The deep freeze is gradually letting up and I am luxuriating in a slow January thaw that gives me pause. As I sit by the fire, cup of tea in hand, and with a mere glance at last year’s calendar full of obligations that were not of my choosing, I feel its time to make some changes. Just as each age has its tasks, so each year has me living differently from before, especially now when I’ve come to the age of wisdom gathering.
I’ve been pondering what it means to be 70. No question that body, mind, and soul shifts, and with it, a new sense of being. It seems I am finally growing up in a new and resolute way—determined and unwavering to not only become new, but to exercise my right to BE new. Before now I wavered at making new year’s resolutions because I was still unsure if I could carry a pledge or expression of opinion forward. But now, well into my seventh decade, it is time.
Indeed, such a declaration has to do with legacy—no longer being on the fence but declaring my truth without hesitation, knowing it might not be someone else’s truth. I recall my father always complaining about his best friend who would never offer an opinion one way or the other. “Since I never knew where he stood,” my father concluded, “you couldn’t really know him.” I’m not so concerned that the ‘outer world’ know me but I do want to know myself and very much want my children to know me as well.
Although I’ve been hard pressed to even consider how I believe one should or could live out a lifetime, I’ve agree with a statement Meryl Streep made about the juncture she found herself at. “Reconciliation with your life when you’ve come to a point where you’ve lived most of it, seems the only comfortable way to age.”
And so, as I toss another log on the fire, take pen to hand to write down a few resolutions. I chuckle at the card sitting on the coffee table given to me by a friend who knows me all too well.
The inscription reads:
One day she woke up and decided to say NO and the whole world didn’t fall apart.
From that my resolutions became relatively apparent.
Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
(One of Tom Jefferson’s rules…most things I did grudgingly, but no more.)
Step away from the traffic of function.
(Function means performance. I prefer serendipity.)
Say yes to life and no to anything that bores you.
(No more thinking about doing what lights my fire.)
Avoid small talk. It is a painful duty.
(Not enough hours to engage in talk of weather, food, and people you don’t know.)
(Make my house Zen..calm, music, candles, and cleared off tables.)
Reassess my values.
(Are they my values or learned values from outside myself.)
Enjoy ordinary events…let them take center stage.
(Anything to do with children, nature, and humanity.)
Noticing becomes a prime contemplative habit.
(Eye to eye contact with silence mixed in creates peace.)
Character is everything…be who you’ve become.
Well, there you have it. I am now making copies of my resolution and plastering them all over the house…bathroom mirror, computer, side door, car…perhaps by 2019 I will have mastered them or be ready to make a whole new list. In any case, I am taking my task seriously because as an old friend of mine wrote:
“I must learn to care for my life,” she said, nurture, relish and love it for no one else can live it for me. It is our life we want and we don’t
want to waste anymore of it. So we must begin to savor the blessedness of the ordinary. At our age we are free to do what we really
Believe is right and good.”
At our age we are free to do what we really “believe is right and good”.
Go for it!
Happy New Year.
Oh my,…as I read your books, I continue to feel as if it’s me and you were peeking in my window when you wrote your words…my thoughts, my feelings, my joys, my disappointments, my desires for more to my unfinished life…All I know to say to you is a heartfelt Thank You!! I am not by myself, another woman has walked the path before me …I too can figure this out and it’s not too late.
I love your books and your thoughts on being the most real you. I too am at a juncture like you were in your first book and struggling to find me. Your books have helped me so much.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
From the girl with the plaid skirt (isle of Iona) 2006, glad to be back in touch. Do you have an upcoming trip I could be a part of?