I was looking through an old journal the other day, and I came across a letter I wrote to myself (I was 44), from the perspective of myself as an eighty year old. Seventeen years have passed since I wrote the letter. I have less than twenty years to go before I am that eighty year old. That’s a lot of math on a rainy Wednesday morning, but the letter is fun…
March 2, 2037
Dear Friend (that’s me!),
Oh it feels so good to be writing to you, it’s been too long. When was the last letter? Oh, yes, on this date in the year 2000! The new millennium. The new century. Remember how tired we all got of hearing that? The end of the world, computers crashing, banks losing our money. Of course we never worried about any of it anyway. What would have been the point? It’s like the survivalists saving up food stores for the end. If the Earth blows up, collides with an asteroid or worse, what good is ten gallons of water going to be? Besides, it’s all about control. Can I control it? No. Then let it go. That has been a good motto to live by, once we got the hang of it.
It’s hard to believe our kids are so much older now than we were then. It has been wonderful to watch them grow and move into the circle of a new life. I like to think there are still lines connecting our circles, safety lines, strung with love. Lines to let out when they need space and to reel in when they need support. And weren’t the grandbabies fun? I felt, and still do that that was what I was training for my whole life. That tiny life brought forth by the life I brought forth, completed my circle. Not a day goes by that I don’t whisper a ‘Thank you’ that I was allowed the privilege of staying on this Earth long enough to be a grandma. And look! We’re into the greats now! What joy!
If I must think of just one good thing that goes with living a long, full life, and that is hard, because there are many, it would be along the lines of Mark Twain’s verbiage, “Most of the things I worried about never happened.” Wrap that up with, ‘this too shall pass’ and ‘Let go, Let God’. Those simple lessons are perhaps the hardest to learn, especially for those of us who need control in order to keep on an even keel. I’m glad I didn’t wait for eighty to figure out that control is just an illusion. Just when it seems everything is ‘under control’ someone tosses a cosmic monkey wrench into the works and it’s ‘back to the old drawing board’ anyway!
It has been a comfortable life. Digging in and rooting in one place isn’t for everyone, but it has been good for me. There was a time when I thought of travel, but it really wasn’t a natural thing for me. I have enjoyed some backroads and trails, and still love the idea of the road less traveled, (Robert Frost’s, not M. Scott Peck’s), but I need my solid foundation of hearth and home and family and pets waiting to welcome me from my sojourns, so I can’t be away too long.
And so it goes, my friend. We continue on this journey, every day more thankful for the gift of life and health, as we bid goodbye to some we’ve known. I wish you well in these twilight years, and pray you still have, ‘…miles to go before you sleep…”
God Bless you, love, your friend