Monday, January 18, 2010

we interrupt this sadhana . . .

After taking a (surprising) blog break during the holidays, I started off the year committing to a new 40 day sadhana, a daily practice to get me back into the routine. I realized, though, I don't need that. In spite of the time off, writing every day is now part of what I do. But, what I haven't been able to do is get started on a new project. I have concrete ideas, or at least ideas that have been churned up in that mixer and poured out, but haven't solidified into anything. Or, to be painfully honest, I haven't gotten as far as the mixer. I have ideas, generalities, concepts, but haven't dedicated myself to putting them down on paper. I'm really good at talking broad generalities. I can answer, off-the-cuff, what's up next, but it's time to get more serious about it.

So, I'd making a 40 day commitment to writing about aging with the hope that, after exploring for that time, it all gets more real for me.

Where am I with this so far?

I'm aging. Build in field research. I have very mixed feelings about it. Not that I have no choice in the matter, but I'm grappling with how to handle things. My changing body. I suppose that's as good a place to start as any.

I know, mid-40s, there are medical tests you need to have on a regular basis. I'm pretty responsible about mammograms. Hate them but what can you do. If you've never had one, imagine putting a somewhat sensitive part of your body (let's go with breast here, so we're all on the same page) on a cold metal tray that's slightly too high for you so you're leaning forward, skin stretching uncomfortably, about to be up on your toes. As if that's not enough, this whirring machine closes another plate down on top of the first, your breast sandwiched, squished as flat as possible, not to the point of pain, but to the point of this-shouldn't-be-happening-to-my-body. All the while aware, as a technician is talking to you from behind a partition, that something dangerous could be lurking inside that you don't know about. After both breasts are pancaked and your skin is red and sore, you head back to the women only waiting room, everyone garbed in a thin cotton gown, nervously waiting to see if all looks good or if they need to get more shots. Quiet conversations sometimes take place, but mostly it's quiet, people leafing through magazines they wouldn't otherwise read, staving off potential panic. At least that's what I'm doing.

Colonoscopy. I think I should be having one soon. In fact, I think I'm overdue. No one, like my doctor, has said anything. Am I supposed to take the initiative in scheduling? I dread this one. I hate the thought of drinking something that will brutally clear my insides out. And meds that knock me out terrify me. I'm always afraid I won't wake up.

Part of aging is opening your body to strangers. Letting go of privacy. Accepting, on some level, that you'll be prodded and poked, drugged up and explored, in the name of prevention.

You are not yourself in those moments. You are organs and x-rays. Another name on a patient list. A chart. A file. Your humanity, your soul isn't part of the process.

There's a detachment about aging that goes with the territory.

I'm not ready.

Day 1 is not looking at aging from the bright side.

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