Jane turns 80
This bears practicing.
It’s been ten years since Ellen and I started this blog as a way to ease ourselves into our 70’s. Now here I am 80 years old.
On the day of my birthday, July 3rd, my grown children and grandchildren who live not far away, brought gifts and cheer to my front stoop and decorated our doorway for all to see.
I felt well loved and celebrated.
But the best was yet to come. That evening we had nationwide Zoom gathering…people important in my life, from every era and geographical setting, all in the same space at the same time! It was a wonder of modern technology and of pandemic necessity. What a heartwarming experience that was, and what memories were unfurled. The follow-up continues as many are continuing our conversations online.
Fireworks…on TV this pandemic year… began that night. I’ve always welcomed 4th of July festivities as a continuation of my day.
I went through boxes and albums of archival photos as I created a montage for the Zoom event. More memories evoked, reminiscence in high gear. I thought about the people I’ve known and cared about and the impact each has had in my life. I looked forward to seeing them on screen that evening.
I admit, the day before my birthday I felt rather anxious. As I pondered this approaching milestone, I imagined I was approaching a precipice that one could easily fall off…a flat earth with the end in sight. My usual anticipatory anxiety. The day of, that feeling morphed into excitement, about the celebration ahead. The day after, I relaxed as I saw it wasn’t a precipice after all but the same gentle slope I’d been use to.
I feel fortunate that I’ve had a good life, I’m near my family, and even as we hunker down to stay safe from COVID-19, I am well occupied and comfortable. I’m a little creaky when I start the day, but thankful any time nothing hurts badly. We’re at home, now in week 18 of sheltering from this world-wide medical crisis, but doing okay. I’ve gotten used to being the old and vulnerable ones, as neighbors, family and friends have kindly delivered food. It’s strange to be on the receiving end, but I’m appreciative and have found ways to reciprocate. My dear husband of 57 years now requires more of my care and attention, so being at home actually suits our current needs.
The world beyond appears unsafe, unsettled and unpredictable. I worry for young people deprived of their social networks, their expected education and the life they should be enjoying in high school and college. I feel bad for those who have lost jobs and livelihoods in an economy that appears doomed. I feel some terror at the rate at which this virus is spreading and about how long this might go on. I watch too much news and read too many newspapers. The outlook appears bleak.
To help myself feel better, I stay involved in political action from home. I keep exercising in Zoom classes, and painting in my Skype class. I float in the pool under the blue sky and beneath bright pink crape myrtle blossoms, I read and write and try to stay connected to people I love, by phone, FaceTime and Zoom. I listen to music. I knit hats. I wear bright colors, not black.
I do household tasks and even try to purge old work files and closets. This part is slow going, but I persist, gradually.
So on to my 9th decade. I wonder what my 80s will be like. I’ll try to make the best of each day in the time ahead.