Pretty cake, no? Wish it were mine!
I’m 70 today.
How did I get here? I don’t feel a day over 50, honest. I’m still a little girly. With a veneer of maturity.
Ok. Maybe more than a veneer.
But 70 is something I never considered.
Funny thing is, I’ve never really looked ahead, just taken life and opportunities and all things as they came. No plan of any kind. And I never thought about what 70 might be like. But now I find it a perfect vantage point from which to look back over my many decades and their many events.
I’ve known both love and heartbreak.
I’ve suffered loss and grief.
Kept company with deep sadness and great joy.
I’ve been poor and I’ve been well-off.
Made good decisions and not so good ones.
I did the best I could with what I came in with.
I can honestly say I know now what’s important in life.
I regret nothing except pain I caused anyone.
Each chapter of my life brought its own lessons.
The comedic performance piece I’m writing is structured in little stories. Each one moves smoothly on to the next, but stands alone, separate and distinct, too. When I look back over my 70 years I see it’s been the same. Each chapter of my life pushed me to the next, but could have been its own story. There is no single, big story. Or tragedy. It’s all a series of experiences I chose along the way. Or they chose me.
I can’t help but think of what this stage of life can mean. My mother died at 74 and my dear friend at 76. That’s mighty close.
On the other hand, my bestie turns 91 this year, a great role model, and told me, “I’m thinking 96, and then I’ll re-evaluate.”
The average life expectancy for a woman my age is 87. But today’s college students can expect to become centenarians, the benefit of contemporary medical advances. The first humans to live to 150 have already been born–imagine that! Oh, I wish it were me! I would love another 70. At least.
With a decent quality of life. At 90, bestie enjoys walking and even goes to the gym. Although she has some limitations (she only this year began to admit to them), overall her quality of life is pretty darn good. I should only be as lucky.
Well, ok, luck had nothing to do with it. Eating right and many decades of living in San Francisco –and walking its hills– plus fulfilling creative work have kept her alive and engaged in a big way. Which is why I try to do the same.
But I must confess: I have to have donuts every now and again. Life without a good dessert every so often isn’t worth living.
So here I am, at 70, trying not to eat a donut.
But–it IS my birthday… maybe I’ll just have to live it up.