Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Universality or merely commonality?

Just finished Nora Ephron's latest book, I Feel Bad about My Neck.

Okay, maybe I was just too filled with anticipation, but really, I did expect more from someone whose plays have always managed to pull the most amazing insights out of the most mundane of human activities.

When Harry Met Sally, for instance. There are no wild chase scenes, no murders, no edge of the seat suspense, nor is a metropolis reduced to rubble in this movie.

I Feel Bad about My Neck is a series of essays on how she is dealing with aging and other unmentionables, and I am expecting if not revelations, at least a new and refreshing take thereon.

The book was okay, gave me a few tired smiles and a couple nervous giggles, but essentially not much different from what I already know. Hey, I've already said a lot it, myself!

Instead of panning the book for being decidedly not new (or getting an ego boost thinking I must be pretty hot stuff if I already knew what such a famous writer had to say on the subject) I think I'll concentrate on something much more interesting:

Like, maybe the reason many of us in a certain age group have heard before -- many times! -- everything Ms. Ephron had to say is proof that we (at least my half of the species) are very much more alike than social divisions would have us believe.

Perhaps our personal responses to menopause and aging in general are a demonstration of a basic cultural commonality, if not universality of feelings.

In many parts of the world, it is still a very good and respected thing to get old. Elders are revered, or at least have respect and a role and responsibility to the whole. Their input is included in all areas of endeavor and decision making. Or so anthropologists assure us...

Not so in the recent history of the US. Perhaps as a result of 400 years of exploring, expansion and nation-building that reduced extended family and enhanced the notion of rugged individualism, our prevalent culture does not value aging. We do not grow up respecting the knowledge of our elders or anticipating our own.

Not news, you say? Well, that's my point, exactly!

So, what are we going to do about this state of affairs? [Okay, what are you all going to do about it? I'm already there, never listened well when your ages, and am much inclined to spend my remaining time engaged in having more fun that trying to fix the world. Been there, done that, now I'm retired.]

Of course, that's what the pause in menopause is all about -- taking some time out to reconsider goals, evaluate progress, analyze resources, (complain about assorted indignities that I had always figured would not be visited upon me, of all people, since as a redhead, I wouldn't age like normal folks), and share my newfound insights with all and sundry who need to know what's coming.

Welcome to menopause, Ms. have, as usual, nailed the common man --er-- woman!


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