Why can't we live in a world where we just accept each other, as is?????  I don't mind being a woman, so I think I'll stay one.  I love my gay daughter, don't mind if she continues to be gay.  I love my friends who drink and smoke, don't much mind if they continue living their lives as they see fit.  

We are ALL different.  Instead of picking on those who are more different than most, why the fuck not just embrace what is and love them, anyway?  Who cares if Bruce is more comfortable as Caitlyn?  

Live, and let live.  Period.