This is a picture of my adorable granddaughter Avery Elizabeth Kitchen. She is 2 1/2 and so full of life and desire and energy. Her favorite movie is “Brave” which may also be mine. It is the story of a Scottish princess who rides her horse like the wind and is a skilled archer. She is funny, feisty, honest, and very set on living her own life following her own star. Avery has developed an insane love for horses through watching Merida gallop through the forest. I know just how she feels. I was like her at that age, loving horses more than anything, captivated by their beauty, their strength, their grace. Watching Avery grow and unfold, I remember so many things about my own feelings at that age. I believe that for all of us, watching a horse gallop across a field evokes emotions of longing for freedom, beauty, strength, and something about self-propulsion. I know the feeling that makes a horse kick up its heels and gallop madly for no reason at all.
This is nothing very profound but I will say it anyway. We lose that as we get older-that desire to expend energy for no reason at all. I have become such a creature of duty, of routine, of lists and drudgery. I have lost that zest for just moving through space with glee. I run to exercise, not because I CAN!!!! I live in a semi-depressed state most of the time because I have forgotten how to be that little girl who loved horses. I want to find her again. This blog is just a small part of trying for that reality. I need to write. It is hard for me to put my words down because of the overactive self-critic that says things like, “This is so trite-who would want to read this?” and “Don’t you have anything you SHOULD be doing?” And frankly it is pretty trite, and I am not particularly inspired. But maybe if I keep writing, every once in awhile I WILL say something profound. I will never know if I do not just start doing it. I love the book called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. In it, she explores the artistic process and advises us to write three pages a day whether we have anything to say or not. Just doing it helps to unleash creativity. So this is my attempt at that.
I am turning sixty this year. This fact has made me extremely introspective and more morbid than usual. My life is more than half over. Maybe a lot more than half over. I have spent a lot of it just doing the next thing. I feel that desire to reflect, to find the thing that only I can do in this world, the thing I was made for. I think that is basically just to be me, loving others and serving as best I can. I will die, and no one will think of me for long. That is just the way life is. It is hard to face. One wants to have left something of importance that will be remembered. It is a vain hope in both senses of the word.
What I have done that feels important to me is all to do with people: my family of course, but all the people I love-and there are a lot of them. But I want it to be my joy, more than just my duty, which of course it is. I want to have joy. I have been struggling with that a lot lately. I feel too much of the time that I am waiting in a station for the train to come that I need to get on. I have no idea when it will arrive and I can’t seem to focus on anything else while I am waiting. Patience, waiting, being still, trusting, living in the moment-all things I am not good at. This seems to be a time for getting better at those things. It is not a good idea to live in the future ever, but when the future looms ahead with fears of being alone, being sick, dying, ugh! All my worst and most dark thoughts-it is deadly. I know this is a stage and I will come to have peace with growing old. I know it is a part of it all, and no one escapes it. But truly we do spend most of our lives thinking we have all the time in the world!
I have been thinking a lot recently about the question, “if you knew you only had a year to live, what would you be doing?” That is a really good question. And I know the answer to it. If you see me changing, even changing radically in the next few years, it will be because I am trying to live like I have a year left, which may or may not be the case. I might only have a day. I might have thirty or forty years. But I want to live them all like that little girl who loved horses, the one who wanted to fly.