Something happens when you go through the passageway to the next twenty or thirty years punctuated by being 50 or better.
Yes- hot flashes which might be nature’s way of reminding me to stay humble, and a compulsion to be at the gym fighting the potential of the winter of my incontinence, which I hope never comes but then so did everyone who currently buys ever sleeker adult diapers, and a creeping anxiety that I’m not doing enough since the clock is actually ticking loud enough for me to hear.
Dying is no longer theoretical but actual. My dad is dead, my mom has dementia and my friends are aging, just like me.
What is life about now-now that I have the time and need to understand the question?
It’s staggering that at this ripe old age,as they say in golf, I’m still away from the goal. So far away. The hard headiness persists, the lack of ease in my skin and the persistent concept that I am a fraud-are all still there waking me in the night.
I spoke to a young woman brimming with intellect and hope outside the local food coop as her many friends came up to give her hugs. Her blue eyes shining, she said, “I am trying to figure out who I am and what is expected of me. I’m trying to see if my culture and community can meet me there.”
But can those questions be answered, really? I hope so. I have not yet answered those questions myself. That is not say it can’t be done. I believe in her abilities.
Perhaps it’s not about being met there, if you ever arrive, but making the long walk. Just keep walking. Keep trying.
I wish I had more wisdom than the fortune cookie type but it seems all the striving, climbing, buying and selling, educating and being educated has come down to this: life is in the work of it, not the achievement of it.
Maybe the basic questions philosophy tries to answer, can I be happy? What is happiness? are still the ones worth asking. Despite the millions made selling answers, I don’t think a single answer exists beyond the moment. Sit, stare, feel, breathe and repeat. What shows up? Look at it and do it again.
I will be reinventing hike day this summer. Sitting with the bugs seems to be among my answers. That and the love which grows from that. Volumes have been written about this method. For me, they are all true.
Love is also important. I’m not sure about the romantic kind but the sort which makes me stop and see the beauty around me-the kind which makes me drive through a howling storm to deliver a meal to a sick friend. That thing that arises in that moment feels like happiness of purpose.
I have no fully formed answers and I’m starting to think they may not exist accept with every step taken and every aspiration whispered–“Before I die…….”