Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Recently, Dick posted about the changes aging brings. He began with a quote by Doris Lessing who said one of the great secrets of the elderly is that though their bodies have changed, what is essentially "them" has not. That made me think about all that's changed about me since I was small, and all that hasn't.
...a hermit by nature, content with my own company, happily needing hours of alone time.
...moved by music (except for the discordant or screechy stuff), poetry (especially if Collins or Oliver, Roethke or Sutphen, Frost or Rumi or Basho has written it), and works of art that capture some part of the natural world.
...in love with wind and rain, puddles and rainbows, dawn light and evening shadows, grassy meadows and deep forests. And I'm still happier out of doors than in, though my little cottage is delightfully cozy.
...carrying on a love affair with food, as well, though now I am careful that my diet includes less sugar and other refined foods.
...writing every day, though I no longer publish weekly in the newspaper. I self-published a book in 1999 and did contribute nearly half the articles for a coffee table book about libraries that was published in 2007.
...delighted by children (especially my own, even though all four of them are well into adulthood), animals, snowstorms, travel. My greatest happinesses still come from family, from old friends and new, from moments when I know I am an integral part of something much larger than myself.
I'M NO LONGER
...so nervous about trying new things, or at least I can talk myself around my anxiety with greater success. Having learned to drive in a one-horse town, I was afraid to drive in traffic and terrified of getting lost. But in the last forty years or so, I've driven any number of cars (both automatic and stick shift), a fifteen passenger van, a farm tractor, a pickup, a dump truck, and a golf cart, and understood that rather than being lost, I was simply taking the long way home. I've traveled overseas to a country whose language I did not understand, and applied for at least two jobs where I bluffed about my experience, then ended up teaching the the very skills I'd needed.
...thin and sleek and svelte. I'm more rounded in body as well as in expertise but I'm working at reversing the pudding-bag-tied-in-the-middle look.
...impatient. Being a mother, a teacher, and a writer has taught me patience and the rewards of taking my time, reworking problems, and slowing down in order to enjoy whatever process I'm going through.
...a moody teenager, a frustrated young adult, or an anxious single mother. I've learned to pay attention to what's around me, to my feelings, to my thoughts. I have become aware of being the creator of my own life, believing there is no greater privilege or freedom.
...in doubt about my present abilities or so defensive about what I haven't mastered yet. Each day is both challenging and delightful, the two so often intertwined that I can't experience one without the other. It's a joy to wake up in the morning, and a blessing to sleep at night (and sometimes a genuine pain to be in the middle).