Thursday, June 21, 2012

On the Occasion of My 70th Birthday, June 22, 2012

Back in 1955, I was skinny, wore thick glasses and had no breasts. Mother said I’d be a late bloomer and assured me that things would work out. Adolescence isn’t forever, she told me. I believed her, absolutely.

Mom was right. I bloomed in my 60s. If accomplishments mean anything, and they do to me, I’ve crammed more good stuff into the last ten years than any other time in my life. Luck and synchronicity abound, for sure, but there are other ingredients that propelled these ‘blooming 60s.’

The ability to draw on fifty years of acquired wisdom and experience is formidable and informs every new project or job I choose to undertake. This array of accrued resources also becomes a context from which to scheme and dream. I do just that on mornings when there is no immediate need to rise from a warm bed and I can meander through the trove of ideas and insights that appear as jetsam after sleep.  

Yet another advantage I came to possess during most of my 60s was status as an older, single woman with a livable income. This bountiful triumvirate cannot be underestimated and is the great secret among older women. Life is very good at this age and stage. I had the freedom to pursue just about anything. This privileged status is counterbalanced, in my case, with an on-going life lesson. My enthusiasms often run rampant, testing the outer limits of my physical and emotional stamina. Sometimes these multitudinous enthusiasms override common sense. When this happens, which is more often than you might think, my good friend Sally advises that my stamina is finite. She is right. My life lesson? I do not have to act on every good idea, just because it surfaces. Edit during those early morning meanderings and choose wisely. How easily I forget.

Three years ago, a long lost lover reappeared in my life and this time around, the outcome was different. We are together, enjoying each other immensely as we explore what 'together' means for us. You must know that 'together' is a really big life change for me.

There is more. These blooming years have not solely been about doing and dreaming and a new togetherness. The years were a lot about a family that lives as four generations. This clan of ours spans 90 years, gathers for holidays and a summer picnic and yes, often communicates through social media. My children gave birth to grandchildren and each of the four is smart and good looking. My siblings and I spent sad and difficult years providing support and hospitable living spaces for our very old parents. Almost two years ago, Mom died after a heart-rending decline, her life papered over with dementia. At the end, she was unable to articulate the straightforward wisdom she so readily shared all the days of my life.

So yes, Mom, just as you predicted, I’ve been a late bloomer. I may still be recognizable to high school friends as the skinny girl with glasses, but I’ve grown up.  And perhaps, because it took so long for me to bloom, I am old and wise enough to enjoy the blooming all the more. 

1 comment:

Mary said...

Here's to the late bloomers, you are inspiration that we can all still get there. Happy Birthday!