When I arrived home after three weeks in Phoenix, I jotted down these thoughts…
It is impossible to surround ourselves with enough people to fill our own vastness. Arriving home to an empty house offered such a buffet of emotions. The note on the counter from my loved ones—Wayne, Rosie, Brian and my dog—all written in different colored markers—was great. So was the fact that Rosie always has my home tailored and cozy when I get home—it’s welcoming.
But still, this is a phase of life in which I need to live with myself. I’ve been released from parenting and romance and am on my own recognizance. It’s awful and wonderful, lonely and full. It’s as it should be, but it is also full of the memories of having dependent kids, adorable lovers and a life full from the outside in. Now it is time for fullness from the inside out.
On Saturday, a dozen people arrive for the first week of the “Let Yourself Glow” Course. That is sweet, fast, loving first class company. And, as is the nature of life, they will come and then they will go.
I used to have a sweet tooth, a taste for the simplicity of sweetness. Now I am developing a taste for the less sugary and bittersweet, readying for the next transition and the one after that.
This is quite a process, this being human…aging consciously.
You are young.
I never expected to be 66 years old, and have always been touched by the process of aging.
At every age, the lyrics of the Cat Steven’s song “Father and Son” seem appropriate.
“It’s not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault, there’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down…if you want, you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy
I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot…why, think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not…”
Phases of our Lives.
We are young, hopefully nurtured by loving parents, then we become teens, tortured by our own hormones, seeking attention from our peers. From there we enter the work-force, imagining that we will revolutionize the place, but then in a decade or so discovering that we have become that which we wished to change.
We work, and then we work some more. Often we have to create our own importance because the work isn’t inspiring in itself. And then we glance past work, discovering retirement. Through this whole process our parents provide models that we resist for where we are going. Until they leave, moving us to the head of the line.
It is then, or shortly after, that we discover one of the great jokes of life: that it is only what we make it. Life doesn’t happen to us, but we happen to it.
Around the transition from work which kept us busy, and the end of our work-a-day life, the idea that we will be saved, different, important or unique melts away. We stop daydreaming, while still dreaming at night.
With our newfound freedom, the bittersweet nature of life appears as we are finally free—free to travel, free of what others think of us and free of wanting too. Love and family are there for us, and so is the opportunity to motivate, appreciate and enjoy ourselves.
This is the second to the last transition, and it feels a little like open heart surgery without anesthetic, because it has us feel so much and think so little.
I would address what comes next, but I simply don’t know. I am teetering on that point, with the free part of my life ahead of me, and the oppressed part behind.
I’m not going to meet someone who will save me, offering happily ever after. I am not going to, as I always thought I would, wake up the entire human race into a state of enlightenment. And I am not going to leave a huge indelible impact on the planet. I am totally thankful for the life I have lived, but haven’t yet discovered the power source for what comes next.
I watch the sun rise, aware that it really doesn’t—Earth spins. A pilot friend of mine shows me a picture of the moon, the horizon and a black line. “Do you know what that line is?” he asks.
“That is the edge of night,” he says. “The terminator—it travels 1,036 miles per hour around Earth, delineating night from day.”
I find comfort in that, the edge of night. And I feel comfort in everything, as Earth has finally become my home. I smell the morning air, listen lovingly to the coyotes as they sing through in the night, watch my red-haired granddaughter say “more” and really mean it as she engages with this place. I won’t try to change everything, but will actively watch as everything changes.
This is home—my home, your home—a place to love, care for and nestle in until…
Author: Jerry Stocking
Image: Instagram @rent_the_world
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina