Sunday, February 19, 2012

When I'm 64...

At 63, I feel as though I'm entering my final adolescence. What began at 3 and continued through my life at different periods, the process of entering a whole new mental and physical stage is happening again. The odd part now is, that while I used to interpret stage as being an actual external platform where I tried on different roles, now that stage is an internal one where I try different ways of writing. The gift of age for me is a more defined focus, one that mingles memory and present experience in a rich blend of time that seems more malleable than ever.

Sometimes that frightens me. I thought last night of the time I lived with a disembodied spirit in Thailand. One night it seemed to be calling and I thought it wanted me. The man who was with me when this was going on didn't hear that summons. Now he is dead, and I wonder who was wanted that night--or even worse if time had folded in on itself, as I now believe it can. Was it his spirit coming through the spiral of what we think of as linear, trying to tell both of us to hold each other tightly while we still could?

Will these thoughts become less frightening and more comprehensible as I age? Will I be able to write about them without fear as I now can write about things that used to hold stark terror but are all part of the spiral shaped story that I set into words, hoping someone may want to read them? These are the kinds of questions that make me curious about growing old.

I know of people who think of aging as an adventure. So far I think they're wrong. The process isn't, any more than the physical changes of puberty were. Aching muscles are as tedious as acne or menstrual cramps. What's an adventure is life itself--the discoveries, the experiences, the story.

The other day I was caught in a hellish rain shower and a man on a street corner sold me a hotel umbrella for 4 dollars. As I paid him from a roll of laundry quarters, he decided "You're a really nice lady. I'm going to give you something," and from a plastic supermarket bag, he pulled an opened package of large pink-frosted cookies. "Have a cookie--take two," he said.

I didn't because I don't particularly like cookies, but I'm grateful when presented with something that comes with a choice. We don't always get that and sometimes what's offered isn't so palatable. But if we're lucky, there's a good story attached, either visible within the present or folded and wrapped in a spiral of time.

3 comments:

AHBoyce said...

People used to talk about the "Golden Years" - do they still? Those "Golden Years" are now - not in our late 70's and 80's. All the cliches come together like some cosmic whirlwind smacking me about the head and YELL-Do it now. Don't wait until someone is bitching at you because you are trying to carry too much or do too much or walk too fast or walk too far or .... and take the cookies. I went to the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics a couple of years ago and bought a bag of dried fish ends. As I walked through the tables, I began to offer the Eskimo and Indians a piece - only one refused. It was a great feeling and I learned that accepting the gifts offered ARE the gift to the one giving. So, take the cookies - you can always tuck it away until "after lunch". xoxoxo

janet brown said...

Yeah...but god only knows where those particular cookies had been...

AHBoyce said...

I know .. that's why I am laughing.