The House

The House

Monday, December 12, 2011

Old age means failure

Perhaps its just menopause, but even though I have not gone through it yet, a month shy of 54, I feel something changing profoundly in my mind. Writing a blog ( which sounds like slogging through cosmic mud) is somewhat like writing to some odd god. I used to write in journals everyday, reams of streams of conscience. I once sat down and typed all my hand written ravings from age 18 to 28. After reading them from the exalted age of 30 I was rather surprised to find that I had wisdom at 18 I had lost by 28. It's amusing actually because of the phrase, let the teen run everything before she forgets she knows everything.
 My second husband called me a dilettante. Granted I had a lot of interests but my inability to focus was not because I had a flighty mind, it was because I took time out to love and support another who did not support back. I loved theatre and dance, it was my life. He did not support it as his life and work were more important and I "had" to be his biggest fan to the exclusion of my  dreams. As the Occupy movement grows from the beatings that are improving morale, I feel left out. My timing sucks. I feel left behind even though I have never lead so much as an ant band. Each issue that bubbles up and is organized around from Banker Usury, hydrocarbon addiction and its pushers, the necrosis called our political system, and the poisoning of our nest. I have done very little to help in anyway. There are days when all I feel I have done is eat, shit and make the planet die a little quicker just by existing. And then...I realize I am one of the few in my social sphere (which is the circumference of a dime) that has worked at paying attention. Granted not all the time, due to life dragging me around by the tender parts, but none the less...I felt it my duty to pay attention, attend, be aware, try to be conscience, grow intellectually as much as my poor little rattled brain could muster. Being the benevolent witness is the only comfortable rationalization I can fall back on. People have to work at being ignorant these days and it really pisses me off.
All the voting, poll taking, survey responding, petition signing, protesting, donating, supporting, arguing, bumper stickers, t-shirts and the three month garage sale I ran to help stop Black Fox was not sexy but it was all I could do. I am a failure. I always thought I would do more, inspire more. I still feel as if I should be doing more, be more, that I am missing my opportunity?  What is left for me at 54? Not using my talents, whatever they are.
I chose to have three daughters. I have had a girl to take care of since I was 21. My youngest is now 14  a  week before I am 54. I will be 58 when she graduates from high school. My eldest is 33 in February and in my mind the memory of her childhood is fading like colors in the sun. It seems so long ago. The choice was made through a series of errors actually as has most of my life. Hell all of my life is a series of errors. Wrong college, wrong loves, wrong towns. My mind keeps going to those moments "if". Not so much regretting as wishing I had....not gone to college at Northeastern in Tahlequah, hadn't had my eldest till later, hadn't moved to Norman, Oklahoma, had stayed with dance.
"If your Father hadn't died" was one of my mother's mantras when any trouble in my choices presented themselves. It became the cop-out for all my poor choices and her lack of help with those choices. I suppose it will be  considered a good thing that none of my mothers children are criminals, but neither are we achievers per se. A life of near misses, brick bats and a deck stacked against me since I was born in D.C. All of my energy has gone toward recovering from prejudice, obstruction, sexism, classicism and ostracism and abuse from one quarter or the other. Powerful people began in my teen years to make it tough all along. I have been blamed as a victim of the powerful for not attaining the carrot of success they dangled as they led me to the cliff of failure. I complained once some 20 years ago to a friend I felt a failure, and he felt I was the most successful person he knew because of my willingness to keep fighting for what I knew was right. To keep finding my way back to the muses that called me.
I don't hear them anymore. I don't have poetry, choreography or plays sprouting into my mind. I am only keenly aware of the absence. 
In the first few minutes after I wake I have a mini life of Walter Mitty. I imagined for instance this morning that I could start an Internet radio show, ranting and reading whatever strikes my fancy. I would go by the name "queen of Sheba" for reasons I will relate some other time. It won't happen. The other day it was going to go off ala Ansel Adams to photograph the wilderness before it is gone. I used to fantasize I would get the Pulitzer for poetry in my 90's. Got to be good at poetry for that to happen. I am not good at anything. I am crafty not artsy. I realize that the people I admire had amazing luck. They knew the right folks, their talent was recognized and fostered at a key moment. I think there is nothing worse than being innately gifted and useless. So smart and not being able to meet ones potential. It is a hell that drives you made without the complete oblivion. I used to think love would be enough, it isn't. That if I just was a little more patient, kept working on my creativity that I would find that satisfaction that comes with finally feeling in the right place at the right time. Not all out of sync, day late and dollar short, in limbo, muddling along, filling up space.


  1. We all have regrets, because we are mortal and can't do everything. We muddle through, never knowing whose lives were have touched and changed. We persevere and, when we least expect it, someone will notice what we have done--whether we've written a poem, a play, a novel, or danced or sang, or even just listened offered a kind word or a caring shoulder--nothing we do creatively or with kindness goes unnoticed. Someone will notice. Someone will remember. Someone's life will be inevitably altered, inexorably changed, and what you have done will have changed the universe.

    1. Nigel! How are you? How is Nancy? I am amazed you found my tiny little blog in the huge world of blahgdom. Thank you for your kind words. Glad to see you are alive and kicking.

  2. Well, we're still in Virginia. Nancy's just had some blood clots in her legs, so she was on blood-thinners for nearly a month. She was in the hospital for a bit. Since we've been here, I've had heart surgery to fix an aneurysm, and Nancy has had a hip replacement, a revision on that replacement, and a partial knee replacement. Give us a call sometime. Nancy would love to hear from you. Our phone number is 757-596-8587. And you can email us at I think we all have some interest stories to tell.