11/3/11 Re-Examining Options 6:03pm
We can get stuck easily, and unstuck less readily if we don't learn how to make a practice of it. When I was younger and had all the energy of my convictions to heal the planet, elders warned me that I'd soon lose the desire to do good or the belief that my little plot of good will have much impact. Unfortunately, as I was taught to listen to my elders, to be a good girl, to be respectful of their years of experience, I listened. I pulled back from believing that my deepest intuitive impulses, insights or inspirations were to be followed whole-heartedly. I did step off the beaten track, but I walked hesitantly instead of joyfully in the wilderness.
Now, at my age and in my position, I know better. I spoke today with someone I met when I was 17 and she was 16. I was Junior Class President. She was Sophomore Class President. We had our journals and were sharing notes out on the girl's softball field. We've remained dear friends and trusted guides to each other all these years. She's one of the ones who encouraged me to step off the path. She wrote me a poem over a decade ago about how she was the Mother to All Men, and I was the Guest of the Land. Today she said, You did thirty years ago what kids today are starting to do and getting criticized by their elders. Your stories would give them assurance that they are not wrong or crazy for streamlining their life choices to subjectively suit them and not just take on someone else's excuse of a life.
I shared with her that after reading Lori Gottlieb's writing in MARRY HIM: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough, I had five fascinating men who were suddenly extremely interested in me. Gottlieb says that every year after the age of 35 a woman loses her power, allure, value in our society. Gottlieb chose to have a child before she found a husband and is now experiencing difficulty finding a suitable man she can stomach, yet she writes threateningly that unless we settle now, we won't have a chance later. She says at 41 her options are increasingly limited but they aren't as limiting as they would be at 51. This is utter and pure hogwash.
Karen said, "I don't understand why you aren't pissed off that she's writing this old fashioned dreck and getting it out to the youth of today as common knowledge." I told her that they were in the process of making a movie about the book. "All the more reason you MUST tell your story, write of your experience. You truly are a Guest of the Land. You are welcome everywhere. Don't doubt that this is true." I said that a guest is perhaps welcome for three days. "Do you want or need more than three days?" I admitted that after three days I need to return to my own self. She said, "Exactly. If you'd stayed on the path by now you would be on your fourth divorce. Instead, you are delighted to be valued and appreciatied for who you are and what you think and feel instead of playing a role that others insist you be for them." Just as I could have listened to Gottlieb and shut down in fear, I can listen to the American Cancer Society and do the same, or take what I know about healing and implement what I know will heal me.
Decades from now I can sit with Karen on rocking chairs in Ireland, all wrinkled and wise, laughing that we each made this life our own. She the palliative specialist guiding the masses into their next life, and my writing out in the world giving permission and guidelights to one's own BIG O.