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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Birthday

I'm getting older.  In ten days, I'll head out with a few close friends to celebrate turning 50.  Here's the thing, since I was an angst-ridden teenager I've looked forward to turning 50, convinced that by then I'd have a clear vision of myself and the world, and therefore, have found peace with both.  As laudatory as it was for a 13 year old to believe that life goes on after 30, I find it hasn't worked out the way I'd hoped.

Instead, as I type this, my body is ridiculously covered with small, red, itchy pustules.  I have the chickenpox, generally considered a childhood disease; this in spite of the fact that recently x-rays and MRI revealed degenerative arthritis in my hips and spine, some of it severe; my eyesight has gotten to the point where I am now one of those older people in the aisle of the grocery story with a box in my hand moving it closer and farther, while moving my head up and down to line up my progressive lenses with the impossibly small type. ( As a side note, I did once see a snowy haired woman with an enormous magnifying glass in her hand roaming the same aisles.  This may be my future.);  and I seem to have misplaced my short-term memory (Actually, I know exactly where it is.  I parked it where many women do: no sleep-and-working-mother-land.  At I time when I didn't even realized I was bargaining, I made the barter, and it was done.)

Which brings me to my point.  In a month, my husband and I head out to hike the Appalachian Trail.

 He plans to do the whole thing; while I will walk the first month with him and then hop off to take care of my daughters.  I have decided to trust my physical therapist and not worry about whether my body can handle such an effort.  What I have decided to worry about instead is what to read while out there.  As I thought about it, this shifted into maybe I could memorize poems and passages that I love.  A woman who was well into the libation stage of a dinner party once amazed us all by reciting the opening pages of A Hundred Years of Solitude in Spanish. The beauty of it is something I hope to never forget.  

Memorization is a patient person's game.  I am not patient.  I forget my address and phone number as soon as I move.  To be honest, at this point, I sometimes double check my current address before sending out an envelope to be sure I remembered it correctly.  But I think it's time.  There is, after all, still a way I hope to walk in the world as I turn 50.  I think maybe this long walk is the time to take a few of the things I love in the world and hold them more patiently.  This would be a good place to start.


  1. OMG, pobrecita on the chicken pox. long distance hugs and coddling. mwha!

  2. This is lovely, Liz. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Carla! And it's so nice to hear from you.