Here’s something to make you smile from a friend’s facebook:
I’m importing my laughs today because my 20 year-old son just offered some of his always spot-on feedback:
“Mom, your blog isn’t funny anymore.”
Finally something we can agree on! Yes, darling son: My blog is not funny (“anymore”). I don’t know what’s going on, exactly, but I am in a creative — and possibly also a cognitive — slump. I must have lost my mojo somewhere between the brain freezing vats of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and my weekly wheel-spinning over at TIME.com about hilarious topics like the gender distribution of mass murder and a new contraceptive method called rape.
Things just seemed to get progressively less side-splitting, blog-wise, over the summer. You know what I mean? I just lost a little Je ne sais quoi. It’s all so very disappointing, this cascade into po-facedness. I’d like to blame it on the upcoming election about which I am foul tempered. (Did anyone see the movie, The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zack the Plus Sized Greek guy? It’s not hyperbole! Seriously, we Americans really do like the lowest common denominator approach to government.)
But here’s the real reason I’m feeling a little crestfallen: See, the summer was supposed to be all about moi. Me. Me. Me. I was supposed to be reading the Russians and making heirloom tomato salads and sketching the sunrises from my bedroom window and having meaningful emotional engagement with my family members. (Okay, that last bit is fiction. That was never part of the program.) But I was definitely supposed to be frolicking in the woods with my dogs and having deep thoughts. And I was supposed to be practicing what I will pompously refer to as my writing ‘craft’ (ie putting down the In Style magazine for a few minutes each day). I even had the idea of beginning to plan work on a book proposal (note the many layers of obfuscation in that last objective). Most pertinently, I was supposed to set some important goals for the next decade, foremost among them figuring out how to “monetize” my professional talents for once in my life.
None of which happened, in case that wasn’t totally clear…It’s not that I didn’t have a very Me-centric summer, because I did, but somehow all that “me-ness” didn’t result in my finishing the new (and most excellent) biography of Michel de Montaigne. But surely I spent super-high quality time with my kids, right? Uh… No. (They voted with their feet and fled to the distant lands of wind-surfing, Mandarin speakers, and solar cells.)
On the other hand, there were a few milestones I managed to reach, against crushing odds, and I’d like to share them – not to boast or sound conceited, mind you, just to provide a little inspiration for those who were less productive. So I present for your edification:
Erika’s Summer 2012 Achievements
(And I sure hope my example can prove motivating to you!)
- Successfully packed on nine (!) full pounds of fat (and not muscle!), adding as much as one whole inch to each of my already-plush thighs. (That’s 4.05 kilos for my international blog visitors.)
- Busted out of not one but two pairs of my favorite normal-person-sized jeans. (And by ‘normal’ sized, I’m talking about jeans that are at least one size smaller than what I can safely wear without causing internal organ damage.) Bonus points for breaking the zipper while on a late-night jaunt to buy organic chocolate milk and gelato.
- Implemented a medley of highly effective Exercise Avoidance Strategies (EAS… should I patent this?), despite living in an outdoor mecca known for its multifold recreational opportunities.
- Fortuitously discovered that living in a rural mountainous area does not preclude blowing hundreds of hard-earned dollars (at the nearby King Arthur Flour mother ship store) on essential baking implements such as a special “Afro pick” fork to rip apart hunks of angel food cake and an 80 piece frosting and meringue tip set and muffin tins in the shape of honey bees, autumnal cornucopia, and miniature wedding cakes.
- Drained the bank account on the Vermont locavore movement. Unclear how the local economy survived without my daily peach pie and fresh mozzarella habit.
- Also proved myself a deft sketch comedy artist, producing several laughably reductionist door-slamming ‘skits’ (aka arguments) involving my husband and sundry unfortunates who got in my way. A close family member hung up the telephone on me on two separate occasions and, additionally, I provoked all three of my teenage/young adult children and two nephews into swearing at me and I made my beloved ten-year-old niece cry.
I turned 49,whoops, I meant to write thirty nine. Gosh, sorry! Middle aged brain…
- Um, actually… I really did turn 49. WHICH MIGHT AS WELL BE FIFTY. Heck, let’s just ROUND UP AND CALL IT ALMOST SIXTY.
- I spent inordinate amounts of time worrying about the meaning of being half a century old and panicking that my life is likely way more than half over and I haven’t begun to achieve all the spectacular accolades my 25 year-old self had imagined a long-in-the-tooth person such as my current self would surely have racked up by this decrepit milestone blah blah blah. And I filled even more of my down time feeling guilty and pathetic for wasting those fleeting hours on Planet Earth on said worries instead of, you know, Living My Best Life! (qua Oprah) or, alternatively, just quietly appreciating the fact that most of the world doesn’t make it to forty-nine and/or lives in abject misery.
So… I could go on. So many achievements! But I really need to stop making lists of all my impressive feats and get on the damned elliptical machine. I’ve always got a handy supply of Exercise Avoidance Strategies for every occasion (EAS… should I patent this?), and today’s excuse would be 100 percent ludicrous if it didn’t happen also to be 100 percent true: the humbling reality is that I walked straight into a glass door this morning – slammed into it, really – and banged up my whole face (prominent, witch-like nose bearing the brunt of it but also forehead, mouth, and teeth.) It hurt so much I saw stars and cried. My husband says the face has a lot of nerve endings and people get dis-inhibited when they get wacked in the head. My nerve endings are stinging from embarrassment more than injury.
An episode of glass door colliding does give pause, particularly in my advanced dotage: Is this the beginning of an ignoble end? Am I a bigger loser than I’d thought? Do I need a walker? A mental status exam? I’ve been having more and more of these little Q and A’s with myself now that I’ve reached
the precipice of DEATH, I mean the half-century mark.
I don’t recommend it.
But compared to the alternative… What can I say? Notwithstanding the sturm und drang, I think I’m feeling okay. For one thing, I spent endless happy hours with family and dear friends who traveled far and wide to sip a drink on my porch. (Add that to my list of achievements!) And I also celebrated 25 years, on July 13th, with the love of my life. Who could have predicted that bona fide achievement (about which I am totally and unironically proud)? Certainly not my slim, sulky, and unmoored 22 year-old self. But it’s true: this summer marked 25 years of being deeply in love with the same guy.
I had a nice summer is what I’m saying.
Hope you did, too.