I was trying to decide what I was thankful for. Lots sprang to mind - my health, my work, my friends, my loves, my family...but one idea has been spinning around in my head lately, and I think it wins.
I am most thankful that I am growing older. This will sound strange, no doubt, in a culture dominated by youth-focused advertising, where old age is disregarded or held in contempt and death is a bad word. It's true that my back occasionally aches now (and I'm only 26, so what will it do in ten or twenty years?), and every year I seem to add another five pounds (this trend must halt!), and yet I find that I am also more and more content each year.
Not content in a bored or dull way. My life is still interesting; in fact, it's more interesting than it was five years ago. It can be very intense at times, with emotional highs and lows. I'm glad of that -- I'd never want my life to get dull. Yet I do find that what I can only describe as a framework of perspective is settling down around the rollercoaster of my life (ah, I so love mixing metaphors). It contains it all, so that not only do I know that such-and-such difficult event is not the end of the world -- I feel it too, deep in my bones.
Balance/perspective/a core of calm -- this is very hard to put into words, but I suspect that it's all a function of growing older. Learning what's actually important and what just feels important temporarily. Learning who I am and what I'm willing to fight for. Just learning.
It feels a bit odd to me, because many of my friends hate getting older. They feel like they haven't accomplished as much as they would have liked, or they're not as attractive as they were (especially hard on the unpartnered ones), or that death and nothingness is fast approaching. All true, I suppose, but I feel that the peace and perspective that appear to be settling in as I get older are well worth a couple of silver hairs on my head.
Your mileage may vary, I suppose. And who knows -- maybe I'll feel differently tomorrow, or in five or ten or twenty years. Hard to tell.
7:25 - Home again, home again. E-mail and voice mail and snail mail to sort, writing to do, a brain quite tired. I did want to briefly share with those of you who enjoyed the recent journal entry on hypertext fiction the following:
Two more weeks of insanity, and then the semester is over and Kevin is back again for a few days and then I go to NY, CT, and Chicago for a month. Things may get a little crazy around here...