Nearing the end of my fifties makes me almost sixty. At least I’m more sixty than I am fifty, and that’s okay. What on earth anybody can do about it anyway is beside the point. It’s life, birth, growing up and death, wrapped into the shortest time span fathomable, once you get past fifty. It really is all relative, because in many ways, the life which is truly mine has only begun. Call me a late bloomer, but I suspect we all flower a bit later than we’d hoped. Most of us know more at eighteen than we ever will again. Life is a process of deconstruction, if we get it right. What we believe we know usually precedes actual knowledge garnered only through experience with adversity. And then once learned, there’s a backlog of ruminating as we cycle deeper into meaning.
Surviving childhood was a mixed bag – I learned a great deal but only in retrospect after bumbling through a good couple of decades, once I got out on my own. In the mix I raised two daughters while wiping mud from my eyes with regards to my choices in companions – for which I assume full accountability. When love is blind it’s only cataracts, and they can, with some discomfort, be removed. Learning to love in the face of another revealing what has been hidden, perhaps even from themselves, enlarges our capacity for unconditional acceptance of our own less savory qualities. If we let it.
While many my age long to recapture their youth, you could count my resistance to that idea by the grey hairs on my head. I’ll take wisdom over foolishness any day. And lord knows, I needed to slow down. Thus that golden road opens up before me, and I set foot on it like Dorothy skipping toward Oz. Many women I know have not been able to break the parental mold and end up raising a flock of lucky grandkids. Not me, though I’d welcome a healthy relationship with any future progeny that might come along. In the meantime, I’m too busy checking off potential regrets from a very short list. I want to face myself starkly and honestly, to die with a clear conscience, a life fully lived, an unguarded heart and a mind at peace with the choices I’ve made. I want my eyes open and my senses piqued – to take in everything this world lays at my feet – before the jig’s up and the next journey begins.