Those doctors in Atlanta tried to stop it. Nevertheless, on this day 35 years ago my mother went into labor 2 months prematurely.
I was born at 10:10pm even more wrinkly and helpless than is typical. I spent my first Christmas in an incubator, a measly 5 jaundiced pounds and not yet out of the woods.
Most of you reading this have partial knowledge of the phases that have consumed these past 35 years of mine: being precocious, then underachieving, then finding philosophy, chasing it a while, abandoning it, living SATC, eloping, moving, gestating, moving, mothering, gestating, mothering, grieving, gestating, mothering mothering mothering coaching?
All of that has delivered me to this here cabin, somewhere to the west of Austin, on my birthday staycation. Last year I did the same thing, but in lower Manhattan. My habitual self-transformations maybe should have been put to rest by now, but I've just about pulled it off yet again. Is this healthy? Your guess is as good as mine.
2020 was easily the worst year of my entire life. At the same time, I can't deny my good fortune, so intense in places. I'm tempted to try to sum up the situation somehow, either to ease into cheery gratitude or indulge in gloomy martyrdom.
But attempted agglomeration doesn't reveal the truth about an individual life - it obscures it. Blessings and burdens do not cosmically cancel each other out. Instead, you hold each one, like a stone warm from the sun or a smoldering hot potato from hell, cradled in your hands. Is it all "worth it"? I don't know. Does it matter? Not really.
Every day, I think about death. The more I think about it, the less real it seems, like a perversely inverted memento mori. But I'm ready to be middle-aged now. The only thing worse than decaying by the minute is refusing to see it.
I hope I don't die as prematurely as I was born, but eventually I'll die bleeding one way or another. If there is any depth at all to me by now, it's only that which life has carved in.
Pamela J. Hobart - Philosophical Life Coaching Newsletter
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