March 6, 2009

Some Days I Worry

Some days I just worry about myself.
I didn't worry when I was twenty, when I should have.
I didn't worry when I was thirty, because I didn't have the time.
I didn't worry when I was forty, because nothing ached yet.
Fifty came and went and I was still standing, and holding my long-sought-after MFA. On top of the world--fifty looked good.

I remember reading a story about two Bubbes in the New York Times many years ago. These little grandmothers of Jewish origin had prompted a piece written by their granddaughter and it was a touching, insightful piece about the ravages and delights of old age. (A hit, the granddaughter went on to write a book.)

I'm certainly not there yet, but I can stand in the middle of my life now and see those years coming, just as I can look back and see myself at twenty. Of course there are some basic assumptions being made here, such as I'll someday be as old as my grandmother, who died at 105.

So the worrying comes when the plate is too full and too grueling (like the feeling at the end of term--for all you teachers--with grading and grades and lesson plans and hitting the wall) and I worry that I won't be able to pull it off and that I'll have to lie on my sofa for days afterwards, eating comfort foods and watching movies from the 1940s when I should really be up-and-at those other projects I'd lined up before the wall came around and smacked me in the head.

My marathon week begins today with a drive across the California-Arizona deserts to see my newest grandchild, a five-hour schlepp. I've downloaded some new tunes onto the iPod, bought some red licorice and pretzels (perfect driving food), threw my clothes into the suitcase last night and have my stacks and stacks of papers to grade (just in case I need something to do while I'm there).

So stay tuned, and please get out those ratty pom-poms from the last football game you attended and cheer me on. And while you're at it, give a cheer for yourself. We can all use a little razz-a-ma-tazz now and then. Even if you worry.


  1. Sounds like we are on the same page in many ways Elizabeth. All I can say to you is BRAVO and enjoy your exciting trip to come.

  2. elizabeth --
    i truly enjoyed reading today's slice. thanks so much for sharing it. and, yes, as bonnie said, enjoy your trip & hold that precious, little baby as much as possible!

  3. go, grandma, go. i'll tell my mother that your drive is 5 hours, so she'll feel better about her 3 hour journeys to see her grandchildren!

  4. You worry because you care. Enjoy your journey ... or all of your journeys. I'm hoping you make it well past 105 ...

  5. I really enjoy the way you write...

  6. I think I'm in good shape because nothing is aching, yet. Prayers for safe travel. I enjoyed the way you connected so many years into one moment of your day.

  7. How wonderful! I'm envious- we have only puppies to sit for!
    Don't worry! Be happy! These are glorious days and with a heritage like yours (105!) things look good!