My original plan with this blog/project was to follow the Year-Of model – like A.J. Jacobs’  Year of Living Biblically, or Julie Powell’s conquest of Julia Childs’ recipes. With guidance from our resident Youth, in what could be his last year under our roof, I was going to tackle a new challenge each week in pursuit of Coolness.

When we discussed it, G was raring to go; he was going to get my hair updated and hopefully streaked purple; he’d revamp my wardrobe, introduce me to new music, and teach me to skateboard. Budget and brittle bones aside, that sounded like a tall order — but why else would anyone want to read about this pursuit? He and I shook hands on the deal.

Six weeks into my Year, this is the total sum of transformation activity thus far:

– One very wobbly attempt to balance on a skateboard, indoors, on carpet, clutching onto a chair back;

– Introduction to one new band, Fun and their song ” We are Young”;

– New bangs cut this morning, on impulse – but color still unadulterated gray;

– and … a lot of good intentions.

Not exactly chilling, let alone cool! – But what has happened is this: Having undertaken the effort this publicly, whenever a challenging situation arises, I find myself asking, “What would be the cool response?” It’s a bit like teaming up with a buddy to exercise or do a diet. The commitment boosts my courage level just that little bit. As I mentioned, it made me yell out to a friend where I would have stayed politely quiet. It made me don a silver shirt to attend a posh do where others were likely to be dressed with far more class. And a few days ago, it prompted me to respond to a publicist’s offer of a review copy of a book I’d probably not otherwise have investigated: Grandmothers Whisper, by Inette Miller.

The book arrived on Friday and I spent all of Saturday glued to it. It’s about a wildly unlikely and very difficult romance between a Jewish journalist and a half-Hawaiian former construction foreman and hot rod fanatic, and their efforts – guided by the spirit of his foremothers – to revive ancient Hawaiian values. It’s also about listening to the inner wisdom we all have access to if we really listen. Talk about cool! – Iokepa Hanalei Imaikalani is a combination of the guy Elizabeth Gilbert met at the end of Eat Pray Love – and the beer ad dude, a person with total trust in himself. I want them to come speak in Maplewood!

People have been very kind and reassuring about my coolness quotient, but I want suggestions: What can I do to break the bonds of age? – the I’ve-done-without-it-till-now/ been-this-way-this-long/ old-dog excuses not to get on board and into the flow with NOW? – Image