This is my book and these are my chapters. The pen sits firmly between my fingers, inching across the page that writes the next story of my next phase.
I page back – of course I do- lost in a beautiful memory here, troubled by a messy closure there.
And still, and still, the future beckons.
The future, evolving me calls, “Where will you go from here? What do you want? Who and how do you want to be, discover, experience, create, and contribute in the chapters ahead, the days left to you?”
These are the questions. No, they are THE QUESTIONS.
They bring me first to practical matters: I still work, but oh, so much less. I still have “responsibilities,” but they are far fewer. I have family, but they are far-flung. What I have now, that I didn’t have in all of those earlier, busy, busy chapters is more time. Ah, time – the ultimate provocateur behind all of those questions.
And so I dive in a bit deeper with my own multifaceted question: If I do what I have always done out of habit, or live in the past because it is the known, or simply fritter away the hours, days, weeks, months, and years ahead with whatever shows up, then what will I have done with my precious allotment of time?
I realize the challenge inherent in this “post-60” chapter: I have more responsibility for self-definition than ever before. My roles have loosened their hold on me:
- I no longer have the keys to the office and a 60-hour week responsibility
- I am no longer woven into the regular fabric of my extended family’s life
- I am a transplant here with no regional roots
So yes, it’s great to embrace this fresh, blank page, but it is sometimes terrifying. That’s why asking the questions in the spirit of true inquiry is what this moment in time is all about.
My mind goes to the concept of restoration. You know, you take a beautiful old house, respect the bones, get the good stuff back intact, and then build and rearrange from there. I realize that is exactly what I am doing. I am building a restored, fresh version of myself that honors my past and embraces my future.
I experiment along the way: blond for a while, grow the hair long, cut it short, back to brunette with highlights. Well, that’s been quite the journey! I plan trips back home to stay connected but incorporate ZOOM and Facetime for scheduled “Whine and Wines.” I join a book club and my local pool. I cook in the winter and say the hell with it in the summer. I humble my way through gardening and stumble my way through yoga and Pilates. I am a passionate neighborhood ambassador (aka “The crazy lady?” Maybe.) because I am the change I want to see. And yes, in a nod to “aging gracefully” I accept that some of those designer jeans I paid too much for may never fit me again.
As I write this chapter, I pause and go back to the questions: “Where will you go from here? What do you want? Who and how do you want to be, discover, experience, create, and contribute in the chapters ahead, the days left to you?”
My pen pauses in mid-air, and I realize that I am writing my chapter as I am living these new choices. I choose to trust the process and my pen follows….