I have made the biggest life decision since...since what? That's how it is with me right now. The unknown wraps itself around my days. Yes, what we are about to do is the best decision but it has all sorts of pieces that are discomforting. I'm caught neither here nor there, thus the invented lifestage, Tweendom. (Nothing to do with the commercially invented tween stuff for young girls.)
The Jon Stewart Show did a series, "You don't know Dick!" Finely honed during the last presidential campaign. If I were truly courageous, the title of this blog would be You Don't Know Dick about Aging. If I could, that would also be my message to the late Erik Erikson whose "Eight Stages of Man" ended at "late adulthood."
Eriksonian theory was very popular when I was in Social Work School in the 1970s, in my forties, finding my voice as a feminist--already "aging" in the eyes of American culture. According to this German psychologist (who had identity issues of his own), I was close to "Late Adulthood:
55 or 65 to Death." For me, the decade of my fifties was great and glorious, sixties pretty nifty too though energy reduced.
My good friend Audrey calls. Still waiting for the doctor to let her know about more procedures suddenly needed. Widowed after many years of a long marriage, breast cancer survivor, she laughs about the Jon Stewart reference. I feel accomplished when she does that. She is waiting for another procedure--which followed the previous two that did not answer the questions about her latest symptoms. (Photo, not so good, but she's wearing a favorite dress.)
At dinner with her and another friend awaiting the word on when she is in good enough condition for a serious operation. We are all in our seventies; the two turned to me and almost in unison, announced, "You're the well one!" Guilt. I have the uncertainty of when I will sell my apartment and move to Portland. Even if it happened that I could not do that, my life would still be enjoyable. My tweendom is no match for theirs.
But as Audrey will remind me, "You're absolutely entitled to your own angst."
An exhibition on loan to Bergdorf at Fifth Avenue & 57th Street from Baltimore's American Visionary Museum... amazing space, near the Inner Harbor. Bergdorf Goodman website does not indicate how long all this work from the Museum will stay.
Sally Mericale and I got the idea in 1991 for a different way to talk about peace: NO WAR. A graphic and rubber stamp designer, she developed what we turned into a rubber stamp to produce thousands of little 2"x2" badges. We tore up white cotton sheets from secondhand stores (you could find these then in Baltimore).
BEWARE: White men in dark suits was another of Sally's creations. Always in style unfortunately. We'd stamp it on envelopes--bill payments (remember that?), protest letters, and along with other decoration our concerns became something new to me, Mail Art, http://www.actlab.utexas.edu/emma/Intro/intro3.html (TypePad quirky again, so you're on your own for the link.) Maybe "invented" by Marcel Duchamp.
What has changed? We are still at war--in real time. That other war, the one where frightened men act out their fears of women contines in the Congress of the United States. Like so many others, I keep demanding a better future for my grandchildren.
Lately, the Big Apple cannot do enough to provide free outdoor entertainment. We met up with Roxie and her mom in Bryant Park, the big park-like space behind the 42nd Street library. Not part of the City's Parks & Recreation apparatus, this is a separate not-for-profit corporation, one of many "business improvement districts" around town.
Amplified Broadway performers sang and also danced excerpts from Broadway musicals. It was wonderfully quiet afterwards. Walking toward the children's book area, Ron was first to notice, "Look at that woman playing ping pong!" Remarkable; she and her very tall partner (provided on site) were an odd couple--though not the only ones. Do you believe this is only one of the free "amentities" offered? There's also Petanque-- with lessons. Chess and backgammon boards.
Out of character for the City where everything has a price. There is a one dollar fee for a ride on the merry-go-round, of course.
But I missed my chance to talk with the woman in the orange sweater. If you saw her walking along Fifth Avenue, with her vintage white pocketbook and sensible summer shoes, would you imagine her so limber at the table? (Overheard her say to her partner, when a ball dropped on the ground near her, "No, no, I'll get it myself!")
Where does she usually play? How long has she been doing it? Would I be able to get lessons from her before I move; our retirement community has a ping pong table with a great view.
Shoulder improved, I'm knitting again, so table tennis (my neighbors from India call it) should be within reach. I was pretty good in summer camp.
Nancy B over at the blog, The Tempered Optimist was spurred to action this morning by a not-very-immodest suggestion she read at that other Elderblog, As Time Goes By. I'll keep it short by quoting Nancy (and leave you time to make those calls):
"Time for change? Yes it is time for change. Isn't that what we voted for? If you believe in change, read the blog, contact your congressional leaders. Make your voice heard."
Everyday people--maybe you yourself--have been out on the street in efforts to get past the lies, misinformation of the health care industry, please, another letter or call.
POST SCRIPT: You must watch the June 10 interview by Bill Moyers with Wendell Potter, former health insurance executive.... How the insurance industry spent a pile to discredit the film, "Sicko," by Michael Moore. Here it is now on You Tube. Keep on making those calls, sending emails because they are working!
Times' editors wanted to make me angry this morning with this on the front page. How phony and infuriating for this "opinion-making" newspaper to herald McNamara's death with "Architect of Futile War." That's what they write now...What did they learn as their editors learn from Vietnam as they waltzed their important readers into support for invading Iraq?
Not till page 18, was the page that should have been on the front. Emma Shulman, an inspirational old lady whose comments and lifestyle could make all ages pause. Notice that Ralph Blumenthal's color photo in the online edition is even better than the black/white. Who decided?
Finally, Bob Herbert's column, "After the War Was Over" (have to wait till Op-Eds, page 23), belonged alongside the McNamara one. I could continue by re-arranging the other sections but have to get into the shower.
Why haven't they asked me how to improve the Times?