It’s funny how the sheer passage of time changes your outlook. 40 years ago I was driven, ambitious and had the energy to scale miles of New York City sidewalks in high heels, no less. Now, a good cup of coffee in my recliner with the dog in my lap as I read the morning news is bliss itself.
The dichotomy of those two pictures makes me shake my head. It’s not that I wonder, ‘When did I get so old?’ What amazes me is that I was perfectly content then and just as content now. It is as if my mind has reorganized itself to embrace this slowed-down, creakier version of my younger self. Now other than the fact that I have many less years ahead of me than behind me, I am pretty much okay being exactly where I am. Of course some days I am not exactly certain ‘where’ that is, but wherever it is, I am there. And so are you.
There was a time where the thought of leaving this earth horrified me. My stomach sank and the longer I thought about it the more distraught I became. ‘Where will I go when I’m gone?’ I used to ask my grandmother. ‘How will I be able to hug you if I’m not here!?’ Lately, I find myself warming up to the idea. After all, there is only so much one can do with a life, and only so much time in which to do it.
A man next to me in the pool today told me he took early retirement in his 50’s. “I’m 82 now,” he said with resignation. “At the time, my wife and I thought we would travel but we never really did. I had a lot of plans when I was younger but somehow, the older I got the less important they seemed. Now, I’m just happy to wake up in the morning.”
Clearly, he’s a few ‘acceptance stages’ ahead of me. But I take comfort in his point of view. I have now decided that we are wired to, ‘Be Here Now.’ That said, I wish you all a warm, contented morning. May you be so blessed as I to have a dog curled up in your lap and a hot cup of coffee to get you going!!
Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes.”