I have too many things and I spend quite a bit of time talking to banks, lawyers and insurance people. A bunch of people count on me to get things done and be there to hold up the world.
I treasure sleep over almost any other pleasure, I eat sensibly all the time, I might go wild and have an onion ring. My skin is aging fast, not so much with wrinkles, but with an overall hue of weathering. I am becoming old.
As my eye casts over the elders in my life I realize that what we call ‘middle age’ is a very large part of our whole life, and pretty much the main course. This could be considered the best part; when we have everything we wished for and are safe, so far, from the vicissitudes of a crumbling body.
As I approach 50, in my 49th year, I have returned to my unemployed writer and busy mother state that I have been in for the last 20 years. Having regular writing work for the last ten years was actually quite unusual for me, and I enjoyed it. Now that job is gone I am back to my usual state of a defensive low ego and a hard scrabble for my own cash flow.
I have tried applying for work this year and it has been an exercise in futility and humiliation.
In the last interview, in which I was put the twenty ridiculous questions by three nice women my age with no dress sense what so ever, I almost ended the interview with a reversal.
“Now let me ask you”, I was on the verge of saying, the only thing stopping me was the slimmest chance that they were going to hire me, “Tell me about an episode in your work history when you reacted to a stressful situation, how did you respond, what was your action plan”?
Every time I am rejected for a job I am furious. It is patently ridiculous. Obviously I would be a good worker, what is more reliable than a middle aged woman who is just happy to have a job at all?
I am left to examine the situation and myself. It appears to me that I have too much personality; I am too big in the room, with already formed opinions and flashing eyes. I am not sure that I don’t appear a bit crazy.
Still, if I had worked all along, not caring for my children in my doting fashion, I would have been in a ‘job’ all along, and my flashing eyes and big opinions would have put me in their position or as their boss.
So I chose the road less traveled on my own accord and cannot cry about it.
I have some ideas for the future: I would like to learn an instrument and be in a punk band with older woman. I would not wear a bra or wash my hair. That would be really fun. And I bet we get a following because older people with money and time are nostalgic about the music of their past, and punk was still reverberating with raw emotion in my generation.
And, I might add, I still have that inchoate rage against the self-defeating thoughtlessly destructive consumerist world. I’ve probably got more rage inside of me than the average 20 year old right now.
Also, I think my partner Joe and I could run a really great café/bar. All the successful people of our generation will want to eat and drink there, and all the children of hipsters who miss their parents.
I am planning this for later years, when we no longer have school age children. It is my retirement plan. It will be fun and since we spent much of our youth working/partying in cafes and bars we will run a great little establishment. We know all the tricks.
So that is the plan so far. Sounds good. And when the children return to school this fall and I have hours in the morning I plan to write children’s literature. I have five billion ideas and about 10 different stories already begun.
I need to feel frivolous and happy to be able to do that so I am trying to get into the right mood. I might shave parts of my head, stop wearing a bra and get a new tattoo on my sun weathered chest that says ‘fuck y’all’.
I suppose I don’t need to do that, as the ‘fuck y’all’ must already be apparent on my unemployable face.
The ‘fuck y all ‘ attitude is good and fun, but what I really need to do is go back even further to the twelve year old girl at peace with herself and the world.
There is a place of imagination and play that is sleeping inside of me.
I have crushed my love of writing over the years, first with trying to make it into academic writing, and then by trying to sell it to magazines and papers. I have buried it under expectations that it should be a career.
This blog has lifted that veil by reminding me that I write for pleasure. Can I write for pleasure without worrying about money? We shall see.