During Christmas I was at a party. One of those selling parties where some people come to sell (skin care, jewelry etc.) and some people come to buy. I was selling -- my novel -- of which I have about 483 copies in my closets. My novel, which took 5 years to write and another 2 years to hit the shelves. So, if you do the math I made about $.07 an hour writing it. My novel that was supposed to be as "big as the Nanny Diaries," according to my editor and the publicity guys at my pub house. ("Well, at least you're published!" people love to say. None of the people who say that are published authors, btw.)
Oh my! Here I am trying to write about how sucky it is to get old and I'm off on a tributary about how sucky it is to be a published novelist.
Okay, this might be the time for the disclaimer. This is the moment where I let everyone know that I know that I am lucky! I was born in America, to college educated parents (Kookoo Marookoo parents, but Ivy League educated, none the less) and I am aware that that is sort of like winning the lottery in a lot of ways. I get that, okay. I could be wearing a Birka, living in Afghanistan and next in line for a clitorectomy, (no offense to Birkas or Afghanistan, but a big, fat offense to clitorectomies). Having acknowledged all that, I'm going to go back to complaining...
So I'm at this party - where I had a wonderful time; met some great women, sold a bunch of books, did a reading where people laughed in all the right places, got some fab lingerie for next to nothing - and I meet his woman, a lovely woman, btw. And she says, "I love being in my fifties! I love it! I can finally be me. I'm relaxed with my self. I have finally come into my own."
"Really?" I say, a look of incredulity on my face.
"Yes!" she says with verve and enthusism. "How about you?"
"Not so much," I say, without a hint of verve or a shred of enthusiasm. "I don't see any of the high points, really. I mean, as far as being me goes - I've been me for as long as I can remember. At least I used to be me. Lately, I look in the mirror and I'm not me. No! It's my mother staring back at me. And I used to be relaxed. In fact, I was relaxed for decades. But not recently. Uh uh! How can I relax? I'm losing my memory, losing bone density. Any minute my vagina's going to turn to the consistency of #50 sand paper! What is there to like about getting older!? If I'm lucky I might get published in More Magazine?(see below*) Is that what I'm supposed to get excited about?"
When I stopped shouting and flailing my arms about, I looked around the party and realized that all talk had stopped and everyone was staring at me. I smiled and laughed and made some joke about menopausal moods swings. The hostess brought me an eggnog laced with some festive liquor and everyone went back to buying and selling.
But, let me tell you - this whole 'getting older is great' thing? That I'm not buying! Or selling! I'm here to pull the sheep's clothing off the mean old wolf of aging.
*Note to More editors: I'd be ecstatic to get published by you! Please contact me for my funny yet inspiring article ideas about aging!