About this birthday
What follows is a list of things, good and bad, I have learned or come to accept about myself or life more generally.
I put this together primarily for posterity (that is, my daughter), but I decided to post it here, too. Tucked under James Taylor, so you might miss it altogether, and that’s fine, too.
Above all things I admire and respect generosity of spirit, thoughtfulness, and integrity.
Things I will never learn to appreciate and have given up on (note that these are not things I hate. That would be a different listing altogether): lima beans, kale, oysters, marshmallows, beets, chess, the mystery genre, Monopoly, William Faulkner, South Park, Family Guy, football.
I am impatient with the incompetent, and intolerant of the willfully ignorant. Delusional people and magical thinkers bring out my misanthropy. The other way to look at this is that I have completed my training to be a cranky old woman. With honors.
Hypocrisy, moral cowardice, arrogant and prideful ignorance make me retreat in disgust. This often makes me look insensitive, superior and condescending when what I am, primarily, is frustrated. With the less fortunate I can and will gladly curb both impatience and intolerance.
I have no talent for music.
OCD runs my life, much of the time.
The older I get, the more I avoid meeting new people. I am uncomfortable at parties, even when I know and love everyone there.
I would like to believe in karma. However, I see no evidence for this actually being the way things work in the world.
Paisley is too ugly to tolerate.
I am convinced that Cheney faked needing a wheelchair so he wouldn’t be obliged to stand when President Obama was sworn into office.
The quickest way to offend and possibly make an enemy of me: to underestimate my intelligence; placate or condescend to me; betray my trust, maliciously hurt or cause harm to someone I care about, brag and claim credit where none is due.
Some things that make me happy: dogs, good weather, peonies, hazelnut meringue, a well written or told story, fruit, New England, New York, New Jersey, history, libraries.
I don’t belong in the countryside. I should live in a city.
A life lesson that still shocks me when it happens: There are people who choose to declare you to be a bad or negative person so they can escape feeling guilty about the things they do or the way they treat you. Pokey.
At the same time: If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all. (via Yogi Bhajan)
Things I regret: the time and effort I put into launching Quilting Arts Magazine, not getting my father to talk to me about his childhood in Italy, majoring in linguistics rather than anthropology, leaving Michigan.
Everybody needs a tribe. And a dog. Because dogs are the most perfect of creatures under the sun.
Never, ever will I be able to play (let alone win) a timed word game I freeze. Thus: I vow to Boggle no more:
True extroverts amaze and disconcert me.
Housekeeping and cleaning: not for me. At the same time: I feel terribly guilty about a less than clean and tidy house.
I have only ten years to be in my sixties.
Lots of money really does make life easier. If you come by it in a way you don’t have to be embarrassed about. Still unclear to me if I can make that happen.
From about twenty-five to forty I lived on the periphery of pretty. In part because my inescapable genetic fate is to be a little old round Italian lady, I will never live in that neighborhood again. The lack-of-pretty has always caused me discomfort, and that will not go away with age.
I have never earned and will probably never learn how to accept flattery; it makes me both uncomfortable and suspicious.
The secret of life really is enjoying the passage of time.
First of all, Happy Birthday! And welcome to the tribe of Cranky Old Women, we always welcome new members.
I agree with many of your thoughts although not all because everyone is an individual with individual tastes.
And you’d find Ann Arbor to be significantly more cosmopolitan than you’d remember it as being. Especially since our poisoner of a Governor lives there full time instead of Lansing.
The governor in Ann Arbor: adding insult to injury.
petzi — pardon the delay in responding. I appreciate the welcome to the tribe. It’s my fervent hope you don’t think I was trying to convince anybody to share that list of observations. All my own quirks. Thanks for the good wishes.
Despite the fact I grew up in the country and enjoy /visiting/ it, I belong in the city too. Preferably a city that has good Indian food, that delivers.
Oh boy do I miss delivery.
We can’t even get pizza out here…
Same problem here.
Hi, Having also turned 60 last year, I read your list with interest. This is a great idea. I found I agree or also learned many of the same items. That made me smile. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and life is better with a dog!
Shawn — Happy belated birthday. And please tell your dog I said woof.
I can relate to so much of this! Thx!
storytelling | On Turning 60Great Stuff!! Your list of stuff you’ve given up on appreciating gybes pretty closely with my husband’s. He’s five months older than you.
I’m 39 and I’m already with you on most of these. That just means I’m going to the crankiest person anyone’s met when I’m 60 :0/
Great read. Thanks. Hope there’s many good years left for you. You’re a rare talent and it is my selfish desire for you to write more.
I don’t know how selfish it is, as it benefits me, too. But thank you for your good wishes.
I concur on most of what you wrote although I don’t mind paisley – perhaps not to wear but maybe as part of a quilt or something?
At least you majored in something interesting – I spent 3 years completing an Economics degree and I still have to ask my husband (an English graduate) to explain to me why the loonie is so low.
As for living in the country – we are the last people that should be living in Northern Saskatchewan – no skies, skates, snow mobiles or hunting rifles in our household at all.
I hope you have a good and creative year. Thanks for bringing the weblog back to life.
jacqui — I don’t know if the weblog is really alive again — I don’t get over here as much as I should — but I’m trying. Thanks for the good wishes and for your support.
Sorry to trouble you with a technical issue. The blog says I am registered as revamyc but rejects my password and worn’t allow me to reset. Can you help?
I wanted to comment on your list — to say that it’s great and I should do one like that myself to commemorate my next birthday (66)!
Amy, I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you, but as you can see, your post did indeed make it onto the weblog. I hope you do make a list for your birthday. And then send me a link, I’d be interested.
We’ve never spoken before and may never again, but I would like to say how much I enjoyed my first read of your writing, ‘Into the Wilderness’. Being from Middletown Spring and a lover of historical fiction as well as intelligent romance, I found this book to be a lovely read and will follow with your entire series.
The other reason I write is to say I got a chuckle out of your list of things you’ve learned about yourself and life in general. I can identify with many of them. After keeping journals for the past 55 years I’ve learned things about myself that are even a surprise to me including the evolution of values I once may have considered to be my core. At nearly age 71 I can assure you that like every decade before, your sixties will bring a few surprises, but can be just as wonderful as any other decade. I enter my seventies tentatively, yet assured by those in their eighties that the years ahead can be rewarding if I but give them a chance.
I can only imagine how valuable your time must be so I will bid you adieu and wish you well in all future endeavors.
Hi Jim — Thank you for stopping by, and also for your kind words of support. I’ve heard from a lot of people who are ten years further down the line than I am, but you touched on a point which resonates. Open mindedness will get me a lot further than doom and gloom — not that you said that exactly, but it’s what I took away from this.
I hope to hear from you again if you are so inclined by something you find here on the weblog, or in one of my novels. Thanks again for your support.
Happy Birthday! I reached the Cheney conclusion immediately when I first saw him in that wheelchair that morning. I registered today, finding your blog by accident this morning. I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying The Gilded Hour after reading the entire Wilderness Series for the second time in prep for it! Looking forward to its sequel so very much!
Margo — thanks very much for stopping by, and for your support. I hope you’ll find The Gilded Hour worth the wait. It’s funny, seven years later and even thinking of Cheney puts a really bad taste in my mouth.
Happy belated birthday. Reading your list was a comforting here-is-one-of-my-virtual-tribe experience for me. Thanks for sharing it. Also, I never got into Faulkner either. Hope the 60s are good to you.
Thank you, Ashleigh.