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May 22, 2013

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Flannista

Tracy does between 30 and 50 injections every day that she's in the office. "I usually don't have time to tell my story," she said.

treesta

"It feels like we're starting all over yet again." That seems to be a recurring theme right now for so many. Blending homes and families to make it work. Uprooting and re-rooting. Transitions. Uncertainty. "You just find ways to move forward." Yes, one step at a time.

Flannista

True, treesta. I just never expected so much uncertainty while turning 60.

I don't know where I got that expectation because it is certainly unrealistic, but at a minimum, I thought I would be living -- or would have lived by this point in my life -- in a single-family home with a garage and a dishwasher. I don't know why that image sticks with me, but most people my age -- hell, most of my friends -- have precisely that. Plus kids. True, I could have had that and the house could have burned down, but I never had that and it seems very likely that I never will.

I am going to die while living in this house filled with art that my parents have never seen.

It's been difficult to name my disappointments and regrets and losses at a point in my life when I'm supposed to have "made it" because I don't want to be scolded or told: "At least you have your health" [that's about all Matissta and I can say to each other these days, by the way].

"Growing old isn't for sissies" said Bette Davis or Bob Hope or whoever. It's spot on. I'm naturally prone to pessimism [inherited from my father] and depression [inherited from my mother], but I haven't been this sad since I was 30 and living in a rented townhouse [much larger than the one I presently own] without a garage and dishwasher.

It helps to encounter someone like Tracy. Her face was embattled, her tone determined. It was not the "look" of a Hallmark card or members of the studio audience on "Ellen".

Life can suck and Tracy knows it.

Flannista

I also thought I would be married by now. And don't give me the bullshit about bad marriages. So what if I have had a bad marriage and gotten a divorce? I would have liked to learn that lesson, as painful as it is.

Flannista

I can't imagine how I would feel if my house burned down and I lost my art collection. This collection means a lot to me even though my parents have never seen it and alas -- sorry, noway, but you said this to me a couple of years ago -- "you really can't count it among your assets".

Guess I should have purchased a single-family home with a garage and dishwasher rather than all of this art, much of which is collecting dust here and at Matissta's house because there's no room to display it.

Flannista

I would have liked to have had kids who broke my heart like I broke my parents' hearts.

Flannista

I wish I had NEVER listened to my father and taken in on such a deep level his profound fear of debt. As a result, I've always been conservative with my major purchases. I've owned a total of four cars in my life -- only two were purchased new. My present car is 13 years old. I paid it off in two years. I paid off my tiny, "don't-buy-more-than-you-can-afford" house in 15 years.

Like my father, I have no debt and socked hundreds of thousands into a retirement account that was obliterated in 2008 - 2009.

Wow . . . 60 years old and no debt! What an adventure life has been!

Flannista

I regret that I did not have sex before I was 34 years old and it's still so hard for me 26 years later.

Thanks so much, mom.

Flannista

I regret that I wasn't a keyboard player in a rock band for a while.

Flannista

I regret the countless times that I have had to bend over and kiss TRM's ass, and I regret that I still have to. When he turned 60, I produced and directed a fucking documentary about his life.

PEACEsista

I'm here and I'm listening. I hope the WD-40 injections help your knee.

Flannista

I am walking slowly and only did 10 miles (at a low level) on a stationary recumbent bike earlier this morning at the Fitness Center. I'm moving forward as best I can. Tracy told me that "lots of folks your age get these shots and then don't do any exercise."

Hurray for me.

Flannista

It's hard to take in that the only time in my life when my friends, now scattered all over the country, will gather to celebrate something in my life (a celebration that I haven't planned and arranged) will be for my funeral. Not to worry, though, I've been responsible and have a last will and testament, living will, health care directives -- the whole nine yards. You all won't need to pay for a damn thing, but I can't die anytime soon because Matissta is the executor of my estate and God knows what hell she's going through trying to settle Momista's estate . . . except, of course, I have no debt.

Hurray for me.

Flannista

I remember a friend once asking me why I had purchased so much art.

Duh.

I had the expectation that I would one day live in a house large enough to display it.

Flannista

Most people are diagnosed with cancer when they are in their sixties.

Look it up.

Flannista

Car accidents used to be the number one cause of death among baby boomers, ages 55-64.

The number one reason today -- released last week -- is suicide.

Look it up.

Flannista

The last time I was in MouseLand, I sat in the office of a friend who had been working at TRM's company for 22 years. We shared how much had changed and how lately, so few colleagues seemed to appreciate our contributions over the years.

She said, "Is this how our careers here will end . . . with a whimper?"

Matissta

Rant on, Flannista.

Flannista

Thanks, Matissta. It's been a while since you did one of your "Rant On, Matissta!" columns. Remember those? Feel free to rant yourself. Lord knows you need to.

I'm assuming that getting this shit out is better than letting it boil inside, but admittedly, this shit is not for the faint of heart or those who like to walk on the sunny side of the street or live on the east side of the mountain so you can watch the sun rise each day or whatever bromide Reagan liked to dish out when he was screwing over gay men dying from AIDS by pretending it wasn't a real disease.

Uh-oh. He had Alzheimer's. People in my family die mostly from heart attacks, strokes and neuro-muscular shit, like Parkinson's. Better bike while I can.

treesta

Flann, your fury is formidable. Like PEACE, I am listening.

Flannista

Although I kind of knew what it meant, I looked up the word, "formidable", treesta.

These rants aren't exactly a way to capture new Sassistas! readers. I don't check the stats anymore, but a couple of years ago, the sassosphere was quite active. I took pride that something we had created ourselves meant so much to so many. As you get older, you have fewer friends, but deeper ones. Same with the sassophere.

"We never had a niche," says Matissta. "We needed a niche." Like those bitches in New York who started a blog about not having any wealthy boyfriends anymore when the market went south five years ago. They signed a multi-million dollar book deal. Or Jenny Lawson, who started "The Bloggess" a month after we started Sassistas!. She used it to rant about her life. She had a New York Times bestseller, "Let's Pretend This Never Happened".

Oh well.

Flannista

On January 22, PEACEsista sent me an email that I read every day. Here is an excerpt:

"I have stopped thinking of life in terms of better and worse. We are all tested from 50 on and it will only end when we do. For me, many things are measured as degrees of loss now. I have lost both parents, many other relatives and friends. These have been hard, but bearable losses. I have some some jobs and quit others. These have been bearable, too. On the horizon are only less bearable losses: my siblings, dearest friends, my spouse, my children, my health. So, now a 'good' day is a day when the losses are bearable and I suppose each loss strengthens me in some way, preparing me to bear the unbearable . . . at least I hope so."

Good Lord, so do I.

Flannista

I regret that my childhood seemed to end when I was about five years old and able to talk back.

I've been on my own for 55 years.

Flannista

From the poem, "Not Altogether Gone" by Christian Wiman [from his volume, Every Riven Thing]:

*****
Now, when there is no need to burn,
and those who, despite you, loved you, turn
back to their lives and the fact of your absence
the strangeness is how little strangeness there is
in the blank day, the meaningless depletion, the grief.
It was always all aftermath, your life.
*****

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