Dear K, I have decided on a new project for you. You are going to write a letter to yourself at the end of every year from now on, until you either kick the bucket, or can no longer write. You will look back at your life-travels through the last twelve months, and look at where they might take you in the upcoming twelve. I realise that this last bit may tax you somewhat, seeing as you’re shite at making long-term plans. Remember how you boldly declared to one or two people a wee while ago that you had made a five year plan for the first time in your life? You even wrote it down – but now you can’t find it. Somehow, things fall into place, though, so maybe there’s a behind-the-scenes planner in your head that that keeps things on track. But don’t over-analyse this like you’re wont to do, because sometimes things can just be accepted without needing to know the whys and wherefores.
If you keep up with this for the next thirty or forty years (I’m feeling optimistic for you today), without giving up on it, getting too senile, or having a few too many G&Ts and falling off your scooter, then you have permission to consider yourself pretty bloody marvellous. That’s your foot scooter I’m talking about, because you haven’t driven a motorised vehicle under the influence of alcohol since driving home from the wake of a dead boyfriend twenty years ago, and for which afterwards you felt ashamed of having done, and haven’t done since. Yes, yes, I know – I can feel the resistance and anxiety from you kicking in at making a commitment. So, here’s a word of encouragement: WOMAN-UP KATRINA!
About the drink/driving thing, I know I didn’t have to mention that, but …….. I can’t think of a good reason why I shamed you just now, however give me time and I’ll come up with something. Besides that, I can do what I like really, and you can’t tell me off, because I’m making a new rule for you for 2019 and onwards – no more telling yourself off for anything less than the most heinous crimes. Seeing as heinous crimes aren’t really a hobby of yours, I can’t see much telling off being necessary at all.
The good thing about writing a blog, is that when one makes a rash commitment to write a letter to oneself encompassing the year that’s been, there’s plenty of stuff to look back on. Normally, wracking one’s brain for the memories is such hard work! I mean, we know we did stuff – we know we had good times and bad, and we know that we’re always a different person in some ways than the person we started the year as – but we usually make a rubbish job of remembering the details. Then it’s Christmas and New Year, and we’re no longer looking back.
So, to begin. The first thing that strikes me is that in 2018 you laid out all (well, most) of your less-than-wonderful characteristics for the world to read – if they were interested – and nothing happened. Probably nobody much cared. Probably they were only big things to you. What was rather more interesting, though, was how they loosened their hold on you once you put them out there. They shrunk to just being little bumps in your character and personality, rather than the big potholes you imagined. In a weird way, I can see that you’ve actually become quite fond of some of them in the end. But what are you going to do for obstacles in your life now? They’ve kept you safe so far, but 2019 could be the year that you decide to have no obstacles. Think about that.
I also noticed that you spent much of the year being sixty years old, and how much you liked that. Against all the personal and cultural expectations, you liked yourself at sixty more than you’ve liked yourself at any other time in your life. It’s not being sixty that spins your wheels, but the person you are at sixty that feels so good. You feel like you began to be the ‘you’ that had been waiting in the wings. I can sense your excitement at experiencing how this part of your life-journey unfolds. This has been a tricky one to try and convey to others. Talking about getting older is taboo, because our culture has made ageing a shameful activity. But I can hear the cogs turning in your head. You’re planning to rough up Taboo and Shameful a bit, aren’t you?
Then you re-discovered your inner feminist. You began wearing that mantle with pride, rather than not fully owning it like you did in the past, because others might find it confronting and not like you. Realising that you didn’t have to care anymore about what others thought of you, and that you didn’t have to care anymore about not being liked, and that it was better to be authentic than worry about any of that sh*t, made you feel like dancing around the fire naked and howling at the moon. Maybe you should actually do that? Let your belly flop out, let your tits flop around, let everything flop and jiggle as much as it wants to – then have a joint and masturbate. Yeah …. I don’t really know where that last bit came from, but I think you might enjoy it anyway.
When your mum died in the middle of the year, it was the end of your eight-year-long responsibility to your parents. They were a hard eight years, but surprisingly you didn’t feel as euphoric as you expected to at finally being released from the burden. After all, she was your mother, and there was love between you. True, it was flawed and fractious, but then if it wasn’t, it would be a Hollywood show, and not real life. You liked how a couple of your friends said to you after the funeral that they had always admired her for not being a run-of-the-mill sort of mother, and for being gutsy. It made you see her through other people’s eyes, and it was humbling that you’d never really acknowledged that yourself.
Buying a foot scooter was how you marked turning sixty. How daring and fun that felt! It turns a few heads when you scoot away on it to the shops. It turned a few more heads when your sister and you went to a party on it one night. The party wasn’t all that far away, so you decided to scooter instead of taxi. Into a backpack went the jolly-juice, and you took turns between scootering and walking. Sister had a crook foot at the time, so scootering/walking worked out perfectly. There are those that think you’re a silly old fool for buying a foot scooter – and who’s to say they’re wrong – but was either buy a scooter or have a sixtieth birthday party. The scooter sounded more fun.
Now that the year is almost done, I see that you are ending it on a bad note. Buying a flat as an investment property, is a Bad Boomer thing. Bad, bad, bad! You know that you’re making it tough for Millennials to get onto the property ladder by doing this, so what do you say about that? “Mea culpa”? Is that all? What – you’ve change it to “mea maxima culpa”? Okay, now you’re just being smart. I hope this isn’t an indication of what your year of being sixty-one is going to be like. Wait – upon reflection – go ahead and sass your ass off.