Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Midlife Crisis

I turn fifty this Saturday.
I'm watching the first season of The West Wing, which I've never seen before.

This combination has kicked me in the gut.
I guess the message "Anybody can grow up to be president of the United States" must have lodged in my data banks, crosslisted under "Personal Potential" and "Later."

At fifty, words like "potential" and "later" have become "now."
And there is no doubt about whether or not I am now the president.

Then I got my AARP card. No matter what perky spin they put on it--
"Go SCUBA diving at 80!"--
this is the modern manifestation of the Grim Reaper's scythe whistling through the air.

I didn't expect to feel anything about this birthday.
Instead, I feel like a failure.


Ginga Squid said...

Hey Fresca - I think its normal to have all those things go through your head? But once they have gone through your head you can kick their butts the hell out and just get on with your life!

I can highly recommend scuba diving - its very relaxing and colourful!

Rudyinparis said...

Oh! Do you really? I know people can't talk us out of our feelings, but, oh, please don't feel that way. There's a ripple effect there, and I want to be you when I grow up, so what does that say about me?

By the way, I distinctly remember a similar feeling you had about being the president back in college, watching the Olympics, the gymnasts. And I realized that I officially would never, ever be an Olympic gymnast. Now, did I ever aspire to be one? No. But to have its potentiality (is that a word?) feel as if it were somehow ripped out of your hand is a sobering event, indeed.

Margaret said...

You're allowed to feel that way, of course, but you're not allowed to actually believe that.

Someone asked me today,
"So who's the best 50 year old you know?"
I was like,
"That would have to be Freska."
And they were like,
"OMG you know Freska?! Her film about the disinherited alien who is saved by friendship and the universal irresistability of donuts changed my life!"

I don't mean to go all young-person on you, but I look up to you a fuck of a lot, so failure MY SHOE. (Not that looking up to a person need have anything to do with age; I look up to Ethan, in some ways.)

Me, I was supposed to have biked across America and written a novel by now. EPIC FAIL, yeah, but I'm fond of the fact that I wanted (want) to do those things in the first place.

I'm thinking of that picture of the dinosaur with the caption: YOU ARE GREAT!!!!
. . . Can't remember where I saw it, but THAT:
a dinosaur, saying you are great.

Margaret said...

Oh yeah - "scythe" - I had a dream a couple weeks ago wherein I read a poem called
William Shatner's Scythe and Flowers

. . . so that's totally useless, but!

Fresca said...

GINGA: Yeah, I think it's normal--there's even a name for it! Thanks--I think you're right that the thing to do is to keep on keeping on.

I'd love to go SCUBA diving... also learn to surf! I'm nowhere near a coast, but maybe someday.

RUDY: I hesitated to post this cause I always want to seem together, but I also want to be honest about how sometimes I fall apart.
Anyway, YOU GOT IT with the Olympic gymnast analogy! There's something sobering about hearing Father Time a door slam that you never wanted to go through anyway.

MARZ: Thank you for the cheering words! I LOVE the summary of "The Disinherited." :)

You're right, there's a big difference between feeling and believing... I definitely didn't BELIEVE I was a failure.
Or no more than anyone else who hasn't written The Great American Novel, climbed Mount Everest, achieved permanent Enlightenment, etc.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! ;D

Fresca said...

Thanks, Tinto!