Blog Slog

If I wrote for a column, or if my material appeared in printed and/or published form, I doubt it would be thus. But as it is, my writing is relegated to the status of “blogging”, and my writings are not considered to be essays, but rather, they are called “blog posts”. An uglier word than “blog” cannot possibly exist. Nor could a piece of writing be held in any lower regard than the common blog post.

The notion that people who blog (I disdain the use of this word as a verb) struggle to create content is maddening to me. If you don’t wake up in the morning bursting with “content”, then do something else with your time! Write because you desperately wish to express yourself, write because you have a need to communicate and share witness with others. Write because you have insights to share with your fellow humans. Creating content for its sake alone seems like pure insanity to me.

When I am called a “blogger” it becomes easy for people, including good friends, to disregard my posts as mere entries in a diary. And even though they may indeed serve to chronicle my life’s events, my writings are so much more than that. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that they were merely mundane journal entries – even if this simple estimation of my writing was considered to be true – how is that not of some interest? I personally believe that diaries can be wholly captivating.

From time to time, I myself enjoy going back over archived posts and re-reading them. Recounting Oscar Wilde’s words about his own diaries helps to restore my spirit, for I tend to agree with the man: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Indeed.

Here comes the diary entry:

Elihu is living in Tianjin, China for the next several months. He’s enjoying his post at an aeronautical engineering company which makes drones. He has found his tribe. His boss understands Elihu’s talents and skills and gives him opportunities to use them well. Now past the first exhausting few weeks, he is beginning to fully explore and enjoy his new environment.

In that China is such an enormous country, there are many languages spoken there; Mandarin was chosen by the government as a national language so that its many citizens could communicate with each other. Elihu’s four flat mates speak Mandarin as a second language just as he does – so you can believe my “little linguist” is busy trying to add a few more languages to his list. Eight and counting….

Thanks to WeChat, Elihu, his father and I can communicate instantly. This is what frees me from undue worry. Elihu and I sometimes chat for a half hour, as easily as if here were here with me in the kitchen. Having this window to another culture is fascinating – it’s such a rare experience!

My son has created a wonderful life for himself. And as his world expands, so does mine. Proud and grateful mama am I.

Big B Day

Today is my 60th birthday. Throughout the past few months I have experienced a slow, burning sense of dread about becoming this old. Feeling keenly the paradox of finding life in and of itself a pure win, and yet at the same time feeling inextricably trapped in a nightmarish scenario of decay and irrelevance.

Strangely, yesterday and today I have been covered in a sort of calm. It’s a new feeling, not intense or forward in my thoughts – but instead, running in the background like a maintenance program. I have not experienced anguish or lament at reaching this landmark birthday, but rather I have been feeling a general sense of peace these days. This is new to me, and unexpected.

I am a vain woman, and it would be silly to deny it. But I am also an insightful woman. I counterbalance my vanity with the awareness that I am vain. (Not that it gets me off the hook entirely, but I offer that by way of partially absolving myself of that distasteful character flaw.) But as things feel from where I sit in this moment, I care less than I have in the past. Sure, I don’t want you to see me in full light with a great lens, but if you do – it won’t slay me anymore. Cuz my turn at youth is up. I get it.

It’s not as if I won’t still play the game – I’m still a vain and insecure person – so I’ll play it alright. But somehow, today, it doesn’t feel quite the same. It just doesn’t feel that critical, that urgent. I’m 60, not 40. Not even 50. Nope. I’m older. And it is what it is.

To tell the truth, what I’m feeling is a sense of freedom.

I don’t believe an outlook can truly change in an instant, or on some landmark day, and yet I can honestly say that I’m feeling differently right now than I would have expected. Feels kinda like I just don’t wish to hold myself accountable to standards that I simply can no longer meet. You know, the physical ones. Cuz things are different now. They really are. In just the past three years I’ve felt a decline. I can’t fathom cleaning up my five-acre property the way I did in the past. It’s beyond me now. I can’t reset the stones and hardscape like I did a decade ago. I’m not confident about cleaning my own gutters anymore. I know that I’ll never ride a motorcycle or handle lines on a sailboat again. These things do kinda break my heart, but I also know that I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of great experiences. I can move along without regret.

My son is on his way to China for the next four months, a dream of his come true. My mother and brother live next door, and I am doing relatively ok. I’m poor on paper, but rich in life. I have a handful of dear friends whom I love, I have a beautiful baby grand piano and a huge picture window which faces the distant hills. I’ve got it good. So I’ll just take what I have and hold it dear.

Thank you, mom, for bringing me into this adventure, and for giving me everything I needed to make this life a pretty good one. I hope I’ve done the same for my kid.

Happy birthday to the spring babies of the family, Elihu and me.