I’m turning 70 a few days after the New Year, 2015. That sounds like a big number and yet I cannot put an age to what I see in the mirror or how I feel. When my energy is down, I feel the same stagnation as when I was a younger woman. The converse is true as well. Feeling good, doing my free form dance to music is ageless to me.
There is a reality, however, that I’m closer to death than to birth. This gives me pause to reflect on many things:
What do I really believe about life and death?
Do I believe in reincarnation? I don’t disbelieve it but am not totally convinced.
If my spirit lives on without my body, which I believe it does, what does that really mean?
These questions and more direct my thoughts, my mediation, my reading and conversations with some people who share such explorations.
I am also aware of the many gifts of my life. Some came in beautiful packaging while others showed up in broken boxes that took time to realize their value. Loving family, good friends, careers in psychotherapy and documentary film and lots of travel are some of the blessings in my life.
I’ve always been an introvert but notice that quiet time is even more important to me now. I’ve begun to explore writing with no particular goal other than to express myself. Is there a memoir in my future? Perhaps.
Please feel free to share your experience with your right of passage into your 7th decade or with any birthday that feels significant to you. I would love to hear your stories.
As 2013 is coming to a close, I am sitting with gratitude for the women who opened their hearts and lives to be part of The Beauty of Aging Documentary Film Project. Five of the seven women filmed are no longer living – Betty, Judy, Shirley, Lavada and Hedda. All of them lived long and quality lives and can be seen in the films on the website: http://www.beautyofaging.com
Some of the lessons I learned from them are to stay actively engaged in life, be connected to other people, animals and nature, work on my attitude by going with the flow and seeing things in a more positive light, be of service, develop and use my creativity, be mindful and live in the present moment. I’m still practicing many of these qualities and I delight in knowing that I can draw upon my memories and the footage of these women to remind me.
Many people who have seen the films on the website and “Greedy for Life” say they are less afraid of getting old since viewing the vitality of these old women. It excites me to know that others have gained inspiration from these women’s stories.
Do you have some favorite older people whom you would like to honor? Please “share their story” on this blog and help spread the word that there is, indeed, beauty in aging.
Many blessings to all of you who follow this blog for a loving, healthy and peaceful New Year.
On October 26 of this year, Erv Windward, husband of Shirley Windward (co-stars of the documentary short “Greedy for Life”) died at the age of 97. I attended a memorial gathering to celebrate his life. I was taken with the stories about Erv’s caring and skill as a vocal teacher. It seems that several of his students had studied with him for more than 40 years. Most came not only to sing but to be around Erv and Shirley’s wisdom.
While we were filming “Greedy for Life”, I remember Erv’s deep voice and twinkle in his eyes. We had the privilege of filming one student’s lesson and I was amazed that despite Erv’s hearing problem, he could detect even the slightest need for a shift in tone. It was clear he had a passion for teaching.
I’m holding a place of deep gratitude for the opportunity to film and become friends with both Erv and Shirley Windward. You can enjoy clips of “Greedy for LIfe” under “trailers” on the website: http://www.beautyofaging.com