At this moment, as I begin my sixtieth rotation around the sun, I have the feeling of being on a precipice. I have long held the belief that I’ll live til 120, which means, in a year, I’ll be half way there. And while 120 years still sounds right – I have much to do, and much to learn, still – it does seem incredible that I could possibly have a full sixty years more to live, even if upon reflection, the first half of my life seemed so chocked full I couldn’t possibly repeat it.
No shrinking flower, I had an ambitious educational experience, followed by a career in the arts, owning two separate companies of my own making, contributing to the design world in new and interesting ways. I raised two children who are productive, contributing adults now, all while working, coordinating much of my husband’s artistic career, running the household, pursuing outside interests in everything from tennis, to yoga, reading, sewing, and more.
I shouldn’t leave out a trip around the world in 2002, with my husband and kids, which was a central and defining highpoint of my first six decades and our familial identity.
And now I am set to give this whole litany a run for its money and do the entire stretch once again. It will look quite different this time around. There will of course be no babies, though there may be grand babies. There will not necessarily be a formal education, though I hope to learn some new skills. Perhaps weaving, how to grow orchids (not just the sheer luck of not killing them), maybe even the cello – that would be magnificent. I have books to write, articles to research, oh, and an art center I’m hoping
to create. The future is full of possibilities, and opportunities, and many I hope that have not even become known to me yet.
There is, as well, a long list of places my husband and I have yet to visit, including Israel
and Egypt – now slated for next winter – Morocco, China, Prague and the Danube, Scandinavia, even Hawaii, the rest of Southeast Asia, the rest of Europe, more of South America, more of Africa, another round in Japan, and many, many tropical islands, because I love tropical islands. And up the Intercoastal Waterway. I think we should cruise up the ICW soon, some winter soon, while we can.
The hard reality is, yes, my physical form may not keep up with the intellectual curiosity, or vice versa. There is no telling, so I’ll work under the assumption that I will continue in my current form, until I don’t and deal with that then. How could I plan any differently?
I’ve been careful about money and blessedly lucky in that realm. With projections calculated up through age 100 so far, the future looks promising and secure, though who knows what holy hell will reign down on us all. I can’t plan for unknown disaster either.
Some may look into the second half of their life with trepidation of the unchartered, anticipate their declining health or wealth. Some may not. Including me. I’m looking ahead, seeing only the possibilities. Certainly, there will be losses, of family and friends, but these cannot be predicted with any precision, nor how they will affect me, except to remind me of the preciousness of what I have and to pursue my dreams while I can.
So I view this year as a promising phase, when I can still imagine and plan for the future with ease. A time when I can still consider all the options. When life seems to be open in front of me. Call me Pollyanna, or call me crazy, but envisioning the best, perhaps even fantasizing just a bit, is motivating, inspirational and just my nature.