Thursday, August 17, 2017

Heritage Gone Tomorrow

DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.  If you don't agree me, that's cool.  I'm not trying to talk you into anything.  Well, I still think you should get out and see more local theatre, but that's not relevant now.  Please don't berate me if you disagree with me.  You are entitled to your own opinion. Just keep your Tiki Torches at home.
I never really thought about it till the current shitstorm rained down, but I don't really get the concept of being proud of your heritage.
I am a straight white female American.  My ancestry is half Irish, one quarter Welsh and one quarter unknown, because my grandmother refused to discuss her family's past. (Unfortunately, not because it was juicy, but because my grandmother just didn't believe in talking much.)   I didn't choose any of this, it was all just an accident of birth.  If my mother had married the guy she was engaged to at the time she met my father, I would have been 150% Irish.  And as scary as that thought is, it still would have been just a random chance.  I don't feel any personal pride in the Irish or the Welsh, just because people with a lot of my DNA came from those places.  I love Ireland and Wales, because they're beautiful countries, but I love Italy too, and I can't claim any "heritage" from there.
If I'm proud of anything, it's the decisions I've purposely made.  I'm proud to be a mom.  I'm proud to be involved in local theatre.  I'm proud to be a cat owner.    I'm proud that I don't judge people by the color of their skin, or their sexual preference, or their selection of music genre. I'm proud that in spite of being emotionally ruined by a string of unsuccessful relationships, I can still cry with joy when I see people I love in love.  I'm proud that I still believe in this country and its  system of government, though lately that's been a tough one.   I'm proud that I choose not to believe in a mythical, misogynistic, homophobic immortal, who purportedly wrote one book over 2000 years ago that's supposed to be what we live by. (Come on, even Harper Lee wrote 2 books!) 
And I'm proud of my friends who  battled demons and won, even though I know every day is a struggle for them to keep on keeping on.  And I'm proud of my kids, because they are the best people in the universe, the end.
But I'm not proud to be a Mick and a Leek, that's just the roll of the dice.  In the end, what counts is not what boat your ancestors stepped off of, but what path you choose to walk today.  I've certainly chosen to go down my fair share of deadends, but as my paths are growing shorter, I'm proud of where I'm walking now.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Musings on Being Old

I hate when people say, "You're not old."  Yes, I am.  65 is old.  I hope to be older, but 65 is still old.  I'm not pretending to be 25, so you don't have to pretend I am, either.
I have been asked why I don't hang out with people my own age.  The answer is because I'm not in preschool.  There may be a time when I get chucked into a home and they'll put me in the rising 85 year-olds (a small group, with a high drop-out rate), but for now I prefer to hang out with people with whom I have similar interests and who refrain from telling me I'm not old. 
I am still freaked out every time I look at my hands and they're the hands of an old person.  I'm used to the dark circles under my eyes and the impressive chin wattle, but I still wonder every time I look down, "Who stuck my mother's hands at the end of my arms??"
My quality of life diminished greatly after my divorce, and never recovered.  I no longer own a home, washer/dryer, and/or dishwasher.  I don't have or ever will have a significant other.  I have adjusted amazingly well to this; but I sometimes still miss having a washer/dryer. 
Many people get more religious as they get older, I've gotten less.  I never accepted the construct of heaven or hell, once I stopped believing in Santa Clause or Congress.  I like the idea of reincarnation, but I think it's entirely possible that once you're dead, you're dead.  I find that comforting.  At least I won't miss having a washer/dryer anymore.
I have accepted the fact that every day there will be at least one part of my body in pain.  It's kind of fun getting up in the morning (itself a plus!) and discovering which body part hurts today.  It took me awhile to get over the, "Oh my God, my elbow hurts, I have elbow cancer!" phase, but I thankfully have landed in the resignation phase, "Life's a bitch, and then you die."
It has also taken a long time for me to accept the fact that I will never be the person I want to be.  I will always have my demons.  At one point, I thought realizing why I have demons would make them go away, but it hasn't.  I just have to come up with coping mechanisms to learn to live with them, which I have.  In the words of the great Jack Nicholson, "This is as good as it gets."  This fact no longer reduces me to a sobbing, inconsolable pile of poo.  Most days.
Yes, I am rapidly spinning towards the end of my mortal coil, but I am beyond lucky/grateful to have  my amazing kids, their partners, and my grandbabies, theatre, and my loving theatre friends, and my cats.  Not bad for an old lady.