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!
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 books...so 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!