A la Bilbo Baggins, I so wanted to use “ELEVENTY-ONE” as today’s post title. But a desire for accuracy won the day. And so, a reflection today on my sixty-first birthday.
Here I sit. Sixty-one years old. There is a storm around me, one that’s raged for over fifty years. I’m feeling as unmoored and estranged as I ever have. And why does Spellcheck say “unmoored” is not a word???
A friend said recently, “The most dangerous people in the world are people who don’t know what they don’t know.” Sadly, very true.
All I can do is look back, to see how far I’ve come.
I can look ahead, to see how far I can go.
And I can look at the end, to see what is of value there. (Thank you, Quinn McDonald, for these words of wisdom!)
When I look back, my gratitude list is long. In fact, after the Year of Endangered Children and Near-Death Experiences, I’m truly grateful for what I learned. What I found. And mostly for what I DIDN’T lose….
I see that sitting with discomfort can open many doors. And close some, too–maybe ones that needed to be closed. Or that were never open in the first place.
When I look ahead, I see that being able…and willing…to make a major change in life, with a willing partner at my side, will be an amazing adventure. I’m pathetically scared. But at least I know my fear is pathetic. It will be daunting, and exhausting. But also exhilarating and exciting.
When I look at the end, it puts it all in perspective.
My greatest joy? Every day, I’m learning more about life.
My greatest fear? The day I finally figure it all out, I’ll be 73 and drop dead before I can really put all my wisdom to work.
The reality? We’re all hear trying to do the best we can. Trying to figure it all out. Some of us are open to learning. Some of us aren’t. Their journey is not my journey. And that’s okay.
My goal this year? To kick the “good girl”–the one who feels she has to make nice, to be “good”, whatever that means–to the curb. And let out the “bad girl”–the bitch who speaks her mind and asks for what she wants–a little more often.
What am I doing for my birthday today?
Maybe I’ll clean my studio so George can fix my lights.
Maybe I’ll do a little more reading on issues of social injustice. I’m embarrassed at how much I don’t know. But grateful I’m willing to KNOW how much I don’t know.
Maybe I’ll go to t’ai chi tonight with Jon.
Maybe take the afternoon off and read a book for HOURS. And fall asleep on the couch with the cat and a dog or two.
Maybe I’ll sit and think. Or just sit.
Maybe I’ll go out and watch the clouds for awhile.
I’ll try not to worry about how I’ll ever pack up and move my neutron-star-dense studio across the country. And whether I’ll ever find a good-enough space to set it up again.
I’ll try not to worry about earthquakes.
I’ll try not to worry about giant millipedes.
Hmmmmm….. Maybe it’s time to go out and look at some clouds.