I feel old.
When I talk about myself, I realize I am describing myself as a 67 year old, rather than a 37 year old. I think of myself living ten more years, perhaps, rather than forty, fifty and beyond. I feel, like I have for the last three years, on the downward slope of life, like Sisyphus, chasing after a fucking boulder with my cane and bad attitude. Grief aged me.
Thirty-seven for one more day, that is. Tomorrow, as the meteors shoot across the night sky, I will turn 38 years old. It is my birthday. That is a meaty number, full of round contemplations and strength, but I feel weak and flat. Old and crumbly.
I have a friend who is 86. I talk to him every week. If I wasn't married, I'd ask him to wed me, to take me as his bride. Handsome and smarter than anyone I have ever known. He is also the lightest person I know--perpetually laughing with a revolution under his smile. He is serene and peaceful and ready to rumble. He pretends to punch younger men, and they flinch. He bounces up off his seat to hug me in a giant bear hug that makes me feel important and beautiful. He makes me feel 37, a number much older than 86. I listen when I am near him. I stop and hear. Take his words into me, swoosh them around inside the newness of my 37 years. I know nothing. I am just a kid.
He said to me, "Hell, I'm only 86. I have forty more years of this myself." He laughs a gigantic guffaw whose gravitation pulls us into his orbit. I want to learn. I want to talk to him. I want to shine in his night sky, and radiate off of him. He tells me of fighting institutions and challenging bishops and his vow of poverty twenty years earlier. I want to be young like him. I want to know when to fight, when to stop, when to listen, when to speak. I want to intuitively grasp something other than my own ass.
I condemn myself to senility, a bent-over life, a stick in my hand, searching for firm ground, a place to find footing. At 37, I sit and live. I need to run. Or walk, or change, I mean. My husband and I head out in forty degree weather toward the Appalachian Trail to walk. My mother has the children. We want to walk together, to say goodbye to 2011 in a way that is quiet, meditative, together. We are entering a new year in our marriage, we hope. Perhaps we will be cold, we say, perhaps we shouldn't go.
We will be cold for a moment, then that too shall pass.
We will be uncomfortable, and then that too shall pass.
We will find our rhythm, and then that too shall pass.
We will be happy, and then that too shall pass.
We will be 37, and then that too shall pass.
I set my alarm this morning for 3 am tomorrow. When the stars dance, meteors shooting across the sky, when I can make wishes all night. I will wish for that which I cannot speak--youth, revolution, strength, roundness of spirit. For my children to never feel old, for me to love right where I stand right when I am standing in it.
I bounce up, stand in horse position, the fighting stance. All fisticuffs to the sky:
Come on, Universe. Wanna fight? I only have another hundred years of this.