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 …