Thursday, August 26, 2010

Get the funk out

August birthday I know I haven't written much here lately. The journalistic Muse has not shat upon my head for a few days now. I've been reading quite a bit (finished another book club book, read a Stephen King novella, got caught up on magazines), and I've been under the weather with a bit of a cold. I think I'm starting to shake it off, and I'm glad about that.

I'm also finding myself in a bit of a funk. I think most of it is just that I'm not feeling well, but if I'm to be completely honestly with myself, I know that part of it is that I have a birthday coming up. It's odd, because birthdays have never bothered me before. Thirty? Who cares? I was on the top of my game, looking good, feeling good. Forty? Pretty much the same deal. The thing is, I'm not even turning 50 this year. I'll be 48. I've still got two years to go before I'm eligible for AARP and certain places consider me a senior citizen. (I hear that I can get free coffee at McDonald's, which would be dandy if I drank coffee or ever went to McDonald's.)

So why is this getting to me so much right now? I know that part of it is because I'm not feeling well. I don't know about you, but I don't feel my most attractive when I'm walking around snuffling and snorting, and doing the Dracula cough. I realize that there is much more to me than the outside. I've always had the brains to back up whatever people thought they saw in the outer me, and that's something I've been proud of and valued in myself. So I know I need to keep that in mind as I stew in my own little woe-is-me goo.

I'm starting to feel that I'm on the downside of the mortality rollercoaster. Remember that feeling when you were young, when you felt you had an eternity before you? So many things to do, so many adventures to experience, so many places to go. I haven't lost that feeling, but I'm now realizing that I don't have an eternity ahead of me. Maybe it started when my Dad passed away in March. My mind whispered to me, "You might not be next...but you're certainly in line. Oh yes, you are."

A couple of people I admire very much for their intellect and keen thinking are ill, one of them gravely. Christopher Hitchens has esophageal cancer, and he'll be the first to admit that his chances aren't good. He is handling his illness with grace and good humor, and he has impressed me even more with his willingness to speak openly and frankly about it. He's 61. That's seeming younger all the time to me. PZ Myers recently had a pretty big cardiac scare. Chest pains, but no heart attack. Some blockage, but not requiring open heart surgery. He's 53. That is only five years older than I'm going to be in a few days. GAH!

Summer birthday I guess it kind of took me by surprise, because I've gone along all this while with barely a nod to another year gone by. Events have transpired this year that made me deal with death in a very personal way, so I am intellectually able to understand why I am more acutely aware of my own mortality on this birthday. The logical, rational Beth can recognize it for what it is, and will work towards making at least a little sense from it. There is much to be said for life experience, for learning more about the world, other people, and yourself. That doesn't come without living a few years. The emotional Beth can't help but miss that feeling of paying your fare and hopping on for a ride that felt like it would never end. I'm feeling like I can see the end now, and I don't like it much. Frankly, it scares me, but not because of any fear of death...that is inevitable, and although I didn't think a lot about it in earlier years, I never truly had the feeling that I would live forever. That's just silly.

It scares me because I feel like there is still so much I want to do! So many movies to see, so many places to go, and many books to read! I've got a bookshelf full of them, and I've still got 78 books to go on my book club list of 100. Seventy-eight. Of course, the Number One book is em-effin' Ulysses, so I'm not entirely sure why I'm so anxious to get to the end! HA!

Well, looky there. I believe I just went and made myself feel a little bit better. Had myself a good cry, contemplated mortality and junk, gazed into the abyss, wrote it out...and I'm okay.

And in case anyone is wondering, YES, I have PMS! There, are you happy?

I need funk!


  1. This song takes me back to being a little boy and bowling at the Lucky Strike Lanes on Grand River across from my Mom's high school, Northwestern High. The bowling alley has long went the way of the Dodo, but the school is still standing. That is no small feat, as the shrinking enrollment and the inability of the DPS to manage their facilities has put buildings in jeopardy. Now, it has been rebuilt but that was back in the late 80's before I left for the service. Anywho...

    I have been watching Christopher Hitchens on You Tube lately. I wonder what put me off him before, because he comes across as engaging and not at all condenscending. Sorry to hear about his condition and it seems rather young, now that so many people are living longer and life expectancy has grown... ooh, that is rather ghoulish of me, speaking as if his cancer was a sentence. It will affect his quality of life, but if Roger Ebert has shown me anything, it is that so much of that depends on you...

    You know my family is a 'short' line? I mean that while one of my Mom's sisters is still around, that her siblings have all passed young-ish, by their mid 60's or so. When my darling brother suffered his fatal stroke, I took that as a sign, not in the way of a fantastic omen from the Sky God, but simply a trend indicator. No, 'trait' does not skip generations and someone is next...

    Since despite my appearance, I have different condtitions that make me feel that the 'sooner or later' question leans heavily on the 'sooner' for me, I took inventory of things and came up with specific goals that I want to reach before I finally get the answer to what is on the other side of the darkness.

    No doubt, this has caused some of my current personal issues to be inflamed, because I would rather be caught in the middle of doing something than what I am doing now, sitting and waiting for the next step. It feels like I am sitting on the bench and out of the coaches' plans for the game, because I never get in on a play or a series of plays.


  2. We're close in age, and the thing that I miss is having most of my life in front of me. The having most of it behind me now is taking some time to get used to. How do people do it??

  3. Don't apologize for having feelings and emotions about any of this. I had the same similar experience a few years ago., I can't remember if it was my 50th or not. It may not have been even associated with a birthday. It's just one day your mind wanders to a place that you never wanted it to go, and there you are. More life behind you then ahead of you. What an ugly thought that is. But it's not even that, it's the realization that those ideas of immortality that we had as children are suddenly wiped out by that single thought. When you're a kid everything seems so far ahead, but when you get older, all of a sudden it isn't. We do have an internal clock, so I am sure that as we age, we recognize that each year is a lesser percentage of our total life, so they do seem to fly by when compared with your entire life. A decade was half my life when I was 20. Now, it's only a fifth. It's that harmonic sequence that gets us.
    But I got over it and so will you. The grass will be a little greener, and everything will have a little more meaning. And you'll be back on the path to peace and contentment. It didn't take that long for me, and it won't for you. I am glad you feel better when writing about it. Those negative emotions will fade and you'll be your jolly self again soon. So don't beat yourself up about it.

    ...and I never ever suspected you had PMS! :L)

  4. though we have had no one die this year, it sure has been a banner year to think about dying and when it may happen. Rick lost his best friend in 7/08....and it has really hurt Rick in ways i probably do not even realize...and with his sudden heart scare 2 months ago everything has been turned upside down for us and makes a person sit back and think "WOW, i am not infallible".

    you are the same age was my brother and 9 months younger than Rick.

    what you are feeling is normal, BTW....i do hope you feel lots better super quick.....there are moments in life where you sit and think "OMG, am i ever going to have enough time to get IT ALL done?!!". I hope you are able to feel better and find some time to just reflect, sit back and enjoy everything. I wish for you the happiest of birthdays.

  5. When I turned 48, I started menopause.....and started that funk you are feeling. Perhaps, time to check with your GYN and see if there is any activity in your blood work.

    Enjoy your birthday Sweetie.

    Hugs, Rose

  6. Colds tend to bring on the bad thoughts, take 2 days of Vitamin D and then tell me how you feel then.

    I am sure u will better.

  7. I hear you. When someone close to me or that I knew well, passes, it always makes me think of my own we get older, doesn't have to be a milestone year (shouldn't every year be a milestone?), we know we're on the down side. As you said, we're in line...
    Hope you can shake the funk...its no fun!

  8. You're 48? Feh! You're just a kid.

    Now look here and listen to me. You don't measure life by years. You are not on the down side. Many people accomplish more living after they reach 50 then they ever did before. It's wake up time, not look forward to death time. And you are not what you are because of what your body is doing. The main thing that happened to me when I turned 50 was to wonder, after half a century of life, where all the wisdom was that I was supoosed to have. That's when I started gaining some. Remember this from a wise man: "You can't help growing older, but you don't have to grow old."

  9. Beth, I'm glad you were able to get all that off your chest. Hope you feel a bit lighter. As Stan said, he went through this(and I remember it) and moved through it, so will you, when you have time to adjust. Right now, just feel what you need to feel.

  10. Love Parliament!! I hope you are feeling better. Had to take Thomas to the doctor yesterday for a bad cold/infection. I hope you're feeling better mentally, too. I think you've still got a lot of good years left in you, girl, and you obviously have a lot more reading to do during those years. You have had a rough year, though. Thomas just turned 50 this year, and I think that has been the only birthday that has really affected him. He snapped out of it pretty quickly though. So hang in there, and feel better!!


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?