Thursday, June 19, 2008

Living Like I'm 80

I've been working with this idea for a little bit and it kind of hit home this evening. I'll just start by saying that I feel young and energetic. I'm 41 and I feel great, like I can do anything and I have no aches or pains, I'm not on any kind of medication, my doctor says I'm in "excellent health," and really I feel good.

And I expect to get old. I want to get really old. My grandmother is 90, still living on her own, and doing great. My other grandmother died in her 90's. I have a great-grandfather who lived to be 102 and I think another great-grandmother did too. So I figure it might be in the genes and there's a chance I'll see my 80th birthday.

It's from that perspective that I look at my life sometimes and how it's going now. Sometimes I'll catch myself judging my body, for instance, like it's a bit bigger, a little softer and not so much like Madonna's ripped figure. And then I imagine myself as an 80-year old and then I'm proud and satisfied and happy with how I am now. "Enjoy it while you can," is what my 80-year old self tells me.

If I consider myself as an 80 year-old, I want to spend more time with my parents. When I'm 80, there's a pretty good chance that they won't be around anymore. The 80 year-old in me tells me to really savour and enjoy the times with my family because those times are precious and won't be available forever. And I remember one of the last times I saw my other grandmother - I had taken Remi to go and visit her when she was 2. Remi would run around her apartment and my grandmother would say, "I wish I could have some of that (energy)." She was so tired and frail. And I heard a little clip with Doris Lessing who said if you feel like writing don't put it off, do it now while you have the energy. She said she just doesn't feel like it anymore.

I spent a little time with a friend today who's taking the same course with Landmark Education that I just finished back in April and she shared with me that her mother has recently been diagnosed with throat cancer. Her mother has been advised to eat all of the things she loves to eat now and enjoy them. She should also say what she needs to say while she can, because once she starts the treatment she'll be on a liquid diet and may not be able to speak. Wow. I get it.

So rather than rejecting the changes to my body or resisting things in my life or pursuing things that won't matter to me at the end of my life, tonight I'm living from the perspective of doing what I love to do and spending time with the people I love. Because I can!

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