used to be a very enthusiastic person. People enjoyed having me on their team or in their midst because of my spark, smile, and adaptability. I was unfailingly optimistic, hardworking, and ready to share someone else’s burden. I was also a good employee, colleague, buddy.
Now, one year away from my 50th birthday, I could care less about contributing my energy to a cause. You will no longer see me relinquish my time for anything that doesn’t resonate deeply.
Now I do what the hell I want and don’t give a flying fuck about the rest. I no longer fall in love — or infatuation. I walk into its forest with my head held high. I dive into the quarry fearlessly. I take what I want and cut the line. If someone can keep up with me, sally forth with me, or bring me into a new realm, I’m happy to share. But you will no longer see me pining for that illusion called love.
If this makes me sound cold, as I imagine it does, it also is deeply liberating.
I feel that I owe it to myself to use my intelligence for my own good, to appreciate my body in its splendor, to rejoice in the longings and musings that peer out from behind the curtain.
To what is this state of affairs due? Has my work in translation fomented rebellion? Am I no longer happy to be someone else’s voice, instead ardent, starved only to use my own?
Translation has been good to me, and I have been good to it. But I recognize now that it may have been merely a bridge. There is other work that I want and need to do, and if I don’t carve out time for it, carve the work itself from marble, it will never get done. Translation is no longer enough for me and yet I can’t imagine my life without translation. But I’d rather be writing other things.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not in love with myself. I critique myself incessantly. Notice, however, that I said critique. Not criticize. I work hard to affect change where change is due. All the rest is moot.
Perhaps this is what is known as maturing. As Italian author and critic Giuseppe Pontiggia once said, becoming mature is being aware of your limitations. I know that I will never be a good housewife, the president of a company, a superb farmer, a dancer, an equestrian — but I can be a darling lover, the manager of my home, a decent gardener, I know how to have fun, and I am a strong horsewoman.
The truth is that my enthusiasm has been tempered over time, by delusion, exploitation, and drudgery. I am the sea glass worn down by currents. I am the chipped arrowhead, the perfect skipping stone at the bottom of the lake, the cast-iron griddle. I am the single riding glove, and with this wild horse, it’s better to have one than none at all.