What Are You Waiting For?

What will I be like at 80? This was the question which confronted me back when I went through Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. (2013 – hasn’t time flown?)

The first thing that came to mind was ‘dead’, but since that didn’t really fit in with the purpose of the exercise, I tried again, trying to be a bit more optimistic this time.

About to go, my entry began, and went on to suggest that I would be the kind of old woman who enjoys shocking people by how directly she speaks, and doesn’t mind being disliked or unpopular.

sombrero-1082322_640Or as I put it in the post I wrote at the time, “if I do make eighty I bet I’ll be one of those acute old ladies who says what she thinks you need to hear and doesn’t mind how excruciatingly embarrassed you are by it.”

Now admittedly, I’ve got nearly fifty years to reach this happy state of affairs (if I don’t die first), but as it stands, this is about the opposite of who I am now.

I don’t like to be disliked, and the feeling that I may have just offended someone eats away at me like a vinegar bath, leaving me anxious and restless. There are times I feel it would be advantageous to take a vow of silence, and then no one could take offence at anything I say.

Richard Nitsch Hausandacht einer Schlesierin aus der Neisser Gegend
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the habit of being offensive; I just worry that I may have inadvertently given offence. It seems quite easy to do, particularly when you are not entirely at home in any one culture.

Perhaps that’s what I’m looking forward to about being old and near my death: I’ll have stopped worrying so much; and I’ll be open, honest and straight-forward enough to tell people the truth without hedging it about with fluff and diversion (though still, like Elizabeth Bennet, endeavouring “to unite civility and truth”).

And being old and eyeballing my approaching death, I won’t be bothered by any resulting unpopularity. I hope. Perhaps, like the lady who intends to wear purple, I’d better start practicing now, so as not to take people by surprise.

Ethnie dong 3764a
What are you looking forward to about being old? And have you considered starting now?

Did You Know…

that Easter is named after a Germanic goddess associated with the dawn?

Ostara by Johannes Gehrts
April was her month, and so the name carried across to the Christian festival which took place around that time. But only in Germanically descended languages, like English. Most other languages refer to the occasion with some form derived from Pesach or Pascha, which comes from the Passover feast which it originally – and not coincidentally – coincided with.

Myself, I feel English could do likewise. Or perhaps we can have two names: one, perhaps Passover-related, for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and “Easter” for the feast of chocolate eggs laid by a magical rabbit.

An Invitation

According to Wallace Stegner in Angle of Repose, “it’s easier to die than to move … at least for the Other Side you don’t need trunks.”

WLANL - Pachango - Slot Loevestein - Boekenkist van Hugo de Groot

There speaks someone who has too much stuff. And while you may be able to avoid moving house – and thus dealing with all that packing – death comes to us all in time. And then someone else has to deal with all our stuff (and they won’t thank us for it).

Does that seem a bit morbid? Then think of it this way. Moving may not be imminent. Death may not be imminent. But life – life is already here, and if you’re anything like me, your life is cluttered up with all that same stuff which would be such a pain in the neck to deal with if you moved and/or died.

While I fervently hope that death is not just around the corner for me (I would like to do a little more with my life before I go, and in any case I haven’t written my will yet), I am facing a Move.

Since there are wheels within wheels – or rather, asbestos within crumbling lino – we can’t move into our new home straight away. We don’t even have a firm moving date yet. This makes planning the move rather tricky at present. If I start packing now, we either do without whatever I pack for the next however many weeks, or I have to do some premature unpacking, which violates the cardinal law of successful moving. Wheels within wheels.

Vienna - Vintage Franz Zajizek Astronomical Clock machinery - 0518When I first created this blog, I wanted it to provide accountability for me, and encouragement for others. In that spirit, I invite you to fling-along in August as I work my way through the house reducing the quantity of things I will eventually need to pack.

As with so many things in life, pruning is easier when you’re not trying to do it all by yourself. I will be focussing on a different area each week, with a mixture of encouragement, ideas, my experiences, and hopefully yours. Feel free to use the comments section as a flingy-forum (although please note the usual ban on inappropriate or abusive content will still be in place – and that includes abusing yourself).

You can join in for a week, or for the whole month; you can offer advice, suggestions, or compose amusing working songs; you can share lists of what you’ve purged, or tallies, or weights, or even pictures, if my Luddism doesn’t get in the way.

Alone or not, I’m committed to a month of sort, purge and prune (with a side of judicious packing) – will you join me?