State of the Union

In just over a week I will turn 34 years old. For the first time in my life, I am acutely aware that I am aging. I have lines appearing in my face which I never thought I'd see. The Briggs & Noorduyn women age gracefully & relatively wrinklefree is what I've been told (aka the lie I've been sold!). My skin and bones don't heal as quickly as they used to do. Also, I used to be able to sleep 12 hours straight without having to get up to pee - as if that would happen now!

Over the past year or two, I often find myself saying things about very young people which are either unusually wise or totally not empathetic enough, especially considering I used to be quite quirky in my youth myself. Most suprisingly, I often sound like my mother these days, or worse (best?) yet, one of my grandmothers. And not always the really sweet and kind one!

I know that this aging process has been going on non-stop since the day I was born and all, but suddenly it's very real and present in my daily life. Outside of the lines in my face, I actually haven't minded the fact that I'm aging and that it's noticeable. I like myself and my life a hell of a lot better with each passing year. (Plus, if the lines in my face get me down, there's always botox, right?)

I am comfortable in my own skin these days, literally and figuratively. I get along with my family better than ever - mostly because I'm mature enough to understand now that we can love eachother despite our faults and philosophical differences. I've utterly enjoyed seeing my parents become happier now that their nests are empty and their children are taking the world by storm in our own way. Sure, I miss being a super thin and energetic 19 year old from a physical perspective, but there is no way in hell I'd want to go back to that 19 year old state of mind. I was too opinionated, too immature, too impatient, too depressed, too serious and too worried about what other people think of me. I was also not remotely self-aware enough to know that I didn't know everything and that I wasn't always right. Each year I become more aware of how fallible I am. I have come to realise that it's far more about the journey in life than the destination.

Daily life isn't so easy right now. I'm struggling with recurrent illness and as a result, I'm quite depressed. This new digit being added onto my age is felt more succinctly than ever before as I wonder whether or not this is just the start of long-term battles with poor health and depression. Despite the fact I'm unwell and quite down, I still wouldn't swap out the life I have now and the person I am today for the insecurity and false certainty of my younger self. I'll just push through and make do and have faith that there is a lesson to be learned in all of this, and I'll be better off in the end.


Why I am against capital punishment...

I wrote this little ditty as a response to a thread on a forum I frequent where we are discussing the execution of the DC Beltway Sniper:

I don't believe in the death penalty. I feel very strongly that violence begets violence. The death penalty perpetuates a viscious cycle which I believe has longterm negative consequences on society, including desentizing society in regards to the taking of a human life. I also believe that capital punishment violates the Bill of Rights, specifically in regards to the 'cruel and unusual' punishment statement - there is no such thing as a humane method of putting a person to death! Also, it is a useless act of vengeance because it doesn't undo the original crime and bring the victims back to life suddenly, and the criminals themselves have innocent families who then suffer from a life being taken as well. What good comes of this viscious circle?!

I won't even get into the cost aspects nor the fact that America's image in Europe is further tarnished by the existance of the death penalty, nor the hippocrisy of a Christian nation supporting capital punishment in any form.

Lastly, I think it is very difficult to provide a fair hearing when the death penalty is on the table because there is the possibility to have jurors who are hesitant to convict based upon facts because it could result in someone dying OR to have a juror who is hugely pro-capital punishment and the fact it's on the table sways their judgement in regards to sentencing. I served on a capital murder case jury several years back and the death penalty was taken off the table for exactly these reasons - it was too distracting and we would have potentially had a hung jury if the death penalty had been an option.

I then started thinking about how I might feel about capital punishment in relation to someone close to me - say a predator who might hurt my sister, my mother, one of the children in my family, etc. If a horrific event befell one of them at the hand of some psychopath, would I change my stance on capital punishment? Really, truly would I still feel it's wrong?

The answer is yes, I would still be anti-death penalty, despite the fact that I might feel so angry about it that I'd likely want to kill the asshole with my own bare hands and risk the death penalty for myself in the process. I would still believe it is wrong even though I probably wouldn't be phased if the criminal died at the hands of inmates or from some terrible disease. No matter what tragedy befalls us, I would still believe that a government's money is better spent on the systemic change required to prevent victimization and  protect the innocent than in electrocuting murderers. Capital punishment focuses society on violence and vengeance rather than on reform and prevention. It's a never ending cycle of 'eye for an eye' that does no one justice in the end. It really must stop.


On the outside, looking in...

I've been going through this strange feeling of detachment over the last month or so. A lot of the time I feel as if I'm watching myself from afar and not really feeling or participating openly in the world around me -  not in a "first person" sort of way at least (although I do have loads of internal dialogues in 3rd person like any normal crazy person!).

It's really difficult to put a finger on what's going on with me or what the impetus was to start this blue period, especially given the fact I have been so happy and content all summer. I am partially blaming it on the "dark nights" for sure! I watched the sun setting around 430pm today - that is never, ever a good thing. And it will only get worse in late December, when the sun goes down by half three most days here! Ever since the days began getting super short here in Newcastle, I've started losing the desire to participate in pretty much everything that requires me to leave the flat - except where a paycheck is involved, of course!

I am being really hard on myself for not being as energetic or conent as I felt all summer long. It's not that I'm depressed per se, but I'm just acutely aware of the fact that my energy levels are diving and generally I would prefer to be as inert as possible until the Spring. If it were up to me, I'd stay in the house with Will, the Xbox and my breadmachine and pretty much not see the outside world for weeks at a time. It's really not a very nice way to feel, and what sucks the most is I'm hyper aware of the fact it's happening.

I feel as if I am witnessing my lethargy from afar and hate every minute of what's going on. The 'normal me' is looking in from behind the two-way mirror, screaming and shouting at myself to get my shit together and quit being so morose.

'Get out and exercise!', I'm shouting from behind the looking glass.

'Quit exagerrating! Get off the fucking couch and quit sulking, you're better than this!', I plead.

The whole thing is like some sappy infomercial reinactment of a woman suffering from the 'winter blues', or better yet - an antidepressant advert! Yes, I'm turning into THAT woman, and that IS NOT me. Really, it's not. I guess at least I see it happening and can do something to make it stop. Or wait until the sun starts shining for more than 8 hours a day again.

Dammit, I need to get my arse of the fucking couch and quit feeling sorry for myself.

Maybe after the next commercial break.