And here's why - day after tomorrow I turn 59 years old. I've been thinking about that lately.
It's always around my birthday, rather than at the new year, that I take stock of my life, . Lately I've wondered how any of us can really know what impact we've had in and on the world, what difference it has made that we have lived. Looking down the tube and seeing 59 (I mean, really, can't we just skip years like that and move on to the next decade?) getting bigger in the window does make me think - so what have I done with the years and the talents and skills.
I don't mean to sound morbid (though tomorrow I AM playing a depressed patient at the med school), but guess I've reached the age when such considerations do arise. Maybe more though I'm considering "what next?" You reach your fifties (which, yeah, I almost didn't live through) and I suppose it's logical to wonder what might lie ahead.
There's a lot I still hope to experience. Falling in love again, and this time with someone who also wants to be in love with me, is on the list. Traveling to one or more of the places I long to see (Alaska, Australia, and the list goes on) is there too, as is publishing in a really good literary journal. But I'm not talking so much about those discrete things - though love is truly more than that - more about what sort of old person I might be.
I want to be a Crone, a Wise Woman, an Elder - a woman who has that inner quality of sensual wisdom and that beauty of countenance arising from a life fully lived. And as I consider the possibility of that I wonder if I really HAVE lived in such a way as to really have a chance at Crone-dom. Not that I could undo or re-do any of it - or would if I could. But at this point in my life I gotta consider just what the past (my past) might be prelude To.
Yes, I get caught up in looking at times I've fucked up, made wrong choices, and taken dead-end paths as mistakes rather than learning ops. I tend to lose sight of the "teachable moment" nature of each of those times - to forget that it is NOT when things are going well and we're walking in tall cotton that we gain wisdom. Wisdom is gained when times are tough, when things fall apart. I forget that it's when we look around, realize that the path we're on doesn't go where we thought or where we wanted, and say "oh well, let's see where it goes" that we discover something that may change us forever.