Posted tagged ‘Aging’

Transplant Shock

July 26, 2019

I’ve kind of been stunned into silence lately, getting ready to leave my cozy life in Walla Walla, moving back to my island home, and then trying to settle in. It’s taken me three entire weeks to relax enough to reflect.

I’ve been going in all directions, every which way. After four years away from my island life I’ve gotten a bit lost and even taken the wrong roads a couple of times, and had to re-invent every tiniest part of a daily routine. This house has stairs; my knee wishes it didn’t. It’s amazing how much energy it takes just figuring out when to go up, when to go down. It’s all been surprisingly exhausting, uprooting myself, making me feel that I must indeed be getting older.

I have been trying to work on one thing at a time, but keep getting distracted by the sheer number of things that need to be done. I’m going very easy on myself, not doing more than I want to in any given day, even though that prolongs the chaos.

The many hundreds of bumblebees in my garden are so focused and industrious that it makes me feel more productive just to watch them. I call it seeking inspiration, so as not to call it taking a break.

These blue and pink hydrangea blossoms are blooming on the same plant, defying what I think I know about soil chemistry. They remind me of myself, pining for my old home, kitties, and friends, but also slipping back into my old ways with surprising gusto, the two states existing simultaneously,

the old and the new colliding in the present. Who will emerge victorious? Because this is a contest, my happiness project. I’m giving myself a year to see whether I can find more happiness here than there, and it’s a pretty high bar.

I’ve left my old life behind, kind of. I’ve made sure that my home and cats and garden in Walla Walla will be perfectly preserved a year from now, should I choose to go back.

But like these blueberries that I planted before I left the island, the fruit of a possible new life is still a long way from being ripe.

The sun is shining now, but there was a long run of misty and coolish days, perfect for contemplation. Every night I have dinner right here, and ask myself what I really want. I’m giving myself a year to find out, engaged in a happiness project.

Because like it or not, I am inexorably aging, and while there’s no use wallowing or despairing, there’s no use denying it either. If I am lucky I now have the last quarter of my life left to live, and my goal is to make the absolute most of it. Where’s the best place to do that? I’m letting time tell me.

Zero To Sixty

August 17, 2010

photo credit Kathy Patton

It happens in the blink of an eye.  Well, maybe two or three blinks, but if you’re lucky, it happens: you get to turn 60.  It happened to me this week, and with a lot of help from my loved ones, it’s been one of the nicest weeks of my life.  I won’t pretend that it didn’t have its rough spots, a few stolen moments of looking at myself in the mirror and thinking “Really? 60?” but they passed remarkably easily and here I am, still in one piece and ready for anything.

Our beloved friends Kathy and John came to stay for the week, and our sons were with us, which gave us a great excuse to take little trips to beautiful places and to have several parties, so I was surrounded by friends and family and love and presents and birthday greetings from all over the world all week long, taking the sting out of the ever-increasing distance between my birthdate and the present moment.

When we’re young we can’t wait to be older, and then, the balance shifts, and we begin to resist the passage of time.  We start to realize that getting older cuts both ways.  It means that you have to be 60.  It means that you get to be 60.  Have to be….get to be…. I see-saw, yo-yo between the perspectives. What’s in a number, Shakespeare might have asked, but didn’t.  Is any age as sweet as any other, like his rose?  Is every year the sweetest year?

From year to year I feel myself ripening, but I’m still a long way from drying up or decaying. Do I rue the loss of my younger self?  Yes, sometimes.  Do I appreciate my ever-developing maturity and wisdom? Occasionally.  Am I just plain glad to still be alive and well on this wonderful planet?  Every day.

So here’s to getting older.  Because the alternative, not getting older, is too terrible to contemplate, especially at a young age, like 60.