I stumbled upon this labyrinth last week and decided to walk it. Oh, what temptation there was to head straight to the center! But as I took the circuitous route, passing places I’d been but now from a different perspective, I realized how well it parallels life: There is only one way in and one way out. What matters is what you make of it along the way. Lucky me, I’m still making it.
In Australia, where I was born, I turn 70 today. Having spent years putting down roots, I now want to shake them loose. I don’t want things to dust, just people I can trust; the freedom to change my mind on a dime; to travel so lightly that you can blow on me and I’m gone. My body has begun its slow descent. What doesn’t ache (and what doesn’t ache?) accepts its’ stiffness as if it were always this way. I think of myself as much younger for surely this face can’t be mine? It’s not the one I remember.
What I remember, of course, makes stories to tell and I’ve yet to tire telling them. (Just ask my friends). I no longer tolerate idiots but have developed a soft spot for fools. No one can guilt or goad me into doing anything. Obligation, familial or otherwise, has long gone to the dogs. Yet, I’ll do most anything for a friend. Love itself means nothing that it did before. It is high on laughter and low on anything less–for anything less is nothing at all. Connection is everything. Eye to eye, face to face, hand to hand, heart to heart. Everything.
I’ve grown less confident in the future—not because of the environment, politics or the economy but because I have so much less left of it. Today, when I got my pneumonia shot, the pharmacist said, “The best part of this shot is that you won’t have to get another one for 10 more years.” ‘Yikes,’ I thought, ‘By then I’ll be 80!’
There are many things I still want to do. I used to have 70 years ahead of me to do them. Not anymore. Fortunately, my many failures and disappointments have made me tough enough to carry on. And my tears, which happen often (and even writing this), remind me I’m not dead yet! So, picture me going round and round life’s circle with a big smile on my wrinkly face.