I think Mick Jagger was wrong when he sang, “What a drag it is getting old.” Heck, he was only 23. What did he know of decrepitude? He’s much older in this picture, but thanks to hair color, he doesn’t look too Keeper of the Crypt-ish. In fact, in this photo, what I notice most is his joy, and that’s probably because he’s doing the thing he loves most. After 50+ years in the rock and roll industry, oh, the places he’s gone, the people he’s known, and the riches—yes, financial but even more so, experiential—he’s accumulated.
Though Mick has a few decades on me, I too have traveled cool places, encountered wonderful people, and stockpiled beautiful memories. Occasionally life has surprised me. Even though I didn’t plan to be a mother, maybe not even a wife, both experiences have yielded incredible satisfaction.
Once the kids became less dependent, I rediscovered my love of writing. I also found a new hobby: co-ed recreational softball (which led to a collection of exceedingly snazzy socks). Outgrowing my cat allergy allowed me to say yes when Tony Bear and Junior-Man brought home a fist-sized, orphan kitten, Bonnie Agnes. Two months later we became the forever-family of the tiny, gray tabby known as Boots Louise. That same summer, I accepted the social media challenge, “Grow 10% of your food,” and planted a small-scale farm in our back yard.
Thanks to hair color, Sephora, and our backyard bounty, I don’t think I’ve become the Keeper of the Crypt just yet. In fact, my eyes seem to have more definition now that some of the fat stores around them have migrated to my core in order to protect my vital organs. This myriad of benefits associated with the forward march of time is a pleasant surprise.
With two out of three children settled in their own nests, my calendar looks entirely different these days. It’s now filled with writerly tasks, weekend roadtrips to visit the kids or to watch Tony officiate football, and new activities to try. Like pickleball. I’m not sure what it entails, but with a name like that, I absolutely want to give it a go!
Even as I anticipate my future, I still have to occasionally reckon with the less than ideal events of my early years. Last month someone asked, “If you could change everything, make your childhood different, would you?” His question reminded me of a ladies’ luncheon I attended years ago where the keynote speaker shared details of her highly unpleasant childhood. At the end of her speech, she informed us she wouldn’t change any of her life events, not one. At the time, I thought her a fool, but now I get it.
We are shaped by everything we’ve experienced.
Every circumstance we enjoyed or hated, the people we’ve known, the stories and poems we’ve read, the places we’ve lived. I wouldn’t be me without all my trials. Nor would you be you. I’ve done some things right and I’ve certainly done some things wrong, but here’s the thing:
Successes + Failures = Wisdom
FreeDictionary.com defines wisdom as “accumulated knowledge.” I want that knowledge. I pray for it often. When people ask for my opinion, I offer it up enthusiastically saying, “Of course I’ll tell you what I think or what I did in a situation similar to yours. Please—learn from my mistakes!”
I hope to share my hard-fought and accidental wisdoms here on my new blog—honest stories of my life experiences told for your benefit or amusement. Or both. My plan is to publish a post every Friday, Lord willing. I hope you’ll stop by and visit.