Thursday, November 10, 2016
I'm staring down the double barrels of senior citizenship as my 55th birthday is just around the corner. My standard thought lately has been a rather dazed, somewhat bedazzled, "How the fuck did I get here?" My next thought, especially this past week or so, is the first paragraph of the Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities (if you've never read it, now is the time!):
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
I can't recall any other time in my life when I've felt this overwhelmed and this much at peace. Simultaneously. I have lived a great big beautiful life. I intend to go on living a great big beautiful life. However, at this point, mortality is a nearer neighbor than my youth. No, now, I am not being morbid, just realistic. I don't live in fear, not by any stretch, but with a bit of sorrow, a rueful realization that, no matter what, there never was going to be enough time.
You don't need to say, "Oh, but there's still plenty of time! It's never too late!" And please don't spackle on that horrifically tacky, obnoxious platitude, "You only live once!" There isn't plenty of time. I will never have all the time I need to read all the books I want to read, make all the art I want to make, hug and love and have dinner and laughter with all the people on my Folks I've Just Gotta Meet list. Given all the life shit (good and bad) that gets in the way, living once is not nearly enough. There will never be enough time to hug my beloved as much as I want to, to feel his lips kiss my temple with exquisite sweetness the way he sometimes does, to be deep in the security of his love just having his big warm hand on my leg as we watch a show together. Whether we get another year or thirty, it won't be enough.
But, I'm one of those I'll-Take-What-I-Can-Get girls. For me, right now is enough. It almost always has been - one of those assets where the needle is always just a hair's breadth away from it being a downfall. Yeah. So I'm not feeling maudlin about it, just a little like the old drunk-singing standard...
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is
I mean that in a good way. When I was younger, I thought life would have a lot more weight, more seriousness at this age. Instead, it has become more ridiculous, irreverent, sweet, and, well, downright hilarious sometimes. Sure, there's sorrow, but it has feathers and it gets caught up on each breath until it only flutters nearby. I can't take anything too seriously. Right now is enough, rain or shine.
I only live once? Nah, I only live right now, and I've had a treasure trove of Right Now. I have plenty of time? Nah, I only have right now. I've always had right now. I will always have right now. And Right Now is plenty for me.
But. Fifty five? Senior Citizen? How the fuck did I get here? Guess it happened while I was busy dancing.