…six words? Seven. :)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other.” Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.

Art, dogs, friends, travel, mountains, death.

I’m sixty-three, almost sixty-four. There’s no way to know what that means in terms of “years remaining.” If I could know, I wouldn’t want to. But the odds are that my death will not be in another fifty years. When my mom was this age (and my brother was — as always — a demanding, dependent, mess) she went around singing, “I haven’t got time for the pain.” She was done. Enough of her life had been hard and painful; she didn’t want any more. Well, the poor woman was not constituted for happiness…

I hated the song. I hated it anyway based on the way it sounded, but I also hated it on general principle. I was young — 27 — and I thought that pain = life and I wanted life more than any other thing. Still, I recall writing about my then love relationship with a guy who was gay, proclaiming, “There’s no single defining quality in pain.” If you ask me what I meant at the time, I couldn’t answer with certainty, but I think I was thinking (already) that it is not pain (alone?) that makes us US. But I could just have been writing something deep. No idea. Still, I hung in that hopeless relationship knowing my boyfriend wasn’t suddenly going to “go straight.” I thought the pain of the relationship was just the price I had to pay for a love that was, in many ways, absolutely great.

Suffering was the only thing that made me feel I was alive
Though that’s just how much it cost to survive in this world

So at sixty-three and 5/6ths I can say that gratuitous drama has no interest for me. Sadly, there is a lot of it in this world. Instead, I’m interested in the opportunity to create, the beauty of this place where I live, my dogs, friendships and the chance to travel without scheduling it around school holidays. I don’t expect a drama free future (I’m sure it will have its share of drama) but I do know that — sorry mom for not understanding — I haven’t got time for the pain.

I still hate the song. Shudder, but here it is…

6 thoughts on “…six words? Seven. :)

  1. Garry was interviewing two artists who had just gotten the President’s Gold Medal for the arts. Lois Maillou Jones was 86 and Alfred Eisenstadt was 93 (yes, that’s how we met him). They had never met each other, even though both lived on Martha’s Vineyard, a small island. As they chatted, Eisie said to Lois, “86? You’re just a girl!”

    You’re just a girl.

  2. Only 63? You are a spring chicken (she says from the advanced age of 64). My writers group talked of age today when a youngster who might be 20 lectured an older gent (perhaps 70) on condescending to younger readers. It would have been funny had it not so obviously stunned the man. He writes sweet stories from a bygone sensibility and I cherish his words, but he got a lesson in modern literature by impatient youth. Intimations of mortality floated around the room.

    • I knew everything back then, too. This past week I spent a couple days with my 35 year old step-daughter-in-law. She recounted the many angsts of her life, marriage, etc. and I said, “How old are you? How old is B? (husband) How long have you been married?” Then I said, “Every man his age has a midlife crisis and every woman your age has a midlife crisis. Every marriage has a crisis at that point. Just hang on and don’t make too much out of it.” I think she thought I was condescending at first but then she realized I wasn’t. I’d just been there and seen others. I said, “It’s too bad all those crises are colliding. Just remember it’s not YOU.” I remember at her age (35) how shocked I was that I hadn’t fixed the world yet and my life was almost over!!!

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