Monday, May 22, 2017
My mother celebrated her 82nd birthday yesterday and we took her for brunch. It is so exhausting for her to out and about, but they are doing it, and enjoying their adventures. Last week, a trip to our local performing arts center followed by lunch out. All sponsored by their retirement community. A chamber music concert and a delightful repast at one of their favorite restaurants in town. All facilitated by the group with a wheelchair accessible van. It makes traveling so much easier for her. Two weeks before that, they all went to the San Francisco MOMA to see the Matisse exhibit and have lunch.
I asked my dad if was enjoying this new freedom, and heartily agreed he was! Mom is as well, though she is less effusive. They are more social than they have been for a decade. They lost so many friends to death and they were lonely. They are not usually "joiners" so we wondered how this whole group living thing would work out.
Turns out, it is working very well.
I spent some time with one of my very best friends recently. We've know each other about 26 years. He's the brother I never had. By turns adorable and exhausting. We had lunch with our husbands in Napa City, and later toured the new facility for the Culinary Institute of America. It was a warm day, and my tight black jeans were annoyingly too hot for such a day. I was lazy and hadn't done laundry, so my choices were few. Live and Learn.
Hard to believe I'm going to be 60 in a couple of weeks and I'm still making these rookie mistakes. Did I say 60? Oh, yeah. Echoing everyone I've ever talked to about aging, I don't feel my age. I feel about 18 most of the time. Still feeling my way through the dark, wondering what is at the edge and if it's going to be glorious or end up biting me in the ass.
The outward markers of a long life are apparent: grandchildren, retirement, thinning skin, gray hairs beginning to sprout, wrinkle lines that emanate like the rays of the sun from my eyes and eyebrows, alligator skin on my once smooth legs, and finally, those jowls that I noticed first on my grandmother and then my mother. Now they are mine. The inward indications of a long life are that I am a tad more savvy and more appreciate of the goods things of life. I gravitate to the things that soothe me and inspire me, and have given up trying to deeply understand the crazy things people do. It's too much to fathom, and so I hit the bump and, like the Roomba vacuum, turn to march in the other direction.
Likewise, it's usually an unproductive exercise to ponder one's chronological age. Especially since my brain tells me I'm still 18 years old. My body tells me otherwise, but hell, there's nothing to do but LIVE it. Keep dreaming, go to the gym, dig in the garden, read a good book, listen to jug bands and make pizza for dinner. And, most importantly, stay in touch with, and cultivate friendships with those people who sustain me, make me laugh.
Carpe diem, babies.