One more month

by tamarjacobson

Photo 3

Quote of the day

I think about loneliness and accomplishment and courage … Where does courage come from? I call my aunt in Israel. She is 92. And I ask her, "What is the most important thing?" And she answers, "Self-confidence." 

Maira Kalman from, And the Pursuit of Happiness, in the New York Times today (Thanks, Mira)

Photo 1 

I wonder why we reach back to our past memories so much as we get older. Has looking to the future become frightening to think about? Or is it to remind ourselves of who we were so that we can be sure of who we are now

Me, from Hearts drawn backwards, April 2005.

Today, I am 59 and eleven twelfths. In one month I turn 60. [My old/young friend, Donna, generously and supportively reminded me about that this morning!) These are the things I am beginning to understand about becoming a sixty-year-old-woman:
  • My ankle, hip, back hurt every now and again for no apparent reason. Sometimes I pop a couple of Advil and sometimes I do not. I live with it and it goes away. I don't let it stop me from walking briskly up and down the hills of Chestnut Hill, nor lifting my 8 pound dumb – bells. 
  • Yoga stretches and pranayama exercises feel deep and comforting and spiritual. I sink into them like into a warm bubbly bath and pull their healing into my soul. When I am done, I feel like a lithe, young woman, and I stand as tall as five feet two inches (and shrinking) is able to reach.
  • When I love, it is with all my heart. I love Ada, my life partner, my son – I love the seasons, the sky, trees and flowers, squirrels, nut hatches, cardinals, robins serenading outside my window at 4:30 in the morning when I awake. I love the smells of spring, snow in the winter and the hottest summer days when sweat pours down my face, under my armpits and into my shirt. I sob uncontrollably when a hawk catches a bird from my feeder, when my son plays his music on the piano, or if while driving, suddenly I remember Charlie's eyes the last time we looked across the room at each other, or holding Mar-Mar in my arms as she took her final breath.
  • It is a relief to apologize and forgive. Anger has no excitement for me any longer. There is no time to bear grudges or hate someone these days. Lately, just as I am about to start feeling rage about anything at all, understanding and forgiveness seems to rise up in its place. 
  • Passion feels real, and deeper than when I was young. Pain and compassion for the human condition is sometimes overwhelming in its forcefulness.
  • I enjoy alone time more than I ever have. The other night, when I was away in San Diego at a conference, I wandered alone for half an hour to find a Brazilian restaurant I had heard about.  Sitting in the dim light, alone at my table, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and pleasure, enjoying the food, ambiance, deep red wine, music, and watching people coming and going, celebrating, sharing, eating, breaking bread together. 
  • I adore the Internet – Skype, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, I-Phone, YouTube, connection through the anonymity and yet, oh so, public space of the Cyber/virtual world.
  • I feel the presence of Time in every thing I do, in each waking moment, and, even, threaded through my dreams. Tempus fugit. No more time to waste on regret, shame, guilt or greed. I pull myself back into here and now, and cherish what I can moments after disappointment or anxiety fill my emotional space.    
  • Death often peeks over my shoulder, nudging me gently, even though I am not quite ready to confront it yet. I think that moving into my sixties means Death might move with me slowly from nudging and peeking towards a more prominent presence in the future. 

There is more that I am beginning to understand about turning sixty – one month away today. Definitely more. For, I must admit that entering into my senior years is an exciting prospect, rich with change and deepening of understanding, even as it is accompanied by trepidation about reaching towards all the unknowns that come with aging …

… unknowns, 
because I, personally, 
have never experienced aging before.