I have turned the age my father was when he died of a massive heart attack. His first symptom was death. Do you know what this does to the psyche of a partial hypochondriac? I’ll tell you what it does. It causes one to occasionally curl up in the fetal position awaiting death the way a pregnant woman awaits labor. “Is this it? Was that a fleck of plaque clogging my artery or a sore muscle from my push-up this morning?” (Yes, I meant to write push-up singularly. If you can write it plural, bully for you.)
No matter that I have four perfectly living siblings who all made it past this age with their hearts in tact; forget about the cardiologist who told me I have the heart of a much younger person; I spit in the eye of the primary care physician who assured me that women usually take after their mothers in the heart department.
And then there was the medical intuitive I consulted who looked me up and down and proclaimed, “You won’t be dying of a heart attack, but all that anxiety over dying could kill you!”
My original plan was to spend my birthday and every day following for the entire year waiting for my heart to give out. But I have kids and a husband and friends and I kind of like them all. Plus, if I do keel over, they’ll go through my unmentionables and find out that I still have underwear circa 1994.
My second option involved a mid-life crisis somewhere along the lines of Eat, Pray, Love meets Thelma and Louise. That started to sound exhausting after a while, though, mostly because of all the sex in tropical rooms and cheap hotels.
So instead I am going to re-invent myself.
I thought I might accomplish this by working towards greater happiness. Honestly, though, I don’t think we were put on this earth to achieve individual happiness. I think we were put here to cultivate unity, to love something bigger than ourselves (God — however your God looks to you, the earth, hope) above all else, and love our neighbor as ourself. In so doing, we co-create a collective happiness.
Things just got real, huh?
So I am not going the happiness route. Besides, if I cannot be happy with a wonderful husband, three fantastic children, a lovely community, nice shelter, plenty of food, Netflix Streaming, and excellent health insurance, then a year is not going to make much of a difference.
With my own happiness off the goal-line, I have no choice but to choose the generic, vague, almost banal goal of “reinventing myself.” As the year progresses, I will find out what that means. And I will share it here. If you’ve always wanted to do the same, I hope it helps. If you are here as a voyeur, well, what can I expect when I am willing to share some very personal stuff with the entire interwebs? If you are an old crush who got here by googling me to find out whatever happened to the goofy, geeky girl with a white fro who wrote your name all over her binder in glitter pen, you had your chance — move along now.
Here’s to re-invention. Madonna did it first with pointy boobs and then again with a new accent. I can only go up from there.
|“You cannot step twice into the same river.” — Heraclitus
Photo by Larisa Larisa