I'm pondering what "calming down," which I mentioned in yesterday's post, means to me.
The physical changes that come with age--the possible lessening of sexual drive, for instance--aren't what I mean. I have noticed that some people are calm about those natural changes and some are not. (Judging from the popularity of hair dyes and viagra, I'd bet more not-calm than calm.)
In fact, I feel less confusion and shame about sexuality at midlife, so while my hormonal impulses may be less intense--and I'm not sure they are--I actually feel more authentically sexual. Even if that means getting all broody about Captain Kirk... (Those teddy-bear ears! That pretty nose!)
"Calm down" is a phrase that can seem almost like a weapon. When kids are being "too" exuberant, adults may yell this at them. So calming down may seem like an unwelcome restriction, a diminishment of energy, a tamping down of desire.
That's not what I mean either.
I mean something more like an example Anthony deMello uses: if we are nervous when we drive, we keep tapping the brakes. We waste fuel, we wear out parts, and we make ourselves seasick. Or, if we are inattentive, we may drive with the parking brake on and really burn-out the system.
If we are confident and calm, we take our foot off the brake and just drive smoothly. If we need to stop or swerve, we do it. So, calming down is about having more power*, not less, to sit in the driver's seat, go where we're going, and deal with whatever comes up.
Like right now. I am resisting writing an index due today and if I don't get off the web and DO it, I'm going to make myself and the person who's waiting for it unhappy.
So, foot off the brake, Fresca!
* By "power" I simply mean the ability to do or to be, like the Latin root (possere?), not the ramped-up stuff of political wrestling and emo-porn.