Archive | Age Matters

Home of the Heart

Last night I had the anxiety dream about homelessness that I’ve anticipated since losing my jobs last spring.

I rarely talk about my fear of homelessness, especially with married friends. When I do, they say things like, “You won’t be homeless. You can stay with us.”

When I report their assurances to my shrink, a practical woman who knows from rough times, she raises her eyebrows. “People think they’re being supportive,” she says. “But staying on their couch would not be the same thing as having a home. Minimizing your valid fears is not helpful.”

My shrink never sweetens realities. Maybe she does with other people, but she is well-acquainted with my capacity to om-shanthi myself right into destitution. I’ve done it before.

It reminds me of a joke I tell clients. Continue Reading →

Kinsey Millhone Is My Kind of Dick

One very terrible summer, I was jobless, in the wake of a breakup, and looking at the wrong side of thirty-five. “I don’t know what to do with myself,” I told a librarian friend. “Read the Kinsey Millhone mysteries,” she said. “They’re bestsellers for a reason and there’s a ton of them.”

By the summer’s end, lone-wolf private detective Kinsey had become my first fictional bestie since I’d ostensibly grown out of rereading Harriet the Spy. Grumpy, idiosyncratic, and eminently decent, the subject of Sue Grafton’s bestselling alphabet series is the sort of tough-guy tomboy rarely found outside of children’s literature, to all of our detriment. Like the love child of Mickey Spillane and Ramona Quimby, Kinsey suffers no fools and is only partially domesticated. Orphaned young, divorced twice, and child-free, she’s a former cop who prefers pickle and peanut butter sandwiches over salads, lifts free weights, cuts her own hair with nail scissors, and owns only one dress–a wrinkle-resistant black number for when she can’t get away with jeans and turtlenecks. She lives with Japanese bobtail cat Ed in a garage apartment owned by her best friend Henry, an eighty-eight-year-old retired baker who designs crossword puzzles, and she regularly swills cheap white wine and frightening goulash at the local tavern with a handful of cops whom she sometimes dates and often consults in the delightfully lo-fi world of 1980s Santa Teresa, a fictionalized Southern California town resembling Santa Barbara, where Grafton lives part-time. Continue Reading →

Blood in His Tracks (Indigo Grownups)

I have come to accept my sadness as holy. I don’t mean to fetishize depression. I don’t even think the great grief I experience is depression because it is situationally appropriate and does not rise up to wall me from my day, duties, you.

But I think of my sadness—this heavy, grave stillness I often carry—as holy because it is true and because, after all these years, I am grateful to feel even when it is very, very hard.

As a young empath my daily prayer was to not stop feeling. I worried that I’d grow as numb as most adults, that I’d stop registering the sorrows and struggles and triumphs of bugs, birds, plants, people–of every soul quietly hurtling on its forceful fateful path. I felt everything so deeply that it made me cry in fast food restaurants and plastic playgrounds paved over meadows, at birthday parties where the parents didn’t seem happy their kids had been born. Oh, Lisa, she’s so sensitive. That’s what they always say, isn’t it, when we can’t block out the miracles and savagery of everyday life.  Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy