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更年期的礼物

更新时间:2018-8-9 19:51:26 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Gift of Menopause
更年期的礼物

NASHVILLE — There are things I miss about being fertile. A waistline. Hair thick enough to hide my pink scalp and skin fitted enough to prove I have bones. Ovulation — those heady days each month when every cell was vibrating, when just the brush of my husband’s arm against mine could make unloading the dishwasher feel like foreplay. I truly miss ovulation.

纳什维尔——在我还具有生育能力的日子里,有许多东西是值得怀念的。腰部的线条。能盖住我粉红色头皮的浓密头发,紧致到还能看出骨头的皮肤。排卵——每个月那几天令人兴奋的日子,每个细胞都在颤动,哪怕只是丈夫的手臂蹭到我的手臂,都能让收拾洗碗机这种枯燥的事情变得像是性爱的前戏。我真想念排卵啊。

I also miss sleeping. I remember sleep with such fondness. I fell asleep once leaning against the warm knees of the boy sitting behind me at a high-school football game. Back when I was fertile, I could close my eyes at night and wake up eight hours later, sometimes nine, feeling perfectly happy. Behold the bright new day! See how it reaches toward the horizon in all its hopeful promise!

我还怀念睡眠。我忘不了那时没心没肺地呼呼大睡。有一次在看高中橄榄球比赛,我靠着坐在后排的那个男孩温暖的膝盖上睡着了。在我有生育能力的时候,晚上我闭上眼睛,再睁开就是8个小时之后了,有时候是9个小时,好不快活。看这崭新的一天!看看它如何承载着鼓舞人心的承诺向地平线延伸!

Now my internal thermostat is broken. I wake up to throw off the covers and lie there, wondering if my beleaguered country can survive the cataclysm that has befallen it, if the Earth itself can survive the convulsion is it undergoing. Feeling old and tired and very worried — that’s not a recipe for hope.

现在,我体内的调温器坏了。半夜醒来,我掀开被子躺在那里,思考着陷入困境的国家能否幸免于难,地球能否挺过它正在遭受的动荡。我感觉老了,力不从心还担心这个那个——这些都是不会让人产生希望的。

For the last few years, my husband and I were living in a dog hospice, caring for the ancient dachshund we inherited when my mother died and the ancient hound/retriever/shepherd mix who helped us raise our sons. This summer we had to say goodbye to both of them. I walk through the rooms of our quiet house now with a constant lump in my throat.

在过去的几年,我和丈夫住在一个狗的临终医院里,照顾我母亲去世后留下的那只高龄腊肠犬,以及陪伴我们的儿子们成长的那只猎犬、寻回犬和牧羊犬的串儿。今年夏天,我们不得不向它们俩告别。现在,走在我们安静下来的家中,我总是想哭。

“Maybe we need to travel more,” my husband said.

“也许我们要多出去旅行,”我丈夫说。

“Maybe we need a puppy,” I said.

“也许我们需要一只小狗,”我说。

All that energy, all that untrammeled wiggling, cuddling, licking love — a puppy is the very personification of hope. But when I filled out the adoption application for a local animal-rescue organization, their website kicked it back with a note that read, “Validation errors occurred.” The “error,” it turns out, was my age. Under the field where I had typed “56,” the website had noted (in bright red letters, lest I miss the note), “This number is too large.”

所有的无穷精力,所有无拘无束摇晃着尾巴、依偎、舔来舔去的爱——小狗就是希望的化身。但是,当我向本地一家动物救援机构填写领养申请表时,他们的网站拒绝了我,通知上写着“验证错误”。结果,我发现出现“错误”的年龄。在我写下“56”的下面,网站写着:“这个数字过大。”(用大红字母,以免我看漏。)

This number is indeed too large for some things, but I’m grateful to have reached it. I’ve buried too many friends who were younger than me, and I feel more keenly than ever the bounty of this beautiful, temporary life.

如果是做某些事情,这个年龄确实太大了,但我很感激能够达到这个年龄。我送走了太多比我年轻的朋友,我比以往任何时候都更深切地感受到这美好而短暂的生活对我是多么慷慨。

The pyrotechnics of youth may be gone, but I have learned that there’s no aphrodisiac like long love, like the feeling of knowing and being known, of belonging to a beloved’s body as fully as you belong to your own.

青春的烟火或许已经消失,但我已经知道,没有催情剂的效果会好过长久的爱情,彼此懂得与水乳交融的默契。

And it’s easier now to shrug off failure. It’s easier to shrug off most other things, too: missed opportunities, the unwarranted anger of others, fear of looking like a fool. A person who is not afraid of looking like a fool gets to do a lot more dancing.

到了这个年龄,对于失败你不会再耿耿于怀。对于许多事情,也不会再放在心上了:错过的机会,他人的无名火,害怕丢人现眼等等。一个不怕看起来像傻瓜的人,整个人生都会变得敞亮起来。

Why did I ever worry about whether my party dress was enough like everyone else’s party dress to be appropriate without being too much like everyone else’s party dress to be derivative? When bangs were in fashion, why did I ever cut my own bangs with the sewing shears?

我过去为什么要担心自己的派对礼服既不会标新立异,同时又不会跟大家的一样毫无个性?在刘海流行的时候,我为什么要用裁缝剪给自己剪刘海?

I was never a woman who turned heads, but menopause has made me invisible, and I love being invisible. Why did I ever care if strangers thought I was pretty? Worse, why didn’t I think I was pretty at an age when everyone is pretty? “Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was 26,” wrote Nora Ephron in “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” “If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re 34.”

我从不是一个回头率很高的女人,但是更年期让我变成了隐形人,我喜欢这种别人看不见我的感觉。我为什么要在乎陌生人觉得我漂亮不漂亮?更糟糕的是,我为什么不能在每个人都很漂亮的年纪觉得自己漂亮呢?“哦,我多么后悔26岁那年我没有穿比基尼,”诺拉·埃芙隆(Nora Ephron)在《我替我的脖子感到难过》里写道。“如果有年轻人正在读这篇文章,那就去吧,马上就去,穿上比基尼,在你34岁之前都不要脱掉它。”

I don’t know if it’s menopause or simply aging, but time’s winged chariot has freed me from bikinis, among other things. Life is full of obligations that can’t be shirked, but always there are “obligations” I’m not obliged to do. No, I don’t want to sit on that panel. No, I don’t want to attend that fund-raiser. No, I don’t want to go to that party. The days are running out, faster and faster, and I have learned that every yes I say to something I don’t want to do inevitably means saying no to something that matters to me far more — time with my family, time with my friends, time in the woods, time with a book.

我不知道是因为更年期还是仅仅因为衰老,时间的飞逝让我摆脱了比基尼以及诸如此类的东西。生活中充满了不可推卸的义务,但是总有一些“义务”是我根本没有义务去做的。不,我不想参加那个讨论小组。不,我不想参加那个筹款活动。不,我不想参加那个派对。时光飞逝,日子过得越来越快,我已经知道,每答应一件我不想做的事,都不可避免地意味着我要拒绝其他对我来说更重要的事——与家人和朋友共度的时间,在树林里的时间,看书的时间。

For many women, menopause can be far more brutal, but for me even the insomnia has been a kind of gift, if only because the gorgeous world is most gorgeous in the first light of dawn. The songbirds, their fledglings hungry from a long night of fasting, are most active and most garrulous at sunrise. The doe and her spotted fawn have not yet found a cool place to settle under the trees, and the bullfrogs are still booming out their baritone disputes. The webs the micrathena spiders have spun in the darkness have not yet been torn by falling leaves and wind. The filaments, stirring in the irregular light, are their own little suns.

对于很多女人来说,更年期可能会更加残酷,但对我来说,即使失眠也是一种礼物,就算只是因为世界在黎明的第一缕阳光是最美丽的。啼鸟的幼雏整夜饥肠辘辘,在日出时最为活跃吵闹。母鹿和她的斑点小鹿尚未找到安憩的凉荫,牛蛙仍在用男中音吵闹不休。马克拉塞纳蜘蛛在黑暗中结出的网尚未被风与落叶撕裂。细细的纤维在摇曳的光线下晃动,那是它们的小小太阳。

The night I learned I was too old to adopt a rescue puppy, I woke in the dark and headed to a nearby lake at sunrise. A host of rough-winged swallows were scooping gnats from the air above the water. Three great blue herons and two little green herons all stood still as sentries on the shore. A raccoon hauled itself onto the bank, shedding a shower of water drops that gleamed like diamonds. A pair of fledgling barred owls demanded to be fed while their sharp-eyed parents watched the ground, waiting for some small creature to trundle through the underbrush. Nearby, a chipmunk was crouching motionless under a fallen tree.

当我知道自己已经太老,无法收养被救援的小狗的那天晚上,我在黑暗中醒来,在日出时去了附近的湖泊。一群翅膀宽大的燕子贴着水面飞行,在捕食虫子。三只大蓝鹭和两只小绿鹭如同哨兵一样静静矗立在岸边。一头浣熊爬上岸边,甩出的水滴如钻石般闪闪发光。一对猫头鹰雏鸟急着要吃的,它们目光犀利的父母紧盯地面,等待着有小动物慢慢穿过灌木丛。附近,一只花栗鼠蹲在一株倒下的树旁边。

And when I got home, there was an email waiting for me from the animal rescue organization: It said I am not too old to adopt a puppy at all.

当我回到家时,一封动物救援组织的电子邮件正等待着我:它说我并没有老到不能领养一只小狗。

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