Yup, my lack of mojo was so great I let my birthday pass with no fanfare. I also let the four year anniversary of the blog slide on by, but given that I wasn’t blogging that seemed only right, no? We shall all nod sagely and get back to the birthday storo. I didn’t do much of anything for my birthday this year, no elaborate meal with the clan, nothing but another day at work with a surprise chocolates from a friend far away and the lack of a not surprise dinner from a friend much closer. That’s what I best remember from the day, the disappointment at a request I made being blithely ignored by someone I thought knew better than to ignore me. See, in my old age, I know better than to be vague or coy. I told this pal o’ mine that I wanted to go out for a meal and maybe some dancing. I stated it clearly, with reminders leading up to the day. Then the day came and not so much as an sms. And when I reminded said pal two weeks later, when he stopped by my house unannounced for a loose meal, I was brushed off like a pesky child asking for sweets I shouldn’t have, reminding me that some people will never get it, get me. Said pal has since been relegated to the ranks of people I will never rely on, not even for simple shit like a phone call.
People will let you down. People close to you will let you down. That’s just the way life goes, everyone’s so busy looking out for themselves that they forget, or are simply unable, to look out for you. We all do it, and then we feel bad about it and vow to change our ways, until we do it again. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my 38 (and a half) years of life, it’s to stop making promises I can’t keep, and to keep promises I do make. You don’t want to be the idiot no one relies on, trust me when I tell you that’s a lonely way to live.
As odd as this will sound, coming after that grand declaration, I’ve also learnt to look out for myself, selfishly. I learnt this years ago, but it’s always a good lesson to learn again, as and when necessary. Jisort. Always. If you’re lucky, you’ll always have a few people around you who are there for you no matter what foolishness you get up to, but sometimes you have to be your own survival mechanism, self preservation and such like. Sometimes, we have to get our heads out our own asses and figure shit out for ourselves. The hidden bonus in that Deepak Chopra-esque self help nonsense, in figuring out our own shit, we’re better equipped to handle other people’s. Being self sufficient makes you a better friend, or lover. Go figure.
Which then makes this next bit even odder. You can’t be too self sufficient. I know, it makes no sense, but that’s why I’m not selling this dodgy wisdom (yet). If you’re not self sufficient enough, you become a drag on the people around you. Too self sufficient, you become their mule, carrying all their loads, because you do it so well. You’re looking for the goldilocks sweet spot; good, but not too good. I know, it’s a bit of a crap shoot, but isn’t that what life is all about, shooting crap and trying to make sure none of it ends up on your shoes?
I am no philosopher, clearly.
This year is the first time in a long time I’ve felt my age. It’s partly because of the younglings I keep reading on Twitter (still the work of the devil that one), partly because of the people I’ve buried this year, partly because of the aches and pains my body has been subjecting me to lately as it contemplates the second half of it’s stint on this planet. Whatever the reason, this year, a few months ago more than now, I felt 38 years old. And it scared me. This year, I’ve felt more mortal, fragile, than ever before. It also made me more impatient. We forget how truly short life is, convinced that we’ll be young forever, 18 till we die and whatnot. 'Ha!' she scoffs. If only. Thing is, along with my newfound fear of death came the urge not to waste any more time, which is a fancy way of saying I have no time for foolishness any more. Lately I find myself speaking more frankly, with less time for niceties, and given how blunt I sometimes get that’s saying something, no? You do know I see you nodding? You buggers are so disloyal. Nkt! My lovelies, I’m disinclined to entertain foolishness, not even mine, having learnt to speak less and listen more, sometimes even listening better. I’m finally learning not to waste time listening to every opinion, under the misguided hope that it may prove magically helpful even when I'm pretty sure it won't. I now know enough to dismiss the bullshit immediately, sometimes with eloquently expressed malice and forethought to ensure it never comes back (you’d be surprised how well that works).
This is the thing about getting older, you start to understand the irritation with which older people used to treat us when we were younglings. There’s no point trying to explain this, if you’re older than me you already know this. If you’re younger you won’t get it until you do, and when you do you’ll say the exact same thing to those behind you. This is one of those ‘you have to go through it yourself’ things, time has a way of showing you that there’s really nothing new under the sun.
I sound like one of those characters in Grumpy Old Men or Golden Girls, don’t I? I do. I’m not a cranky old crone, yet, but cross me on the wrong day with some bullshit and I can be. For the record, any day is the wrong day. For further record, some bullshit is basically anything that seems to be poorly thought out and/or otherwise foolish, or anything that maligns the good name of (insert my current favourite singer of tacky pop songs). Best you can hope for is that I have enough sugar/caffeine/nicotine/alcohol in my system, mellowing me out long enough for you to make a quick getaway before I slap you. On the upside, 38 (and a half) year old me is pretty easy to ignore so...fuck it, yes?
Live long and prosper sounds like an appropriate way to sign off, but then Spock went and died this year, bless his pointy eared soul. Granted, he died after living long and prospering, but still...maybe not. I say this all the time, but this year may be the year it makes most sense, my lovelies, life is too short.
Live, love, lust, linger, lick (ideally someone else). The 5 L’s to live by, no?