Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Life So Far

At 6:55 AM tomorrow, I turn 64 years old. The song "When I'm 64" by the Beatles was released the summer I was 16. My paternal Grandpa loved to sing along with me to the hit songs on the car radio, and he always made wise or funny, and sometimes both, comments about the lyrics. Grandpa was 62 the year that song came out, and while I didn't think he was elderly, I certainly thought he was old. He asked me if I would still need him when he was 64, and I assured him that I would still love him and need him in two years. My turning 64 seemed a lifetime away then.

Now that "lifetime" has been lived, and I am turning 64, and I wonder if anyone still needs me. My children are grown, educated, employed, with spouses/partner, lives of their own, so the answer is probably no. But is "Will you still need me?" really the right question? Do I want to be "needed?" A better question might be, "Will you still want me?" Because I sincerely hope that my children and my friends will still "want" me when I turn 64 tomorrow.

Putting that question aside for the moment, what do I feel at 64? Is there something more I want to do before I die? A valid question because whatever else you are at age 64, you are on the downward slope of life's arc, life's journey, and death is the next really big milestone, which we all hope will give us the answer to why we made the journey in the first place.

So I am spending my last day of 63 pondering my life so far, and what I think is that it has been a damn fine life. I have experienced great love, a best friend, good friendships, rewarding work, and deep, abiding joy. I have read thought-provoking books, listened to music that made my heart soar, seen art that took my breath away, had conversations that lasted all night, and have never run out of curiosity about the world and everything that is in it. I love my children more than my life; I love my pets almost as much as my children; I love food and wine and laughter and Scotland, particularly Orkney.

Of course, there have been sorrows too--a husband with dementia, a son with schizophrenia, an unpleasant childhood, but, on balance, the positive has far outweighed the negative.

For me, one of the best things about being 64 is knowing who I am and not caring too much what anyone else thinks, except for my children. I care very much what they think.

Who am I? I am an introvert with no ability to chitchat, who prefers one-to-one interaction; I dislike large gatherings unless it is a gathering of like-minded individuals whom I know fairly well. I am an insomniac. I get lost everywhere. I have nightblindness. I worry too much, crossing imaginary bridges, trying to prepare for all eventualities. I prefer comfy clothes to stylish. I will never be slender again because I love to eat. I speak my mind, often before thinking, which sometimes gets me into trouble. I am honest and loyal and caring. I am passionately curious, and I am wise, though sometimes I feel like Cassandra. I delight in shared, meaningful glances, verbal shorthand, and in-jokes; basically, I love to share. I am a reader, a thinker, a film lover, a teacher, and a writer. I like my life to resemble a tapestry. I treasure my friends, and I am a rememberer. I believe in truth, love, and God, but I do not go nor belong to a church. I am a seeker, a cynic, and an optimist. I love life.

Hmm, so is there anything more that I want to do? Yes, lots of things, like meet and get to know my granddaughter Grace Marie in September as well as all my future grandchildren, write another book, write a play, go to Orkney and Shetland with my friend Lisa, maybe experience romance again, and laugh with my friends as we grow really old. However, I can honestly say that if I were to die soon, I would have no regrets, nothing major left undone. That's a pretty good way to feel when you turn 64, don't you agree?

Now, back to the question, "Will you still want me?" Only you can answer that, but I sincerely hope that the answer will be "yes" because I still want all of you.

Take care,

Kate, aka Kathleen, Kathy, and Mom