Aging (I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron) (December 2007)

Susan's Thursday morning note December 27, 2007
Aging.  I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron 

Good morning! I still haven’t gotten the coffee in me since all are asleep in the house, but somehow still managing think! Are you making it through the ups and downs of your Christmas week?  Well, at least you don’t have to add to the equation the emotional swings of turning 40 tied into it all. That is my day today – the realization that I’m not almost 40, I have as of a few hours ago arrived. I have debated about writing about this particular fact, but I read the funniest chapter last night from a book and had to tell it to all of you book lovers. You will love this description of what reading is for this author, Nora Ephron, in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. Nora is the writer for the movie scripts Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. I hope you get as big of a smile out of the next paragraph as I did! I can’t tell you how many times a day before I can begin reading whatever it is I want to read I have to ask, “Where in the world did I put my glasses?” – all new for me as of the last few months! Must be…40! Tell you what – in honor of my birthday today, for your sake & mine – I’ll put our excerpt this week in a larger font!Get ready for a grin – I wonder which line will make your eyes twinkle in recognition for your reason for reading!

I can’t read a word on the menu. I can’t read a word in the weekly television listings. I can’t read a word in the cookbook. I can’t do the puzzle. I can’t read a word in anything at all unless it’s written in extremely large type, the larger the better. The other day, on the computer, I pulled up something so small I can’t imagine how I wrote the thing in the first place. I used to write in 12-point; now I am up to 16 and thinking about going to 18 or even 20. I’m extremely sad about all this. Mostly I’m sad about just plain reading. When I pass a bookshelf, I like to pick out a book from it and thumb through it. When I see a newspaper on the couch, I like to sit down with it. When the mail arrives, I like to rip it open. Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievable healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss. But my ability to pick something up and read it – which has gone unchecked all my life up until now – is now entirely dependent on the whereabouts of my reading glasses. I look around. Why aren’t they in this room?!??! …where are they?!?!?!?

How was that!??!? (grin!) Makes this 12-point seem tiny now!!! So, with that (being 40 doesn’t seem to give me any extra wisdom to pass to you today!) just go and have some chocolate – on me!!! Celebrate life with me! Thank you so much for letting me send you this note each week for another year. Thank you for your business and for your ideas. Let me know what you’d like me to add to our store. We want to carry unusual, creative, quality books and gifts for our towns – if you have seen anything that you think I’d like – please tell me about it. Have a restful weekend as you bring in a new year, full of so much unknown.

Let’s face the next stage of our song with inquisitiveness, taking on the mystery. Let’s not close off ourselves for any reason to life – keep the doors open. In one of Anne Lindberg’s journals she wrote that she had been visiting a home where the woman “saw life as a mystery – ready to take on the mystery…” I can’t remember exactly how she worded it, but I haven’t forgotten the image. Another person she described after visiting was that she’d shut herself off to life. Let us LIVE, taking on this mystery. Of possibility. I love looking at the next open door in my life that way. An open door. Life where I KNOW that if I look up to the heavens – my help is there, if I drop just the foot to my knees – my help is there! Make it your goal to daily Be Still and Know that I Am God – amazing what that moment of stillness will do to feed our souls. I’ll leave you with a reading on this theme – mystery. Have a great week – let me know if I can do anything for you! Susan

I no longer feel that life is ordinary.  Everyday life is filled with mystery.  The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse.  Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us.  Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain.  In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us in such times.  I used to try to offer people certainty in times which were not at all certain and could not be made certain.  I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. (Rachel Naomi Remen)

Latin phrase for this week:
 vita sine litteris mors est: Life without literature is death. (I liked this one being the book lover - a little morbid, but I still liked it - grin!)

Work cited:
Ephron, Nora. I Feel Bad about My Neck : And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. New York: Vintage, 2008.