Friday, January 1, 2010

Ellen Goodman lets herself go

I'm not much of a column reader or column writer for that matter. But, I did start reading Ellen Goodman when I moved to Boston.  She's a tad older than me but, as second wave feminists, we fought some of the same battles. She always seemed to makes her case clearly and was never shrill or defensive. (Unlike her usually reasonable male colleague who recently referred to some of his critics with the Rush-like term "humorless fembots." )

Anyway, today she says goodbye.

THERE IS something fitting about writing my last column on the first day of a new year. January, after all, is named for the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He looked backward and forward at the same time. So, this morning, do I.

I wish I could find the right language to describe this rite of passage. Retirement, that swoon of a word, just won’t do. The Spanish translation, jubilaci√≥n, is a bit over the top for my own mix of feelings.
The phrase that kept running through my head as I considered this next step was: “I’m letting myself go.’’ Yes, 

I can imagine the response if a tweet came across the screen announcing, “Ellen Goodman has let herself go.’’ I can see the illustration: out of shape, lazy, slovenly, the very worst things you can whisper about a woman of a certain age.

But I love the idea of reclaiming that phrase. After all, where will you go when you let yourself go? To let this question fill the free space between deadlines in my life has been quite liberating. It suggests the freedom that can fuel this journey.

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