I'm also a great believer in time off for good behavior. I crave solitude. I like being unreachable once in a while, and in those days it was no big deal if somebody couldn't track you down for half an hour. You see, in the 1980s, we didn't know from e-mail or cell phones or Facebook or GPS, and a BlackBerry was nothing more complicated than a healthy treat that was high in antioxidants—only guess what? Nobody had ever heard of antioxidants.
I didn't need a baby aspirin every night or a Lipitor every morning. And I swear to God (that's another thing, God was still around when I was in my 20s), the closest anybody seemed to come to a genuine eating disorder was picking at a mixed green salad on a blind date until it was okay to go home and scarf down the contents of your refrigerator.
But before I start turning into my great-uncle Saul, who never fails to tell me how he could've bought the entire Upper East Side of Manhattan for $225 back in 1936 ("when an ear of corn still tasted like an ear of corn"), let me say this: As much as I miss those days, I'm delighted and relieved to be done with being young.
One quick glance in the mirror is all I need to know that time is most definitely a thief. Wait, strike that: One glance and I usually think I'm holding up pretty well—it's upon closer inspection, that moment when I take a deep breath, put on my glasses, and turn up the dimmer switch, that I'm reminded gravity is not my friend. But if time has robbed me of a little elasticity and a lot of naïveté, it's left a few things in their place.
Thanks to nearly 48 years at the big dance, a million mistakes, and one extraordinary psychiatrist, I've finally achieved the occasional touch of clarity. I'm getting to be resourceful. I'm getting to be resilient, and I hope that on my better days, I'm getting to be a little more calm, a little more contemplative, a little more compassionate.
Sometimes I think being middle-aged isn't about learning a lot of new lessons so much as learning the same old ones again and again. Here are a few of the lessons I keep learning:
But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!
Bravo, Ms. Parker. And, finally, deep into my 40s, I couldn't agree with you more.
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