Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another New Year

Down here in Texas, it's often hard to know exactly what season it is unless it's summer. There's no confusion about summer in Texas. Up North, the seasons are much more distinct, although lately spring and fall have been ill defined. Since Velvet went away to College this past September, I've been getting used to the idea that I'm no longer in the summer of my life.

Autumn has come on me slowly. You can't help but notice milestones like your fiftieth birthday, but it takes a while to understand the significance. A couple of months ago I realized that I've crossed into new territory where the folks are mellow and welcoming.

We all know that you can't escape assholes at any age. Similarly, the acceptance and good humor you find among friends is not age related either. Being over fifty, though, informs your perspective on life. It's kind of like Geometry class in High School - you struggle and struggle to understand what the hell all this stuff is supposed to mean, and then in an instant, something clicks in your head and things start falling into place.

Things start falling into place when you're over fifty kind of like the leaves falling from the trees. Sometimes brilliantly colored leaves swirl around gracefully in a clear blue sky. Other times a cold blast of wind hurls a bunch of crusty brown shit in your direction. It's just the fall, and when you are prepared for the conditions, you simply deal with whatever comes your way.

Many fall days are so warm and sunny, it's easy to believe summer is lasting forever. Then a few cold, gray days let you know winter is coming soon.

On my trip to Austin I had to face the winter because there's no denying people are going to start to die. A friend's dad died right before Christmas, and one of the dearest friends I'll ever have has diabetes. People can live decades with diabetes, but given that his youthful drug use was indicative of alarming self destructive tendencies, and now he's drinking sugar soda while he gives himself an insulin shot - it sure looks like self-destruction is here to stay. Other friends will surely get sick, especially since a couple of them are still smoking like chimneys. Sooner or later, my own dad will pass, and sooner or later, so will I.

Driving down 290 back to Houston, I was listening to an album called Drag Queens and Limousines by Mary Gauthier. Between the fiddle and the chorus, "A Lifetime ain't no time at all," this song made me cry and cry and cry.
Share Lifetime by Mary Gauthier
I wasn't all together sad, though, because bawling to the stereo is delightfully satisfying, and mostly life is long and full of surprises. The title song from the album got to me too

Mary's life and friends are more colorful than mine, but there's a line in this song which felt particularly pertinent during all this thinking about life paths and people dying:

Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do
and pray that the people you love catch up with you.

I was thinking specifically about that guy who won't talk to me. I haven't seen him in real life since January, but he showed up so much in the statcounter that it came to feel like a kid playing ring and run with my doorbell. No matter what I say or do, however, he won't talk to me which is a drag because he's one of those people I'll always love no matter what. Most likely, he doesn't understand about that stuff at all which is why I decided to leave him, figuratively speaking, out on the road to Ithaca (Marijuana and Mercy, Stonerdate 11.08.09). I'm rolling along own path and can't get bogged down by somebody else's baggage. He can catch up or not.

Looking at my personal development over the last year - Velvet turning 18 and graduating from high school, me turning 50, getting fired from that piece of shit job and landing firmly on my feet, the major changes when Velvet went away to Tree Hugger Academy which resulted in my getting a gold star in parenting from his shrink - and wrapping up my own therapy after 16 years of work to recover from suicidal depression - I feel a lot like the little triangle in a book called The Missing Piece Meets The Big O

The story is about a little piece who feels like she's not whole so she looks for someone to complete. If she can fit into somebody else, then they'll both be whole. The big O shows her how to move until she becomes a whole circle herself and can roll along on her own. They roll happily beside each other for a while, complete in and of themselves.

I'm like that now. It's taken a life time, but like Mary says, a life time ain't no time at all - and the nice thing about being fifty these days is that, if you can believe AARP, fifty is the new thirty. I feel pretty young and pretty healthy, and I feel kind of old and kind of wise. All things considered, that's about as good as it gets.


Gail said...

Hi Trish-

Happy New Year to you, and Velvet and all your folks in Texas. I really enjoyed this post - I found it so peaceful, wise, accepting, and even comforting.
And how do you do that thing with the arrows that direct folks to other posts or what ever??

Love to you

PENolan said...

You should be able to follow the link to the song - but I changed one to a youtube vide for your convenience.

Have a happy!

Holte Ender said...

Happy new year. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and adventures occasionally, very refreshing.

jenmorrison said...

It's a beautiful post. I'm with you in my finding myself in autumn, and noting big changes - mostly those ones that have come when I wasn't paying attention. Like those leaves falling into place.

You've given me a new way to get introspective at the most introspective time of the year.

Here's a toast to a marvellous and eventful 2010. Cheers!

Muffy said...


I wish I knew that you would be heading down 290. Would have loved to have met you, shared some 420 moments and some awesome Texas BBQ with you.

Texas loves and Misses you!

Muffy Love

PENolan said...

Cheers everyone - and Muffy, I'll catch you on the flip. Maybe toward the end of March.

Comrade Kevin said...

Happy New Year to you. May you keep this sense of peace within you.

intelliwench said...

Happy New Year! You've inspired me to try the year-long-50th birthday party thing, too. I already feel more like "me" than I have in ages, and I too think these are gonna be good years!

Beach Bum said...

We all know that you can't escape assholes at any age.

That takes on a whole other epic meaning living in the town I do.

Happy New Year!

Adding you to my blogroll, should have done it sooner.

Faithful Progressive said...

Happy New Year, we just came back from Houston--so enjoyed yer post.


PENolan said...

Nice to see all y'all - sending all those warm wishes right back at cha

GDAEman said...

Great Line:

Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do
and pray that the people you love catch up with you.

The bane of a political activist for sure.

Happy New Year!

Vancouver Voyeur said...

You've pulled me into an introspective corner, that at 46, I've been trying desperately to ignore. I'm going to linger awhile with my thoughts. There are so many similarities here, I just need to sit and think. Thanks for the impetus.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you. Thought would stop and say hello, I do enjoy reading your blog. Alas am older than your self am personally 55. Still can not get my mind around the number. Am coming thur VV's blog, am an older sister. Your references to Ithaca as well as other references to NYS. Caught my attention. Any way Thanks for sharing thoughts and ideas.
Pat from NY


I think winter will hit Texas about Thursday at 10am..high of 38 low of 18 here...
bip your friend with diabetes...sometimes it takes a friend to tell you the truth to get your ass in gear. happy new year ole girl...

PENolan said...

Thanks Granny - I figured I'd send him the cookbook. I'm thinking I'll be back in late March to catch the first bluebonnets and check on getting a PhD from UT.

VV, I'm still introspective but am having so much fun with my kids at school that my spirits are as bouncy again as ever.

Pat, GDAEman - Welcome and hurry back.

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