The Third Third

Sixty-six years I’ve been hugging this spinning blue planet.

Sixty-six years I’ve been tasting, touching, feeling, seeing, hearing …

Evaluating, discerning, analyzing, creating, expressing …


I stand now on the edge of a shortened plateau – the precipice of last third of my life. The likelihood of my reaching ninety-nine is not supported by my gene-pool heritage. Both parents gone in their late 80s. Grandparents longer and shorter life spans. Heart disease and stroke the primary death factors. I am in better physical shape than my predecessors, but that in itself is no promise.


I have silver hair. Soft belly skin from birthing two sons. Hands that piss me off with their decreasing strength. Lines mark my face like an emotional map. In the mirror I no longer see my mother’s face, but that of my grandmother.


But inside? Inside – I’m somewhere around twelve years old.


A woman – I guessed to be in her 40s – turned to me during a recent yoga retreat and said, “I want to be you when I grow up.” I believe I looked at her blankly. I had no reply, but a voice inside of me said, “Really? Did I grow up? Did I miss the memo?”


It’s funny that I don’t see myself as old – except when reminded of my age by others.


But suddenly, from this shifted vantage point, I actually can see death – can feel her closeness –her inevitability – in a way that was unfathomable to me in my earlier years. She whispers that time is precious … that there is none to waste. She yells, ‘take big gulps!’ She says, ‘stop being afraid. There is no one left to please or impress.’


So I paddle out into big waves. I create art. I write stories and books. I drink champagne and I sweat in down-dog. I celebrate time with my friends and family. I look ever more forward and cherish each breath. I celebrate the words, “I can.”


This last third. This third third. The one that runs out of time …






  1. Thank you for your writing, your art and your wide awake life. Would love to see you when again in Laguna.

  2. Turning 66 this year myself and being a long-time surfer, I was immediately drawn to this post. It puts a lot of my thoughts into words. Thank you.

  3. Wow you are younger than me, in your head. I am only 30 in my brain, but my hands look and feel 55. Thank you for putting into words my own feelings. Surfing is the one place my bones don’t ache. I feel the older I get the more I am passionate about things. Living is more intense these days. See you in the water.

  4. Catharine, this post resonates with me beyond description. And your post about Austin’s homelessness too. Your writing is honest, unaffected and real. And for those reasons, I’m joyously subscribing to this blog. Thank you!!!!!!!

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