I wrote this essay when I was 53 years old, 17 years ago, and surprisingly, it’s dialectical, paradoxical swing still describes what I’m going through now, at 70. What matters? It all does, every wrenching, subtle, kaleidoscoping moment.
BTW: Crones Counsel, mentioned in the essay, is ongoing. This year’s gathering will be held at beautiful Asilomar, on the Monterey Peninsula coast, California, September 11-15. Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging is a magazine I founded and published 1989-2012. Back issues available at bbimedia, which also publishes the new Crone: Women Coming of Age magazine.
Meanwhile, last weekend at the retreat with Francis Piso, I met a 96 year old woman who seemed to be just a crumpled up “little old lady” — with massive age spots on her face and painfully swollen ankles — until she raised her hand to tell us that she had just read a poem by Basho, how the life well lived is one that has been filled with love. I asked her to lunch. She said yes. She asked me if I wanted to attend her Thursday morning meditation group. I said yes.
She lives alone, in a second floor apartment in a tiny village. Her son lives four miles away and helps out when she needs it. She climbs the stairs several times a day. Is this her secret?
I thought I’d “know more” about the mysterious process of aging at 70. I was mistaken. Will I know more at 96?