19 June 2011

Doing It (What?) Over Again

Today Millie asked me what I'm doing for the Fourth of July.  Whenever she asks what I'm doing on any particular day, she has something planned and wants to invite me.  For the Fourth, she's having a barbecue, as she's done just about every year that I've known her.  She didn't have one two years ago, even though the Fourth fell on a Saturday, because that was the day I left for Trinidad.

So, in two weeks, my birthday (the 4th) and the anniversary of my surgery (the 7th) will come.  It's hard to believe that two years will have passed since the latter event.  And I'm not going to tell you how many years have passed since the day I was born!

As for the passage of time:  My mother and I were talking about I-forget-what-topic, and the subject of aging and wrinkles came up.  Mom said she'd like to look, not the way she did when she was 20 or 30, but the way she did when she and Dad moved to Florida nearly eighteen years ago.  I said that I'd like to look better, but I don't really have the same anxiety about looking younger that many other women have.  "That's because you don't have any memory of yourself as a younger woman," she said.  

Mom was being her usual perceptive self.  It's in contrast to an article someone passed on to me.  David Brooks, one of my least favorite commentators (which is saying a lot, considering how much disdain I have for much of the mass media), said something to the effect that no thinking middle-aged person would turn down the chance to be 22 years old again.

That means I'm either not a thinking person, or not a middle-aged person, according to Brooks.  He might be right on one or both counts.  But I really think that, to be fair, he's simply not aware of the realities of life for people like me.  Really, about the only way my past could have been much different is if I had been born female, or had transitioned at an earlier age.  And, since I have no memory of myself as a woman (though I was one then, just as I am one now)--or, more accurately, I have no memory of having lived as a woman--I really have no way of envisioning how my life could have been different.  After all, you can't wish to be 22 all over again so that you can make a few different choices if the life you're re-envisioning wasn't your own.