There is a lot a things I have done in this period of time. Sixty actually came as quite a shock. I remember my 30th birthday as huge, loud, a sea of faces most of them I knew and some I did not. For me, the realization that all of that is in the past was confusing. Where did it go?
What happened to the women I counseled at the Domestic Violence shelter and Rape Crisis? Why couldn’t I work two jobs and volunteer at the same time? I had done it before, why was I so tired?
Why was my shiny black curly hair streaked with some GREY? Now I am blonde. Someone tells a story and you are laughing and filling in details and someone else mentions that was forty years ago. My heart skips a beat and I say to myself that it can’t be that long. It just can’t.
Life is like the summer breeze gently caressing your cheek. It stays on your cheek a second but in your heart for forty years. I gave a surprise birthday party last night for a friend. I found out that I wasn’t the only white woman with an Afro in the seventies. I wore it with pride sometimes with flowers woven into it.
I think much more these days, I think about people who came into my life and then passed through, as they were meant to do. Others stayed to teach lessons. Some came into my life because I was to teach them a lesson. I remember them with friendship and love. Old lovers who are still in small bits of my life as we have all moved along in life and yet still talk.
The misogyny I encountered remains but the real work of helping women I have had to hand over to those who are younger in body. The comforting thing is that I am now writing and painting. I wait for death but not on a conscious level. The end is coming but it is only the end here. Life is a continual experience and for part of it we don’t wear these bodies we have now. I believe I will be home again.
I think more of those who have passed before me. I remember the good and bad and know it will be wonderful to be with them again. My grandparents, the baby I lost, friends who died way too early. A lover who died too young. My late husband who has been gone since 1995.
I know I am not afraid to die and will continue to live life as fully as I possibly can and I encourage everyone to do that. Life is for living and it is a huge gift. Don’t waste it. Live it and try what is new, what looks like fun. No rocker for us because there are still trees to see, flowers to smell, parties to give, jet skis to ride, beaches to walk, mountains so large they fill you up. So don’t decide you are too old to learn the new technology. I learned and continue to learn and so can you. Make adjustments but don’t ever give up. The Universe put us here for the experience so don’t waste this opportunity.
Gestalt at Sixty
I am not ready to die,
But I am learning to trust death
As I have trusted life.
I am moving
Toward a new freedom
Born of detachment,
And a sweeter grace—-
Learning to let go
I am not ready to die,
But as I approach sixty
I turn my face toward the sea.
I shall go where tides replace time,
Where my world will open to a far horizon
Over the floating, never-still flux and change
I shall go with the changes,
I shall look far out over golden grasses
And blue waters.
There are no farewells.
Praise God for His mercies,
For His austere demands,
For His light
And for his darkness.”