Yesterday I turned 54, a number that I find somehow surprising. Physically, I feel no different from when I was younger. In fact, in many ways I am stronger and healthier than I was then. I’m still limber enough to surprise an unsuspecting massage therapist who decides to stretch my legs. It wasn’t always so. At age 26, when I first took up yoga, I couldn’t touch my toes, so I’ve gotten better with age.
Mentally, I feel smarter and wiser, though part of being smarter and wiser is knowing that you’re not so smart or wise. I still take delight in learning new things. This year, my education centered in the home as I learned the arts of canning food and spinning wool.
We took a big step several months ago and moved from Houston, where I had lived for 30 years. I never thought I would stay there for the rest of my life, but this year, I finally knew where I wanted to go. It’s been a good decision, and I’m excited about where I live now.
If there is a looming discontent, it’s about the increased urgency to leave a legacy. I’ve putzed around with my writing this year, and I’m ready once again to get serious. I don’t want to beat myself up about it; after all, moving cross-country, from a red state to a blue one (sigh of relief), from a major city to a small town, takes some getting used to. Even though I didn’t write as much as I wanted, I felt as though I was gathering new material that would turn up in my stories. Now, though, I want to roll up my sleeves and git ‘er done. I have several books in process and a Google doc file full of ideas, so I need to get on with it. With my health, I can probably expect many productive years left, but we never know at this point. I’ve said goodbye to friends who didn’t make it this far, so I don’t take my life for granted.
I just started reading Neil Young’s book, Waging Heavy Peace. Though I’m not too far into it, what I find most interesting is that he’s looking forward, engaged in new projects that excite him. In fact, he covers quite a bit of ground before he gets into the “memoir” part of it because he’s so involved in what he’s doing now. I love his restless, chaotic, inventive spirit. As I begin another year in the unstoppable march of time, I hope that I can follow his example.
Happy birthday! I hope you have many more years to celebrate birthdays!
I can relate to feeling the push of time. I will be 50 in less than six months, and there are things that I am concerned about accomplishing–publishing a book, for one. I’m feeling the push of time, yet I want to savor the time I have, because like you, I know things can happen.
This is such an interesting time of life! Hopefully, together, we can support one another through the journey that remains and realize our dreams. I would love to see you publish a book — you have so much to share!
Happy birthday. Keep on keeping flexible, physically and mentally!