Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Of Cabbages and Kings

I'm beginning to notice a pattern to my blogging habits. I write less when I have PMS, oddly, because my head is so overfull that I can't organize my thoughts enough to post. As long as it's not the crazy kind of PMS, I sort of like this stage, because it seems to open some doors to some thoughts that I don't typically get to look at. And that's odd to me, since it's my own'd think I could look anywhere I want, anytime I want.

So when I have PMS, I tend to post articles that pique my interest, and less of my own stuff. The rest of the time, BOY, do I have opinions!

Here's some of what's in my head these days:
There's been a huge spate of parents dying lately among my peers. JoEllen, Angela and Deb for starters, and I know I've forgetten a couple because we decided it was five just this month. Part of it, obviously, is that it's just that time. We're in our 40's and our parents are in their 70's, and that's when people die. But I wonder how much of it has to do with the Holiday Season. Holidays are difficult for even the hardiest souls.

I read somewhere once that men tend to die right before their birthdays, and women right after, in a large part because of the way men and women approach the world. Birthdays, for many people, are a time to look back and make an accounting of how we've done in life, using whatever yardstick we measure success, relationships, children, possessions...whatever is important to us.

Men tend to be strivers and are looking ahead to that next thing. And they often die with some regrets...shoulda, woulda, coulda. Women tend to be feelers and processers, and to look for the meaning in things. The work they need to do to make themselves ready to die takes place internally.

So men frequently die in the days leading up to their birthday, apparently to unconciously avoid that last personal accounting, where they feel like they haven't measured up to their own definition of a life well spent.

Women frequently die right after their birthday, and see it as one last chance to see the people they love and get their own emotional house in order before leaving.

I wonder if that will change. Gender roles are blurrier, but our biological inclinations are probably pretty set in stone. Even when we switch roles, many women seem to strive professionally and yet hold back a part of their heads to fret about the nest.

As this parade of funerals marches on, I think I've noticed what astute people have already figured out: when our parents die, we not only lose our parents, we lose our youth. We lose the people who've propped us up all our lives, and now we're replacing them as the grown-ups in the family. What if we're not ready??

Our parents looked like the were born to be adults. They had mastered all the skills, and made it look effortless. Our generation seems to struggle a little. And when our parents die, it's sort of worrisome to me that the Universe expects us to pick up the torch, slip on the mantle of Parenthood, and be the generation that's in charge. EEEEK! Look at George Bush...we're not ready!

But probably we are. Probably our parents generation struggled just like we do. Katie sometimes says to me, "You know everything." And I think, "Kiddo, you wouldn't believe how much I don't know."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- fractures the time/space continuum for a couple of days, and lets us into some parallel universes. But I can see why no one actually LIVES there.


No comments: