i was always the youngest among my friends…until i was nearly 30 and found myself surrounded by beauties who were a couple years younger. i adjusted to being the older one because the couple of years between me and whomever was standing to my right at the bar didn’t matter. except now a decade has passed, i’m a decade older, and the people standing to my left and right at the bar are ten years younger than i am rather than two. i’ve become one of those people who annoys me that speaks of how things used to be better (i.e. drugs were better, clubs were better, exotic places i’ve traveled hadn’t yet been discovered by tourists). last wednesday night i caught myself in several moments where i silently commanded myself to shut up about how things used to be because people a decade younger don’t care and i hate being the ninny who complains about and compares what used to be to what is now. what used to be is gone. what is now is what we’ve got. yes, i’m nostalgic about when ecstasy was legal and liquid lsd was easy to get, but i currently live a life of natural highs that exceed chemical highs; the haunts i used to frequent have disappeared and now i patronize new bars with finer liquor; the world is larger than my lifetime is long enough to explore every mystery…so please, i beg myself, quit talking about the past and fully inhabit the present.
my present brings me to maine where i awoke this morning before 3am, where the sun rises at 4:30am, where i walked along the coast before the sun climbed above the horizon. i was here 53 weeks ago, and within my warped relationship with time, i can’t decide which is longer: a year plus one week or 53 weeks. according to calendar math the two are equal, but according to my whack internal time-keeping, one is longer than the other, i’m just not sure which one. weeks slide into each other without pause. years skip me altogether. i fallaciously believe the year is 2011, because anything beyond 2012 sounds like the future.
i ate breakfast at a table surrounded by women i admire. i respect their writing, their courage, their resilience, their weirdness. my weirdness is barely noticeable among this crowd because we’ve all suspected since childhood that we are misfits and freaks. before 8am i was coffee high-flying and by 10:38am i was sneaking swigs from a whiskey bottle with a subset of naughty ladies on the empty lower deck of a ferry chugging us to the island where’ll we’ll spend the rest of the week drinking and writing or drinking and hiking or drinking and napping or drinking in some combination of activities. i’m relaxing into this week keeping company among those with whom i get to be the younger one. i’m more comfortable being the younger one than the older one. i prefer the company of people more experienced, more knowledgeable, more quietly confident through life’s chaotic rhythms than i am. this week i won’t annoy myself with irritating comments dispensed when i am the oldest in a group. this week i’ll keep my mouth mostly shut and listen and learn and never once speak about how things used to be because these women role model the grace of living each day we’re lucky enough to wake up.