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21 May

I used to go to New York and drink wine... and use Blistex?

There was a time, maybe seven years ago — maybe more like ten — when I would’ve called myself “fun.” Now, there is no circumstance under which I would make the same claim. I have become fretful and stodgy in my old(er) age. I don’t stay out late. I always overpack. I am intimidated by makeup that is not clear lipgloss. There are other undesirable characteristics that I’ve always had, that are so synonymous with my very existence that even though they are sometimes a hindrance and an inconvenience and a roadblock to fun, I cling to them rather than try to change. We all have these quirks, and I’d argue that by and large they do no harm. Some of mine, however, DO harm, like my complete unwillingness to talk on the phone. I’m not talking about my insistence to keep the same haircut, which is one that I’m pretty sure I’ll happily take to the grave.
It was only recently that I realized how boring I’ve become. I used to go to shows — I used to book shows! I drank and carroused and wore vintage party dresses during the day. I could apply eye makeup. People thought I was cute! Now? Pretty sure nobody thinks I’m cute. Because what’s cute about a mom who wears a slightly different-colored version of the same thing every day? My baby is better dressed than I am. By, like, a lot.

I also have a crippling combination of propriety and unwillingness to be bad at stuff. This means, among other things, I no longer sing in front of anyone but my son. This isn’t a great loss to the world at large or anything — I am no singer you want to hear — but still.
I will cut to the chase, here. I’ve been keeping a list. A list of things I want to be able to do, or do again. This list, if completed, will help me to be the Person I Kind Of Already Thought I Was™. Without further ado:

1. Wear red lipstick successfully (read: confidently, to good recepetion)
2. Sing in front of people (multiple, not necessarily at once)
3. Go on a plane without anxiety (1 drink maximum)
4. Wear a nighttime dress during the day
5. Use the word ‘gal’ successfully (read: normal flow, proper context, without someone noticing)
6. Stay out all night once
7. Learn to wink
8. Accept compliments graciously
9. Accessorize proficiently
10. Return phone call(s) within two days
11. Play my autoharp and/or accordion in front of people (baby doesn’t count)
12. Go on a trip with little to no notice (1 day maximum notice, overnight trip)
13. Dance at a wedding
14. Keep a tidy house for at least one month (good enough for company)
15. Have coffee and at least one other beverage people want to drink (ie. not milk, tampico, almond breeze) in the kitchen at all times
16. Leave notes in the fences of houses whose yards I admire on my daily walk
17. Go to five shows in 12 months
18. Write one thank you letter per month re: a customer service person for one year
19. Write one complaint letter per month re: a shitty company/policy/law/prospective law for one year
20. Try to like beer
21. Shop at the co-op at least once a month for a week’s worth of groceries
22. Speak Spanish to Spanish-speaking people I encounter who do not speak English well.
23. Give the rundown to at least five people I only know casually or do not know at all
24. Submit stuff to be published by someone other than myself under my own name
25. Read one non-kid/house-related book a month
26. Give up my list of unsayable words — use them
27. Get unapologetically good at having my picture taken

Some of this is boring, or maybe easy-seeming. I hope some of it will be easier than other parts that make me shudder to think of them.