This is the day that I have moved away from this place I have come to love most dearly. My time has come to return to native soil…literally, I don’t plan to have shoes on my feet for half the year (becoming one with the dust can be done consciously). There is someone else coming to take my place…someone younger and with a little family. I will make the most agreeable terms with a deserving couple. What I need will be restored to me and I look forward to a long and peaceful old age. Bless you all. I hope to talk to you in a new incarnation (unless that one is mute, which would be a huge joke). I am with you always.
Getting old isn’t hard; being old is. I figure that due to my cancer and it’s treatment at the time that it was treated, I am biologically ten years older than my contemporaries. My life experiences, too, have rendered me older than my physical years. For a person who is used to being biologically younger than her years, it’s rather astonishing. Body pains and shortness of breath can be overlooked, but the shortness of the days and the sense of things left undone is unsettling. It’s like that dream you have where you are rushing and you start slowing down like your feet are stuck in tar. Everything seems to be going in ‘speed up’ mode, and I’m in slow motion. It demands a shift in perception.
It would be so much easier to live in perpetual youth; but I wouldn’t prefer to go back there. There is a certain amount of sorrow that goes with grieving one’s youth. My own grief is tied up with my sorrow and anger concerning my father’s passing. It was not the passing for which I would have wished. My shortcomings as a daughter came into clear relief and I have grieved them. Grief is the process of forgiving yourself for feeling bad.
Grief is actually a good process for dealing with old age as well. Each ache and pain, each early awakening, each ‘I don’t think I can go a step further’, needs to be forgiven until the next time. Besides which, hey, I’m old.
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.
ROBERT BROWNING HAMILTON
An awakening or rebirth is at the base of the experience of each and every godstruck, enlightened, individual who ever lived.
It is as if the universe had been opened and one sees things for the first time and from an objective perspective.
It all begins to make sense.
There is no longer room for worry or anxiety.
Faith and joy replace doubt and sorrow.
Those things that seemed so important as to burden one, dissolve away like morning dew.
The miracle in this experience is that it is available to all.
We merely need to seek to find; knock and have the door opened.
In today’s world, our livelihood belongs to Caesar. Money, gelt, filthy lucre, whatever you want to call it, is controlled, streamed, analyzed and directed by the corridors of power. What those in power demand of us by way of recompense for their activities by way of infrastructure and public (read worldly) works, is theirs. In a democracy, they are also entitled to our responsible voting and monitoring of their activities.
Our lives, on the other hand, belong to no worldly power. We are created free creatures of the universal domain. We are free to show compassion, charity, caring and love to our fellow man, free of the constraints of any worldly power. We only run into trouble with our inner selves when we try to bend our lives to fit the demands of our livelihoods; when the trappings of worldly power outweigh the demands of our conscience and our consciousness.
Render unto Caesar the tax which is demanded without bitterness and, in the case of free democracies, a certain amount of gratitude; but save your lives for the service of a greater good, that internal power which makes life sweet and purposeful. Look at your fellow human, not as someone from whom you can manipulate or control, but as someone in whom you can identify as a fellow traveller; who, like you, enjoys sharing the bread and wine at the end of a long day of human travail.
You are free to express all that you feel good in yourself and to receive all that is good from a life that is free from the constraints of worldliness. You have no-one to impress, no-one to fear and you belong to no-one of this world.
No-one can take your [human] dignity, unless you give it to them. Mahatma Ghandi
For now, I am retiring from the page to return to the ‘womanly’ arts of needlework and dressmaking which have long been a passion of mine, and indeed many members of my extended family.
I received a quilt this week that was completed by my mother, but assembled from tiny pieces of leftover fabric into a design that busily engages the eye and causes wonder at the ability of a woman and her three daughters, firstly to be able to work in harmony on such a complex project and secondly to have executed the piece with not only technical expertise but an eye to colour and pattern. It was produced at the height of the Great Depression.
Not everyone can produce a Bayoux Tapestry, but many of us still try.
My voice is not in words but in image and texture. The needle is my brush and the fabric my canvas at the moment as I try to reproduce an ancient and universal robe worn by women in the old Towns of Bethany and Bethlehem. After that, I have an adorable two year old granddaughter to dress up. She doesn’t know it yet, but we are having a dollhouse built “My House in Umbria” that we can spent many hours in decorating and furnishing.
This ends, for me, a five year voyage into expressing myself in the written word. It has been exciting and pleasurable. The fact that people actually read and appreciated what I have written is immensely gratifying. To those who come here in the future, I hope you can garnish something that is of value in your life and increases your self-understanding. Namaste.
Nineteen years ago today I gave birthday to a beautiful and perfect little baby. As she left the delivery room, the nurse looked into your face and exclaimed “What beautiful eyes.” What we didn’t know at the time was that the sparkles in your eyes were Brushfield spots and an indicator of Down Syndrome.
You have grown into a sweet, funny and good young man and your hold on my heart is indissoluble. You have taught me more than any teacher, you have influenced me more than any philosopher and you have given me more pleasure in knowing than could any celebrity. This is your day, my sweet boy. To me, every day is your day and I look forward to making the rest of your life as wonderful as you have made mine.
The last stage of one’s life is that in which we sift through the events of our lives and try to tell ourselves a coherent story of our lives in order to extract meaning.
All my reading life I have preferred mystery stories, starting with Nancy Drew all the way through Perry Mason up to and including Law and Order. Mystery is differs from Suspense (which makes me extremely anxious) but contains the element of suspense ameliorated by the existence of clues. As long as there are clues there is the option of anticipating the end of the story through your own mental efforts and understanding. The more clues we can pick up on, the less suspenseful the mystery. Even if you get it wrong in the end, you can recall the clues that you missed first time through and feel that the mystery is satisfactorily solved.
So it is in advancing age: we go back through our story to find clues about the final outcome. And like a good mystery story, we find out at the end what has been staring us in the face all along. Life is the process, not the outcome.
1. Always be sure that what you’re telling yourself is the truth.
2. Allow spa days.
3. Acknowledge what you do and how great that is.
5. Laugh at your own jokes.
6. Cut yourself some slack, believe me, all your other friends do this for you.
7. Try out new things with you.
8. Have fun.