Friday, July 17, 2009

Why are we born to suffer and die?

There's been a dearth of posts lately because I've been having a bit of an existential crisis brought on by the prospect of turning sixty next year.

Oooh, every time I think of that number I get a little light-headed. Wait a minute, let me just close my eyes for a second. Deep, calming breaths. Inhale, exhale. Ahhhh.

Okay, we'll go on but we'll leave the precise numbers out of it.

So, here's the deal. I'm getting old, and I hate it. I hate the stuff that goes on with your body - the sagging and the bagging and the sun spots on your cheekbones where your glasses reflect, and the shocking discovery that your grandmother's hands have somehow attached themselves to your body. I hate the thick waist and pouchy tummy and unruly gray hair, the sore back and hips from osteoarthritis, the inability to sleep through the night. I hate the new heights to which my cholesterol has soared. (Exercise more and eat less red meat, my doctor advised. Um, I exercise five to six days every week as it is, and I eat red meat about once a month. But, okay. I'll do better.)

More than the physical, though, I hate the mental stuff. I hate losing my glasses and my keys every day. I hate having words slither right out of my mind just when I need them. I hate the way time seems to have speeded up so I can't achieve a fraction of what I need to achieve in a day. I hate the feeling that doors are slamming, that my opportunities are fewer and farther between. (I dealt with the fact that I'd never learn ballet when I turned forty, that I wasn't going to get comfortable with horseback riding when I was fifty. Now, as another zero approaches, I wonder if I'll ever be a published author. Actually, with the economic woes our country and my poor dysfunctional state are experiencing, I wonder if I'll end my days living under a bridge on the 605 Freeway.)

I hate the social stuff, too: the relatives and friends who've died at an alarming pace in the last ten years; the way our conversations have drifted from things we hope to do, to things we've done, to complaints about our receding gums, our weight gain, and our leaky bladders; the inability to appreciate music that doesn't hail from the previous century.

So. I keep wondering, as the characters do in Kilgore Trout's book, Venus on the Half-Shell (I know, I know - Trout is fictional, but the book exists...): Why are we born to suffer and die? The answer in the book is Why not? But I'm still pondering.

1 comment:

Other Lisa said...

If you figure out the answer, let me know, would you? I personally have no idea.