“That ship sailed.” I say that a lot these days. So many things now, that I won’t or can’t do again. I will not, for example, be partying all night, taking the “red-eye” cross country, wearing sequined jeans, getting a tattoo, signing up to run a 10K or any other kind of “K”, or tottering around in shoes with spiky 4″ heels. And I’m OK with all of that.
If we’re lucky, we all grow old. And I’m OK with that too. But I never noticed it happening to me as I navigated life’s passages; graduation, career, marriage, parenting, the AARP card, grandchildren, downsizing and finally retirement.
But I didn’t feel old! OK, maybe I was starting to get arthritis, maybe it did take longer to “bounce back” from winter colds, perhaps I did need those “readers” more now. So I did give up running for walking, and power aerobics for yoga. And could it be true that our children were receiving their AARP cards? Unsettling, but… I still had time, plenty of time – to take that trip, to be with family and friends, brush up my piano technique and attend concerts, to visit that lonely person, to read books, to write books. Those were my dreams. And I’d get around to them. Someday.
I don’t know the exact moment when I knew life actually had changed. Was it a day when someone opened a door I didn’t need opened – or ran to pick up the sunglasses I dropped, was it my sharp intake of breath at my reflection under the harsh lights of the beauty shop, or (please, God, no), when someone called me “cute?” No matter. It’s true. Things have changed, they have really changed. And while I haven’t experienced substantial losses, yet, praise God, a thousand “little sailings” unnoticeable at the time, have manifested in sea changes in my life over the years. Life was never, after all, endless journeys to far horizons, but a voyage through tributaries, narrowing to one. I am at that tributary.
And that was not OK with me. Not at all.
I have always worked toward goals that catapulted me toward new ones. That made sense in my 40s, but it was foolish now. My fear of aging would not let me see that I was no longer sailing toward a destination, but had arrived. So I continued to postpone my dreams
as I always had – to Someday. When I was older. Not now. Not yet.
But as I watched friends battling terrifying chronic diseases, becoming incapacitated, losing spouses with fat bank accounts still intact, I had to admit that in fact, Someday was here. Time to face my fear of growing old. I didn’t enjoy that at first. But this foolish denial was costing me my dreams. Time to get busy. Things to do. Time to welcome Someday.
So I’ll be scheduling that trip, spending time with the grandkids, going to those concerts, writing, reading, hanging out with my friends and family. It’s Someday. And my ship has drifted safely in to port.