Around the end of every month, my Beau and I sit down for several hours with our finances. They’re complicated because, for example, I have my own business and work from home, she’s also doing jobs for hire, and then I split certain expenses with my ex for the boys, etc. So we sit there for a long time with different charts and files and just figure that shit out. I do not have a numbers head, and it is a challenge, but I love working with my Beau. It’s like doing a chore for the house you love, over and over again, every month. Our house. Our life. Our love.
Plus, also (as Junie B. Jones says), my parents were here for 10 days, and whenever they’re here, we get boxes out of the attic and go through family pictures and memorabilia (I inherited much of this when my grandparents died and then my parents moved), as well as my pack-rat crazy letters and shit.
I have the kind of fliberty-gibbet brain that doesn’t retain a lot, especially if I’m doing a ton of things at once, which I always am. It’s been really cool to go through boxes of, say, my college junk, or letters I wrote my grandparents or parents, and see how incredibly much I was doing at the time. If you ask me, I’ll say something vague and not remember all that much, but the hard data says I was doing at least 20 things at once, and always, always writing.
Correlation: I am doing at least 20 things now, and most of them are worthwhile and very cool. What a thought!
At 47, I look back and my life in some confusion. I could have been and done so many things that I didn’t do. I often look at life this way. The truth is, I did a ton of stuff, and a lot of it was really worthwhile. If the goal of life is to be happy, then what the heck. I have a friend who’s worked at the Boston Globe for almost 30 years, so she has a major career under her belt, but she’s hated every minute of it, and only did it because she had to. Through the luck of the draw, I haven’t had to stick with a job I hate that much (although if I were still working at Harvard as a secretary, like I did before I had Seth, I would be a lot better off financially than I am now), but the flipside of that is that I don’t have a yardstick to measure my success. At least, not what current society would call a yardstick.
I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, now that we’ve gotten through the finances. Wine is a late-in-life discovery. Do you know, I lived in France for several years and DIDN’T DRINK WINE! How hilarious. If I ever go back, am I in for a fucking treat. How do you string together the events in your life to make a wholistic picture. Can you? How do you reckon?
Here’s something: Maybe 9 or 10 years ago, I was at least 30 pounds heavier than I am now. I was desperately unhappy, stuck in a loveless marriage (as they say), the stay-at-home mom for these two beautiful little boys. Anyway, I was singing in a chorale at the time, and took part in a roast when the (straight) director and a member of the chorale got married. Me and 3 friends sang “It Ain’t the Meat It’s the Motion” in skimpy outfits. I was BY FAR the fattest of the 4, but you know what? I was movin’ and groovin’ and I was sexy as hell. It was quite a revelation for me to see my old fatty-ass self and feel not disgust (as I have most of my life) but love and admiration for how good I looked and how funky I was dancing. How brave and rockin’ I was. That was a tape I hadn’t been able to look at ever – I’d never seen how beautiful and full of love for my friends I looked up on that stage.
I hope you can all be proud of yourself, in all your incarnations. I hope my boys can. I hope I can of them. We change and grow and do all kinds of wonderful things. So what if there’s no “product”. Product is overrated. Enjoy. Love. Eat a lot. Or not. Fuck your sweetheart. Support your community. Be a good mama. Drink wine!!!