At seventy backs ache, knees creak, minds wander and smiles broaden.
Parts that used to take care of themselves need tending.
And even though we don’t want to believe it,
We are much further from the beginning than we are from the ending.
At seventy our children are grown up people
With jobs, lives, joys and troubles of their own.
Our grandchildren grow taller and smarter as we shrink and stretch.
And we all travel to places so far away
Our postcards take two weeks to deliver.
We smile as the kids tell us of their work, which we don’t understand,
Of their friends, whose names we can’t pronounce properly,
And of their aspirations which make us swell with pride and smile with memory.
At seventy we’ve grown up, but have not finished learning.
We seek simplicity and quiet joy
A walk through the park with a child in hand,
A stroll through a market in a foreign land,
Celebrations with family and friends,
A happy meeting of means and ends.
We pray for favorable test results, everyone’s good health and a winning hand,
And just once in a while something going according to plan.
As we balance those we’ve lost with those we’ve gained.
At seventy, we forget where we put our keys,
Our cars and our appointment books.
But we know by heart how to fit the pieces of life together,
How to make lemonade out of lemons
And interesting patchwork patterns out of torn pieces of cloth.
At seventy our friends say we look “young and thin” before their cataract surgery,
Our grandchildren tell us we are “old and round” before they learn to lie,
And we still seek engagement with a world that doesn’t much care what we are doing.
At seventy we can enjoy a good book, if we can find our glasses;
A good meal with our friends, if we eat early enough;
A beautiful place with those we love, if we stay out of the sun;
And our own company.
At seventy precautions are second nature.
Social Security and Medicare are old friends.
What we want of ourselves and others seems possible,
And love, laughter and time are far more precious than jewels.
Injustice still rankles,
And loving kindness counts the most,
Caroline M. Simon, September, 2010