Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
Recently, I wrote a blog out of my dismay. My body had been presenting me with difficulties people attributed to age. I don’t recognize age. Born in the fall, I’ve always been too young or too old for what was happening, so I stopped paying attention to the numbers. In fact, I accidentally told people I was 35 for two years in a row. For me, there are consequences for thinking into the future all the time. You lose touch with the present. Having what some call “a young face” complicated matters further. I was carded into my thirties. Who can blame me, then, for not recognizing old age when it slammed into me.
My younger me ate ego for breakfast. When people told me I was smart and capable, I gobbled up their praise. “You can do anything,” I told myself with pride as I married into a pre-made family with complex issues. My mom told me there’s nothing you can’t fix with love. She was exaggerating. That experience has been my greatest reality check and joy. No, I couldn’t fix EVERYTHING, but I could make it better. At 65, I walked away from my professional identity because it came with too many moral compromises. My friend, who insisted on staying on the job longer for the benefits, sickened and died. My accolades were an illusion that faded away.
I skated through the end of my sixties, still independent and enjoying myself and my family, learning new skills, and writing novels. The age of 70 seems to have been an invisible dividing line. Suddenly, I had physical problems I couldn’t mend on my own. My ego went into shock. My medical issues were relatively minor—but they left a trail. At last I’m the one who sometimes needs help. There’s something important about that change. Age makes me realize life was never about achievement. It was always about love for and from others and myself. The wisdom people talk about comes from a fresh perspective that can arrive with bi-focals and cataract surgery. It begins with humility.
After my poor-me self-publishing-is-scary blog, true friends appeared—most from long distances in time and/or space. They reached out, offering not pity but support. For some, their words were strong enough to stand in their place. Others took time to provide whatever editing suggestions they had. I’m deeply grateful to them one and all—plus those who sent good thoughts. They cheered me on so that I’m back on my intellectual/emotional feet now, ready to approach formatting and other challenges, but I get it. Unconditional love doesn’t expire and it isn’t contingent on proximity. It flows freely from good hearts. May I, too, be ready to share.