On Turning 60

About this birthday

see this.


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.