Looking back and thinking forward

Month: April, 2014

5 years later (Update)

Quote of the day:

Recently, a colleague at work almost exclaimed to me with surprise: You're going to be 65? Oh my goodness! It does not seem so long ago that we were singing to you, "When I'm 64!"

I can't believe it either! In fact it was only five years ago that I spent my fifty ninth year reflecting and blogging about turning 60. It seemed so amazing to me at the time that I hardly noticed the whole year that I was 59. I have always felt that I never really was 59 – I skipped that year and jumped from 58 to 60 losing – yes – losing a whole year. And it looks like it is happening again. For I am losing – or have I already lost my sixty fourth year? Because all I can think about lately is that in a month's time I will be turning 65. As I experience this fixation on the future, 60 fades away in the distant past as some youthful, frivolous game of life, and the impending number of 65 looms in front of me as something serious that cannot be undone. It's the real deal. I am entering into my senior year and from then on life is going to become more and more physically challenging. I am sure about this, for ever since I turned sixty I have noticed shifts in my strength and energy, and all kinds of new and improved bodily aches and pains I never knew could exist. Indeed, I believe the past five years have been a type of training to prepare me for the transition from becoming older to being old.

It really has nothing to do with the endless advertisements in the mail from health care companies declaring my eligibility for Medicare. It has everything to do with the change in me physically and emotionally. For example I noticed this past week that a couple of times I woke up in the middle of the night only to lie thinking about what it might feel like to die. It wasn't alarming, gloomy or sad. Just a matter of fact sort of wondering about how I might feel. Mostly it has seemed quite peaceful actually. As if this is something natural that I will have to face before long. Part of the process of life's journey. A type of acceptance that this is something I might want to prepare for as an inevitability of the future. 

When I turned 60 I wanted to celebrate. It felt like quite an achievement! And so I took a group of us to Paris for the weekend. It was fun – no doubt about it. This year, on my birthday, I am heading off to hike for six days in Corfu with a group of interesting and dynamic women. It will be a challenge all right. Twelve miles a day for six days. I want to feel the energy of older and younger women around me as I move onto the next leg (no pun intended) of my life journey – into the elderly zone of becoming a senior.

The Greek islands have a special place in my heart since my father was born on Rhodes Island well over a hundred years ago – so, as I turn 65, what better place to travel to feel the sun and smell the sea – the very sea he swam in as a young child?

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Memoir

Update – correction:

I just realized that Corfu is in the Ionian Sea, whereas Rhodes is in the eastern Aegean Sea. Still, I am sure I can't help but think of my father in that part of the world even though I will not be swimming in the very sea he swam as a child!

Doing something else with my life

Quotes of the day:

… And remember, too, you can stay at home, safe in the familiar illusion of certainty. Do not set out without realizing that the way is not without danger. Everything good is costly, and the development of the personality is one of the most costly of all things. It will cost you your innocence, your illusions, you certainty

If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way. Sheldon B. Kopp

My mother held my brother up as the standard for: intelligence, morality, artistic, musical and literary taste, behavior, political and religious belief … everything, really.

I took her very seriously, because I must have valued her opinion, and especially because I so desperately wanted her to acknowledge me.

However, I could not match up to the standard no matter how I tried …

… and I believe I spent most of my life trying.

And, now?

I have decided to give up trying.

And do something else with my life … Like: live without fear, and trust myself.

And, in dramatic ways it is changing the way I feel about me, and my relationships with those closest to me.

I have everything to thank for my therapist, and for my courage not to: stay at home, safe in the familiar illusion of certainty.

Nine years ago at Tamarika: And know that place for the first time