Huntress of the Lens


Monday, September 7, 2009

How many ten thousand hours?

I woke up thinking this morning that I will most probably not live to be a hundred years old. By calculating my current age with the average life-expectancy I came to the conclusion that I must certainly qualify for a mid-life crisis. Do people still have those, or were they just an excuse for new sports-cars and younger wives back in the 80s? If I'm entitled then I certainly want mine. Just how would that manifest in my own life though, I'm not sure.

I certainly can't just go out and get a tattoo, or dye my hair a strange color, or pierce my lip. I've been thinking about doing that actually, the lip thing, but my daughter would swear I only did it to copy her and I don't want the grief. Maybe it's not about doing or acquiring out-of-character things, so much as looking at how much of life has already been lived, and wondering about it. Where did all that time go? Why didn't I go to college non-stop for all these years so that I would be an expert on so many of the things that fascinate me? I already am who I wanted to be professionally when I grew up, I'm not talking about education so that I'd be able to have a different career. I could just be an expert on world history, art history, and gold-smithing, and psychology and higher mathematics. I would like to know all of these things. I could have, but they all take a lot of time. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes ten thousand hours to attain true mastery at anything. I don't have that many ten thousand hour spans left now.

Even my Kindle disappointed me at first, the new version has no room for SD storage and so only holds 1500 books. Then I did the calculations, and at 50-60 books a year I probably won't live long enough to read 1500 more in the first place, who needs extra storage?

Maybe it's just this general feeling of not really knowing yet who I am or who I'm supposed to be. Once again, I don't mean professionally, I've got that wired. I mean as a person, a human walking the planet. A person thinking about what, if any, footsteps I'll leave behind me or if I've been treading sand this whole time. Are my kids the only testament to the fact that I was here? I had always thought when I was young and idealistic that I would change the world in some way, make something better, invent a newer and therefore better way to do something. Maybe I would bring peace where there was strife, or discover a new concept. I haven't done any of those things, and am most probably not likely to do so now. Mostly I entertain myself with questions about who I am, and who I want to be. 

Somehow, I've lately been cast in the roll of wise older woman, the one you go to with your troubles to get comfort, suggestions, even occasional answers. In those phases that the moon acts out for us every month, waxing, full, waning and new there has always been corresponding lore about women. The virgin, the mother and the crone. I was born in a waning moon, and have been an old woman, I think, since I was little. My Dad says so anyway. Maybe I have always been this way and only had to make enough trips around the Sun to justify this role in my personal society. I'll be doling out the advice, richly laden with personal experience, and realize that I'm more than twice the age of my querent. I guess that does make me an old woman, the "wise" is a matter of opinion. 

Maybe I had to set down my own anger and resentments to shine the Hermit's light that brings them up my hill in their seeking. That could be as well. No one wants to ask a bitter old woman what she would do in a sticky situation, if "Poison them." is the only answer you ever get. I find it strange that people seem to come to me for answers when I have so few for myself. Is that the crisis? Knowing and loving for so many people and yet having naught but a pocket of questions for my own fare? 

Magic, the intuitive type, not the make-the-lady-turn-into-a-tiger kind seems to be right outside the grasp of my fingertips. I find myself weaving things into my artwork deliberately on an energy level. My hands are becoming very sight oriented when I lay them on people, and I can see their light and energy. No matter what the question, it seems that "Love" is the base metal of its answer. Am I just feeling uneasy or "in crisis" because this is unfamiliar territory to me? What if all of a sudden I realize that the aliens are coming down to take us all home and have the urge to slap on a pair of Nikes and drink the Koolaid? I used to have the brash certainty of youth, I knew what I believed, who I was and where I was going. These days it's much more like a leaf on a stream, not a rushing torrent, but a meandering rivulet still. I just go where the water goes, and for some strange reason I'm not sinking.

What exactly is a classic and classy midlife crisis, and where do I apply? I'm sure I qualify by now.

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