Reading articles and blogs by others, it's interesting to me especially when the thinking relates to old age. We all get there eventually if we are lucky. What will we make of those elder years? What is possible to make of them? Are they different than earlier years or does it all flow along with only physical changes as the true differences?
We are all different for how we age, how we have lived. I can only answer those questions for myself, but I've been thinking about it for assorted reasons.
Some people get to old age and have regrets. They wonder what if I had taken this road or that. How would their life be different? I think about it but more from -- wow, supposing I hadn't been able to have children? Supposing we hadn't gotten the farm when we did? Supposing I had spent my life wishing for things I never got? How would that change my today?
Well I did get what mattered most to me, but I admit my goals weren't huge ones. I have not gotten everything that I thought I'd want, but I've come darned close. I didn't dream of being a prima ballerina or a famous artist. I didn't dream of wealth. What I wanted came under the realm of what many want except maybe the farm where not all wish for living a rural life and raising livestock.
The farm is a huge aspect of my life today; and although it has its problems and limitations, I can only think what a disappointment it would have been had I never lived this life as I wanted it so much.
And it wasn't a short term want. I grew up on a farm and I could only think how much I wanted back to that life. I got it. It's not the farm I might've imagined wanting, but it's so darned close that the differences don't count. I have lived and am living the dream I always had.
Where I may not be able to convince others that they should buy my books or that they have the quality I think they have, I can write and nobody can stop me. The dreams we have that depend on others are the most iffy for bringing us joy.
I am one of those people who has known throughout my life how wonderful certain moments are. I've savored them and lived them fully at the moment I had them. I then have no regrets about what I didn't get or what didn't last longer.
When my children were small, our daughter three and our son six months, I remember thinking-- this is as good as it will ever be. I am at the height of joy. I am strong as a woman, in my own prime at the age of 26 or thereabouts. I remember especially one moment when I was at Mass. I sat in the pew, my two children on each side of me, husband just beyond. I knew my strength was as strong as it likely ever would be. Although I knew my children would grow and that was what made the current years so precious, they were mine at that age in a way I also sensed they would never be again as the world would reach out for them. It was a time of pure joy. And knowing I had that moment then makes this moment joy also because I lived it totally with no regrets then either, no wishing it ahead or behind.
Living in the moment is a joy but so is knowing that some specific moments are special. I have had so many of those in my lifetime. I won't go into them all, but the important part was that I recognized them when I had them and can relive them on the rare occasions when i think back. I feel joy at knowing i didn't miss what was possible.
That is how I am living old age. Aware in the moment of what I have and savoring it. My body is not the strongest it will ever be but it's still strong enough to do most of what I want it to do. It's not the most beautiful it has been. There's no doubt I do sometimes look in the mirror and go-- oh my gosh; but I believe letting go of the need for beauty of the more sensual sort is part of living happily with old age. Surgery is a way around acceptance, but it doesn't fool the body for its real age. While I would like to lose weight I am not letting that wish ruin what is.
The writing I have been doing is work but also a joy even though marketing is not. To be writing original stories gives me such pleasure, but I remember when doing sculpture did also and painting a painting that came out as i wanted it to come. Creating and the joy it brings doesn't mean others appreciate what I do. If I had to receive that from others, I'd find this a less pleasurable part of my life. If I instead concentrate on doing the best I can and letting that be my joy, then what someone else thinks about it can't hurt me. It can teach me.
Putting my books out proved to be a joy to me also. For the first time what I wrote was available for others to read. They could choose not to, but I had taken the risk of putting it out. And it does take some being willing to do that to put any creative work out and into the market where it can be rejected. Again, it's creating that is the joy; we can't determine how others will perceive it. If we let that be a factor, we will be depressed or joyful but always dependent on someone else, not ourselves.
Right now for this stage of my life a lot of my creativity is about writing and creating characters and plots. But the beauty of this moment also is-- something else might yet lie ahead. I don't have the feeling of some oldsters that the best years are behind me. The best years are always right where I am-- not denying its reality and sometimes limitations but fully living them.
Later this year, I will have my 70th birthday. I believe one thing is true of life. There have been wonderful moments. There have been those I just had to get through. In the end though, the one I am currently living is the best because it's the only real moment. That will be true until the end of my days. That doesn't mean, when they come to my mind, that I cannot savor those past times that were the best then. They are part of this one.
At the beginning of this week, I turned off word verification and am just using moderation. I hate the word thing as they are so hard to read, but I may have to go back to it. I don't mind moderating but what I dislike is having my email swamped by spam and right away they were back. grrrrrr I guess they must be computer activated as it's the only explanation i have for how they are so quickly back. I loved the month without seeing all the spam in my email but I'll see how my patience holds up for how long before word verification returns...