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60

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2013
3 days before Christmas. Now there’s an original opening.
I’m at work because my coworker is sick. I’m happy to do it-I can use the extra money. I’ve finally found a place where my coworkers are ADULTS so anything I can do to be supportive, I’ll do it. Happily.

Still, watching the approach of my 60th Christmas is sobering. My birthday, on the 5th, was a quiet affair. My landlord went with me to buy tires for my car and later he took me to lunch. Actually, it’s the best birthday I’ve had in about 10 years. Really. We talked about the world, about being older, about lessons learned, and not learned, about giving ourselves permission to relax…finally. My job pays my bills and the occasional sale of my art gives me a little extra to buy supplies, the odd reference book, and a new coat from Goodwill. Sometimes, like this week, I’m needed at work to relieve my coworker and there’s a little spike in my paycheck. My car is in good shape, the cats are healthy, and I’m healthy. I have art projects I’m working on, but I’m taking my time to explore new techniques, or mediums, ideas.

I have tossed deadlines. No more. I will finish my art-and my writing-in my time. I’ve lived my life on deadline. No more. When I finish an art project, when I’m happy with it, when I decide it’s done, it goes out. Not before. No more getting it done as quickly as possible to make the most of whatever season is coming to an end. Same with my writing. I will finish the story and then look for a publisher. If there’s a call for that story, great, if not, eventually there will be. In the meantime, I have a story I’m proud of. No more deadlines.

And I’m sort of dating. Sort of. I’ve posted one of those perky, chirpy profiles and a picture. That takes a lot of nerve for me. I’m gaining in self confidence all the time, gaining clarity about life in general and mine in particular. Yet I still have that moment of “WTF???” when I pass a mirror because I’m still the same in my head. I haven’t aged. I’ve gotten smarter, I’ve gotten calmer, I’ve learned a lot of lessons but I don’t feel any older. I still love hiking for hours at a time. I still clean my house with the same passion and energy I always have, I still move around with the same enthusiasm. What’s with the sagging neck? The lines around my mouth? My friends remind me that we EARNED that proof of life on our faces. And then I think, “That’s right.”My face isn’t 30 anymore, but I still run circles around most of the people I know-even those half my age. Then I stop and say, wait a minute; it isn’t a contest, is it? AM I still trying to prove something? AM I still trying to be good enough smart enough, pretty enough to be accepted? Is that shit still happening? Then I wonder if it’s wise to even try dating. I definitely don’t want to get into that awful anxiety about who I am, what I look like. I LIKE not caring.

I met someone who, so far, seems very nice. He seems to think I look fine. It’s early days, and as I’ve said before ‘They’re ALL nice in the beginning.” To be fair to him, I don’t know what he thinks, whether he’s just curious to see where it goes. Maybe he’s reminding himself we all get better looking once we get to know each other. And maybe he’s curious about me, what’s in my head, what I think about him. Maybe he’s interested enough to want to show me he’s attractive enough, smart enough, nice enough to keep doing whatever this is we’re doing. Then again, maybe he’s just tired of microwave dinners and wants regular sex. The only real way to find out, it seems, is to do this dating thing. Or not. I’ll see what happens for a while; see if it’s worth giving up my precious free time. If I decide it isn’t, I can decide I don’t want to date and that’s that. I don’t HAVE to do this. So we’ll see.
Sigh.
Merry Christmas.

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10 responses to “60

  1. Well, a belated happy 60th from me to you, Katie. What a wonderful post. I love the bit about no more deadlines, as I feel the same. And I’m also happy to hear you’ve met someone! All the best to you for the holiday season, and a happy and healthy 2014.

  2. katiewritesagain

    Thank you, Gwen. You have inspired me to be more consistent with my posts this year. No deadlines, but regular workouts, physically and mentally. After my writing session this morning I’m taking a long walk, but not up the mountain since it rained all night and I don’t feel like slipping and sliding instead of hiking!
    Hope your family is enjoying the holidays. I’m looking forward to the coming year, as I know you are.
    Thanks again for reading and commenting. It’s always a treat to see you here.

  3. I have a friend I’ve known about 20 years, she and I have a great deal in common. After a divorce dragging on for THREE YEARS (can you imagine??) the final papers were signed, and the financial/house/all that agreements were finally agreed upon by both parties. After MUCH diplomacy on her part, I might add. That was maybe… six months or so ago. She and I had many discussions about the whole “men thing”, she turned 60 in January and said she was OK with just being by herself. UNLESS she met somebody who was this/that/the other thing. After 28 years of marriage to somebody she found out wasn’t who she thought he was, she just didn’t see it happening. WELL – she met somebody in a work scenario, she was doing an inspection of his property! And they are great together. And I haven’t seen her very much lately!! Good on her.
    So, the moral is I guess you just never know.

    • katiewritesagain

      I am very happy for your friend. I have been told stories like that by several well meaning friends and I think it just isn’t going to happen for me. I have too many this/that/and the other things. I went out a couple of times with a man I thought was very nice but I have finally decided it is simply too irritating. I have a “thing” about planning. I only have a few days off every other week so if I’m going to go out, I like to plan in advance. I let people know early on I am an artist, a writer and a person who stays very busy-because I like being active. This man texts good morning every day…but when I ask if he wants to look at his schedule-he works a lot, too-and get together he ignores it. When I reply to a good morning after I’m home he wants to know if he can come over. I have also said, clearly, that I like to meet out until I get to know someone. 2 lunch dates don’t qualify as “knowing” someone. I even asked him this past week if he just hates planning things. No, he says, but usually things come up and ruin plans. That isn’t an answer as far as I’m concerned. Of course plans get altered sometimes. We don’t stop planning. I’m OK with spontaneous AFTER I’m comfortable with someone, and as long as there are planned activities as well. It feels to me as if he simply doesn’t want to commit to something as simple as a date. And it feels disrespectful of my time. He calls and if I’m in the middle of something-and I usually am-I should just drop it? See? Here’s one of those this/that/ and the other. I want someone to listen when I say something, to be as respectful of my time as I am of theirs, to be willing to let things happen at a natural pace.
      I think I will simply go about doing what I like to do and yes, if someone comes along and we like each other’s company, great. But I sure don’t expect that to happen. Not for me, anyway. And it’s OK. I like my solitude, I like my freedom.

  4. As I said, I’m happy for her. But I also know exactly what you mean about “getting to know somebody” before you want them over to your house.

    Your home is your sanctuary, your safe zone. There has been a time or two when I’ve wished a certain person didn’t know where I lived. Oops, too late. They already do.

    Plus, sorry to be harsh, but today there are more than enough crazies to go around. We must always engage in safe behavior, and even then it does not guarantee that we can “weed out” the pyschos. Let’s not forget Ted Bundy or a dozen other sociopaths whose associates, family members, co-workers all said they knew NOTHING about this “other side” of this person. “Gee, they were really nice and funny and had a great job.” That’s the definition of a sociopath — they HAVE no conscience so they feel no guilt, so there is never any “unease” you feel around them or “bad vibes” because THEY’RE NORMAL. On the outside.

    Hey, I’ve read too many horror stories about people on Craigslist inviting total strangers into their homes — or they, themselves, going into a stranger’s home — and that’s it for them. Robbed, raped, murdered, whatever.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a tangent. Guess I’m just saying it’s a good instinct to want to get to know somebody better. And no, I don’t think it’s asking too much to expect a “new guy” to listen and actually HEAR you when you tell him something about your schedule, need to plan, etc.

    Christ almighty, if he’s this non-receptive in the “new phase” just imagine how much he’ll tune you out when you’re used to each other!! NEXT!

    • katiewritesagain

      THANK YOU! My thoughts exactly. If he isn’t interested in planning something now (wich is obviously an issue with me) then how can it get better??? But he offers to “bring me breakfast” at “my place” or other stuff…yet won’t plan a simple date.

      OK, enough of that. As you said…NEXT.

      I’m a big crime junkiie and the horror stories don’t make me paranoid, they just make me pay attention. NO ONE is coming to my house until I’m comfortable with them. And that takes a while. I’ve had guys invite me to their place within 10 minutes of meeting me-which I don’t do, of course, and I think either they are up to no good (which encompasses a boatload of behavior) or they aren’t too sofisticated. There are crazy women out there too. Still, if they think they’ll get laid, all caution goes out the window.
      Anyway, you make very good points about privacy and common sense safety behavior. By the way, in Police-Speak, people who invite strangers to their homes are considered people in “At risk” lifesyles. Yep. At 60, I should have learned something, dont’cha think?

  5. “…don’t make me paranoid, they just make me pay attention.”

    That’s it in a nutshell. Paying attention to your surroundings, at all times. Human beings are creatures of habit, and ALL of us get comfortable in “our routine.” It is so easy to get up, go to work, stop by the grocery store, stop for gas, whatever…. and never really even be looking at that blue car that’s been behind us for the past half-hour. We just don’t see. And that’s what a criminal is looking for – someone who isn’t paying attention.
    Have you seen in the news, over the past 8-10 months or so, all these stories about “the knock-out game?” A 62-year-old man riding a bicycle, a 58-year-old little woman walking down the sidewalk, a 66-year-old runner — all various situations where people were just out doing their normal thing…. and 2 or 3 or however many social outcasts just come right up to them and punch them as hard as they can — smack in the face. Knocked unconscious, some beaten even more. Some of them have been killed.

    It’s a GAME.

    ^_&*&*%*()&*( I just don’t know how to curse strong enough for how angry this makes me.

    I had a neighbor once, she was in her mid-20s and very pretty and fit. She ran down our side road every day. I thought that was SO disciplined! And really didn’t “fit” her personality at all. AT ALL. She was not bright, came from a HORRIBLE home upbringing, and had never held down a job for more than three months during the 10 years or so I lived beside her. Dated rejects. One day we were hanging out, and I asked her about her commitment to running every day. Know what she said? There might come the day when her being able to run faster than her attacker would save her life.
    ???? Damn. She blew my mind.

  6. katiewritesagain

    I read years ago that to avoid being a victim, don’t ACT like a victim, and be obviously aware of your surroundings. I don’t look timidly or furtively around…I look around with confidence and if something catches my eye, I give myself a really good look. Anyone watching me sees that I am confident, energetic, and not afraid. In other words, he may figure I’m a small older woman…and he may grab me, but he’ll get a fight. He may win…but there will be DNA under my fingernails!! Most criminals are looking for easy targets and yes, the elderly are easier. Another reason to stay fit, healthy and AWARE.
    It’s sad to think there are cowardly, scummy, obviously subhuman beings out there for whom terrorizing others is a game. Hopefully, something will happen to take them out of the gene pool.

  7. A most excellent outlook and personal position. And I agree – criminals hone in on “victims” and it is certainly true that some people project weakness, and some people project strength. I have sometimes wondered how I would react in a situation where I find myself confronted with someone who wishes to do me harm. As they say — one never really knows until it happens. Let’s hope neither of us ever has to find out. It is reassuring to me that in the past, certain things have actually happened to me — and each time I was able to… well, sort of “talk” myself out of it. Who knew?!

    Frankly that’s one of the main reasons I prefer cats and dogs over people. Never met a psychotic cat or dog.

  8. katiewritesagain

    Yes, my cats are my family. They are funny, affectionate, intelligent, respectful, full of gratitude for everything, innocent, Zen masters…and I sure miss them when I’m not home.
    I have also been in situations that in retrospect I’m almost surprised I got out of. I guess that’s why I feel confident that I don’t project weakness or at least easy prey. On the other hand, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time…well, maybe it’s just your time. I’m not being flip here, just saying there are some things we can’t control. SO, control what you can- your own behavior!

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