Is it time to memorialize my life? Is it time for a memoir?
At this particular time, I feel a need to evaluate my life and my direction. Have I wasted my life? Have I made a life? What does that mean to me? My husband and I lead different lives than we had imagined. I say that although I knew in college that I wanted to be a college professor.
I am one today. I have taught at a college or university for twenty-three years.
My husband had a political life and now teaches, too. He had life before we met and when we met I was just starting my adult life. I had imagined a political life with him, but that is not what drives us now. It is what we talk about in our classes but it is not the life we lead.
If I were to describe our lives I would say that we live in the aftermath. We are mourning the loss of our political innocence. We live with knowing the difference between myth and reality. I don't believe we get over disappointment--we learn to live with it. Like Glenn Close's character Iris Gaines in The Natural said, " I believe we have two lives; the life we learn with and the life we have after that." We reside with reality. I miss living with the kind of Andy Hardy optimism we had when we first met and my husband ran for office. I miss it 26 years later. Literally, we had an election stolen from us. We were investigated by our government. We came through it but we were never the same.
Our lives feel so different than then ones we imagined. There is a little graphic meme floating around the Internet that says something like, "you must give up the life you imagined to live the life waiting for you."
Life doesn't wait. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you make other plans." I am struggling to find the warm heartedness of that idea in my own life. This is the life that was waiting for us. We paid a very high price for it.
I don't know how I will write this blog, which I have flirted with for ten years, without writing about politics. I suppose I need to write about politics. I am a frustrated columnist. A frustrated newspaper editor. But newspapers are not what they used to be.
Perhaps that is my problem. I didn't think life would be like this at this time in my life. I didn't think we would have these political fights. I should have known better because fighting ignorance and tyranny never ends. It sounds grandious, perhaps, but that is why I wanted to be a college professor. It was the life I encountered in politics, too. I thought, like many people, that these fights were over. But it isn't true. Each generation must earn and learn the lessons and battles of the past to make them their own struggle for freedom.
Perhaps my problem is that I forget that the arc of history usually moves in the right direction. Usually slowly, incrementally. Sometimes in fits and starts. But there is every reason to be optimistic. So things are really bleak now. Perhaps they must get that way before they get better. Perhaps the threat of losing so much must be really recognizable before people get interested in securing what they may lose so easily. My husband's generation had Vietnam to stir their interest in politics. The women's movement awakened during that time. My generation are the children of Ronald Reagan. I teach in George W. Bush's aftermath. E.L. Doctorow writes today of the impact of that on our lives. Our unexceptionalism.
E.L. Doctrow's opinion piece in the New York Times Sunday has encouraged me to write about politics and my life in these times. A finer political piece you won't find anywhere. So well crafted. So much truth. And it is on the opinion pages, not the front page. Perhaps life is more opinion and less news and the struggle for objectivity is sort of the difference between talking about doing something and actually doing something.
There is a lot of disappointment as I look at turning 50 next month. It is my solumn vow to myself to reject disappointment in the next 25 or 30 years of my life. There are more days behind me than in front of me and my mortality is staring at me. I can retire in five years. I want to examine what this life means and why I feel the way that I do. And I want to do it through writing this blog.