When I was in grad school many years ago, the Professor, on the second week of a particular class, was checking attendance. Inevitably, students at the beginning of a new semester would add or drop courses after getting a preliminary overview of assignments and interests.
And so he asked, “Has anyone changed since last week.” Total silence. Clearly no meaningful business occurring here. At which point, being a mature student, and not at all shy in manner, I stood up and said, “Professor Mark, we have all changed since last week, in one way or another.” Pause. And then he smiled, allowing for a few titters from the small gathering.
But isn’t it the truth. We change daily, hourly. As women, we know we can spin from one mood to another depending on the right smile, hug, or brand of chardonnay. Sometimes the changes are not immediately perceptible. We wake up one morning and discover that our children are now adults, we have gray hair, or a new wrinkle, or an extra three pounds. How did that happen?
But when we break from the routines of our days, take holidays, spend time playing with grandchildren, get a massage, discover a new author, we can palpably feel the flow of energy, involvement, metamorphosing thought, word and deed. Time slips away imperceptively if we let it. And like most women my age, I have alternated between running to keep up with family, career, the occasional crisis, and then living in reflection of so many events that passed too quickly without being fully savoured.
In an effort to stay the rampaging of my life, just a little, and because I am turning 69 this year, and therefore, theoretically, beginning my seventieth decade, I have decided to begin a year of living purposely, of taking more chances, and consciously planning at least one new experience for myself each month. Instead of time charging ahead of me, in spite of me. I am going to take control of my life, to create each day, week, and month of this first year, and ultimately the entire daring decade, with purpose and meaning. In other words, my goal is to explore the world and myself like never before.
I am equally excited about the “plan” and about chronicling the events, twists and turns. Part of my definition of “control” also means putting myself in the way of the unexpected. I will visit new areas of Canada, the USA, Paris, Venice. I will finish my novel. “Do I dare to eat a peach?” Of course I will. And I will not walk crablike backwards. I will greet each morning with a grand “Hello, Gorgeous”, and not let the parade pass me by. If not now, when? How about you? Come share the feast of finessing time with me.
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WRITING ONE'S LIFE
Whether we realize it or not, we are all authors in one way or another. As children we created worlds that disappeared when realism intruded into our psyches. Who of us did not have imaginary friends? Some of us still do.
As we go through the most productive periods of our lives, however, we are compelled by responsibilities to live realistically within the cooperative confines of family and societal expectations. One of the joys of Aging, if we allow it, is that we are now able to escape the bonds of other's expectations. We have earned the right to create and recreate our lives at will.
Occasionally we may go back to reread our favourite moments (memories), but new books, people, locations, ideas are awaiting our arrival. Why would we want to disappoint them or ourselves.
In this site I hope to explore all the many ways women of my generation are choosing to deviate (ooh, like that term) from the horizontal line, and instead will squiggle, turn right, turn left, jump up and down, anything except onward as usual. I hope you will join me in exploring all of our creative options as we live our lives with gusto and elan.