Given the topic, this poem of mine seemed to be a fitting opening…
The seeker within
yearns for enlightenment;
longs to soldier on
and see the face of God.
Reverse is not an option,
but if it were,
I might tarry a bit…
postpone my appointment
with the infinite
to deck myself in finery once again,
drink champagne from crystal flutes,
share slick and salty tastes
with handsome men who call me “Sugar.”
I would reclaim taut skin, firm arms and thighs.
Truck drivers could leer and whistle.
This time I would simply laugh,
glad to be back again, young and juicy.
I would not sell my soul to make it so,
but I would think on it.
I celebrated my birthday last week. I don’t feel a year older. In fact, I don’t feel old at all, but since I qualify for senior discounts, I am—in the minds of many—old. Vanity being what it is
(or denial), I never ask for the senior discount. It’s rarely offered, When it is, I’m miffed. Hey, if I want it, I’ll ask. I know—crazy!
On the bright side, I am feeling very “loved up.” Over the course of three days I received congratulatory phone calls, birthday cards, and ecards. I’ve been feted at two lunches and a dinner. A gorgeous bouquet of roses still resides in my living room—the gift of a good friend. I spent quality time with my youngest son over a cocktail at a local bistro. Having one-on-one time with him is a rare treat. Later, my daughter-in-law prepared us a wonderful meal. The cherry on top—my granddaughter. She called on my birthday to sing a truly rousing version of Happy Birthday to You. Four is a wonderful age. Maybe every age is wonderful, in some way, as long as you have your health. I am grateful for mine.
Being celebrated on my birthday is great. Nevertheless, once one reaches a certain age, intimations of mortality begin to creep in. I have so much I still want to do. I ask myself, “Do I have enough time to do it all?” The answer is, “Probably not.” I will always have one more item on my “to do” list. I’m thinking that’s probably a good thing. Engagement with the things we love keeps us young at heart.
My grandmother lived to be one-hundred. Shortly before that momentous birthday I asked her, “Nana, what’s it like to live to be one-hundred?”
“Well, I’ll tell you,” she replied, “it’s kind of like living on death row.”
Wow! I wasn’t expecting that, but I understood. You never know when they’re coming for you. However, isn’t that true at any age? Nana did, however, have a more upbeat follow-up. ”I’m grateful for the extra time I’ve had to read and do my writing.”
My grandmother was an avid reading and an aspiring writer. I have notebooks full of her poems, a few yellowing newspaper pages containing a prize-winning Christmas story, and several magazines containing her published stories. I’m sure Nana’s passion for writing helped fuel mine.
Last night, over dinner with friends, we got into a discussion about ghosts (believe or not), psychic phenomena, and what becomes of the soul after death. Light dinner conversation! While postulating that reincarnation was a lot fairer than “you’ve got one shot at getting it right,” I was rebuffed with the statement that, “Life is not fair, and humans build a lot of constructs to make them feel more important than they really are”—a sobering viewpoint. After discussing quantum physics, energy beings, karma and more, we were left with no definitive answers and, roughly, the same viewpoints we arrived with—from my agnostic friend who believes in little, to my psychic friend who believes in almost everything. I tend to lean in the latter direction. I remain open to possibilities. I am like the man who decided to believe in angels because he knew that was the only way he would ever have a chance of seeing one.
We posed a lot of interesting questions over that dinner. I’m OK not having conclusive answers. Here’s what I do know: I am aging. One day I will die. I am here now. I am blessed in so many ways. Carpe diem! Happy birthday!