on aging in now

IMG_3425Part of every working day now is devoted to recording songs and stories and photos and home movies for my granddaughter and my children. The rest is devoted to writing and teaching, telling the stories I’m here to tell, and doing what I can to ensure that others get to do the same—not just now, but for the seven generations ahead. Nobody told me life would be so sweet when I passed 50.

So, for those of you who have yet to make it here? Let me say it: You cannot imagine, just cannot imagine how felicitous living becomes when you round the bend into your sixth decade and understand, to the core of your being, that the first half of your life is likely done and there are fewer days ahead than behind. Perhaps departures allow us to feel more keenly, to glimpse how precious even the suffering has been? Perhaps knowing it will soon be done allows us to step free of society’s hobbles on what we should or shouldn’t do, feel, think, say, be? Perhaps these depths have been there all along, grounding us and keeping us sane and afoot, but most of us are so busy surviving and trying to be decent people that we have some trouble feeling anything but the sharpest-edged emotions on the way through?

I do not know the why of the shift. I do know this: once the next generations—all seven of them—become your highest concern, life opens all roads home and holds your place on them. And all of it, every last jot, partakes of bliss in some manner. Even grieving reveals its capacious and loving heart, and pain its kindly side. Worry proves to have served its uses, and mistakes turn out to have had wisdom lurking somewhere within. Risks and wins and losses show themselves as identical triplets, a trio of breathing and then some. I know not what comes after this life. Some days I am still curious about it, but more and more I find that being here now—this now that holds all of our times and places and souls deep within its beating heart—is enough. More than enough.

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