I once said to a fifty-year-old friend of mine, "if you don't have it somewhat together at this age (meaning mine), when do you think you're getting it together?" That stuck with her and each time we meet up, she refers back to it as something of a goal to achieve every fifteen years. This does not in any way cancel out the work that we must continually do on ourselves, or the inventory we must take on ourselves or the goals we still have to achieve. That said, for me it has become a starting point -- and what a great one it has been: From throwing myself a birthday dance party with a DJ playing the loudest music my neighbors could take (while lots of young people danced to Lil Wayne, us oldies did the frug, and a multiplicity of friends and layers of connections gathered together in celebration), to really settling down with the intention to write or journal. Whether it's about feelings, observations, or just musing on the day's activities, isn't this one of a myriad of ways of looking at one's life?
We get to this age for a reason, even though that reason may be veiled. It's up to us to decipher what it is. This is as real as it gets. Each day I try to bear witness to how I've dealt with life and its goodness, its disappointments and tragedies, its gifts. I always ask myself: has everything been approached with love? We draw purpose and meaning from our past as well as from our daily interactions. Today it was a lunch with old friends -- one I've known for forty-three years; the other I've known for thirty years. Oh the laughs and memories! I take such delight in their lives and the respect with which they've led them. Between the three of us there are sixty years of marriage, a cancer diagnosis and life saving treatments, seven divine daughters who are consistently our teachers, philanthropy, work, loss of parents, a granddaughter on the way, overcoming of fears, and arthritis -- just to name a few subjects we've covered, all with the gracious conviction that we're all still standing (or sitting, as the case may be) enjoying a glass of wine on a rare rainy afternoon.
I'm sentimental most days now. But today our existence and relationship to each other was renewed and revitalized with the deepest gratitude and joy. Now we're going off to Paris to celebrate. Celebrate what you may ask? Life.