I went to a friend’s 31st birthday party this last weekend. It was a home party where young people gathered, sat around, spoke, took recreational drugs, drank, and hung out. I was the oldest by far, staring down 55 in a couple of months. I was literally granny age; a hard pill to swallow, but real. It is that same old thing; I don’t feel 54 and I don’t know how it happened to me, more especially since I was pretty sure I would never make it this far. I am in a world that is changing faster than I can think about things and my only saving grace is that, in most instances, I have been there and done that. This just means that in a world where the rules have changed or disappeared I have no judgement, no creepy warning bells of prudishness, just a growing sense of hoping these young people are safe and will also come out of the other side.
As I drove home with the turning, darkening sky around me, I thought about how lucky and fragile and mutating the world of young people is. I thought about my own near misses; driving drunk, relationship mistakes, wildnesses both social and political, friendships made and twisted and lost, friendships that survived, a career that started so late because I was scared, and insecure, and had low self esteem. I thought about things I had written when I had felt differently, and how I had lost those things; the feelings and the words, in notebooks chucked out in one of my many moves. I thought about my comfort now, in home and partner and animals. My choices now to be this, and do that. But mostly I thought about how I had survived it all, a small ant, circling the rim of the plate blindly, coming across a morsel by chance, and not falling in and drowning.
This ant me has been poked at by the stick of fates, sometimes cruelly and sometimes in jest. Only, the ant feels the end of the stick, not the intention.