Throughout my life, I’ve felt I’ve had to fly up out of the ashes at least three times. This blog is about this flight. Now. As I speed toward sixty and beyond.
I never thought I would feel brand new, or that I would so much like the eight year old Jetty, who believed that miracles lay just beyond my sight in almost every direction. Yet here I am, and I do.
I also never thought that I would be alone, poor, and unable to walk more than two hundred feet without feeling my back collapse. Yet here I am, and this is how I am.
Inside, I am newer than I have been in my adult life. Outside? Well, not so much. Yet at long last, I just don’t much care about the packaging any more. I do the best I can there, and I hope there will be improvement, but I can live with where I am if I must.
This blog is about the joy of recreating my life according to my dreams. It’s about the miracle of launching into a brand new life and feeling that sense of flying, that sense of myself as a phoenix yet again. Our culture likes to say that we are pretty much done at sixty. We hand the reins over to younger people, and we tend to say that the world is theirs now.
Why? Why is it only theirs? Why do we give in to this culture that tends to want us to go play golf, live in Florida, and be good grandparents? Lately, I have read some wonderful blogs by people who have changed careers, moved to new countries, or gone out of retirement and back to work because they wanted to.I have also read blogs written by people at different stages of life who have had to start over, or move to plan B.
Personally, I think I am on Plan Q, but that’s another story.
Eventually, I hope to link to websites and blogs written by people who have recreated their lives for the joy and passion of living life–people who have done this at ages beyond fifty-five.
For now, I will start writing my own story. My own journey. The personal stuff is in a different blog, the food for the memoir I am writing. For now I want to keep those stories separate. I am living very much in the moment by and large. I am trying not to look too far ahead; that’s something we boomers do. We try to map our futures out, and we worry.
No more. If I have learned one thing from the last six years, in particular, it’s this: we fool ourselves into thinking we can map our our futures and set the plan in stone. Planning is fun and it’s useful. Going after a dream, all out, is a wonderful thing. Still, we have to remember that something can happen at any time to change our direction for us. A dream can be taken without warning. I have never had my life plan work. Something has happened to change it, and while it has often been painful, sometimes it has turned out quite magnificently.
Right now, though, I am one of the lucky Americans. I have enough money to keep me in my new apartment for at least another two years, possibly more. I have nothing much for beyond that, true. In fact, all I have is Social Security, which is not enough to keep me on my own. Still, I have to be acutely aware of people who do not have this opportunity that I now have. I can write and I can paint. These have always been my dreams and now I am living those dreams. Art has no age.
I’m nearly sixty. I can neither walk nor sit for long stretches. I cannot hold any job at this point. The pain has taken a toll, physically, in every way. Yet this pain has freed me from more conventional constraints, and for that alone, I refuse to curse the disability that has me in this position now.
A friend once told me he wished I could get up every day and choose whether to paint, write, or rest without having to worry. Hey, old friend. I’m doing it! We are nearly sixty and have just begun to fly. You are flying, too, and following your entrepreneurial spirit. How lucky we are.
Again. I hope you’ll join me along the way. I hope you’ll share your own flights as well. I hope we will inspire younger people not to fear aging.