Friday, October 28, 2005

Uncertain? Certainly.

In the New York Times on October 25, we stumbled across “As Feminism Ages, Uncertainty Still Wins,” a review of Ms. Wendy Wasserstein's latest creation, "Third." An excerpt of that review follows:

"...Ms. Wasserstein has shepherded her fearful brave new women (who have usually been roughly the ages of their creator when she conceived them) through single motherhood (with "Heidi"), lonely peaks of success ("The Sisters Rosensweig") and the fishbowl of national politics ("An American Daughter"). Now this cozy alter hitting menopause. And she's still having problems figuring out who she is."

Well, our hat is off to this heroine, who much like ourselves is often perplexed by that very existential of questions: Who am I (after all these years) and why can’t I answer the question?

The fact is this: The more we grow up, the more we realize that we cannot be certain neither about the external world nor that vast internal world within ourselves. We are no less in flux than that stuff that swirls around us. Age doesn’t fix us in time. We do not “arrive” and say, “Ha ha! I’m here!” then whip out the lawn chair and sit all-knowing (and bored) for the rest of time.

Our uncertainty is an opportunity to experience wonder and awe. The gaps in our understanding are chances to learn or change direction. Or, more likely and most importantly, confronting our own uncertainty is the mother of all chances to accept and experience the depth of our own humanity.

The aforementioned review concludes as follows: “…Ms. Wasserstein is politely asking audiences who have grown older with her to acknowledge their fears, their limitations and the possibility that they might be wrong on subjects they were once sure about. In taking her uncommon women through the decades, she sweetly but shrewdly suggests that life is an unending identity crisis."

Crisis? Yep. Or, you might prefer the words "Construction Site." As the Postcard from the Hill (insert) states: “Every time I think I’m finished, I see I’m still a work under construction…” (RIPE, page 123). This means change. Lots of it. Risk. Opportunity. Falling objects.

Bring your hardhat.

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