New Skin – If you could spend the next year as someone radically different from the current “you” — a member of a different species, someone from a different gender or generation, etc. — who would you choose to be?

winter sun January hadley

I can’t imagine wanting to be anyone (or anything) but me. Perhaps in a dream, I’d be a horse or an eagle. Or a dolphin. But that’s dream stuff, not living.

When I was a teenager, in those hyper hormonal years of Hell, I wanted to anyone but me — though even then, I never wanted to be anything other than human. I grew out of that pretty quickly and by the time I got into my 20s, was already fond of myself. At least the brainy part.

I’ve always had issues with my body. Ill health has stalked me from early on. By the time I was in my late 20s, I used to laugh, tell people that, with the help of modern medicine, I’m living proof the unfit can survive.

So here I am, alive and still complaining. I’m sure someone elsewhere has even more after-market replacement parts than me, but I don’t know him/her/them. I’m sure I’ll never be an unidentified Jane Doe on Ducky’s autopsy table because I carry 4 cards with serial numbers identifying various implanted pieces — pacemaker, two breast implants, and a heart valve. The piece of plastic fibula in my right leg predates serial numbers and two pieces were put in, but subsequently removed when they didn’t work.

So here’s the thing. I don’t want to be someone or something else. Not for a year or a day. What I want is to be is me. An all-original, functional version. With no arthritis or heart problems. Without cancer or bursitis.  Supple young skin, and silky, thick hair in a blanket down my back. I would like the perfect complexion my friends so envied and which I never appreciated until it was gone. I’d like my teeth and stomach too, please.

Fantasy aside, I’ll hang on to me, grateful to be alive. It’s New Year’s Day, 2015. A beautiful, bright, sunshiny day in the heart of winter. I ever-so-slightly over-baked the blueberry pie, but the prime rib will be perfect.

I will do my best to make this an excellent year.


It was an interesting year, in the sense of that apocryphal Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times.”

May you live in interesting times” is actually an English expression which pretends to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Despite its having become so common in English as to be known as “the Chinese curse”, the saying has no actual Chinese source. At least none anyone has ever found. The nearest related Chinese expression is “太平” (níng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luànshì rén) which suggests it’s “better to live as a dog in an era of peace than as a man in times of war.”

Winter December Sunrise

Last year was the definition of an interesting time. From its beginning, waiting for my heart surgeon’s schedule to free up so he could fix me — and I needed a good deal of repair — to the long-running (tickets still available) show titled “Marilyn’s Recovery,” to the melodrama of our well going dry. Also known as “Jack and Jill went up the hill, but came down with an empty bucket.” From the miracle of friends to the rescue to the subsequent resurrection of the well. Never a dull moment.

There were long weeks of glorious autumn as we traveled through a glorious New England. Two great concerts. Friends from the past, new friends from afar. Good friends we laughed with and the lost friends for whom we mourn.

I posted nearly 1000 times, passed 200,000 views. Took an uncountable number of photographs. Bought another computer. New Kindles all around. Bonnie’s teeth took on a new shine.


Today, the calendar has flipped. It is 2015. Like the opening on a thousand sleazy movies, I’m living in an un-imagined future.

I remember being a kid and learning about how Haley’s Comet would be coming around the year I turned 39. I couldn’t imagine being as old as that. Nor could I ever have imagined I would see the comet on my 39th birthday from a rock in the Judean Desert, just outside Jerusalem.

I certainly never imagined 2015. The big movie of my young adult years was 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). That year came and went 14 years ago. 1984, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian future, has come shockingly close to reality yet life trudges on. At some point, I got kind of old. Which surprises me less than realizing my friends are old, too. How did that happen?

The Beatles sang about “When I’m 64” and I’ll turn 68 in a couple of months. Gee. Life is a lot stranger than any fiction I might have written.