Sunday, June 5, 2011

Age - Lists

A Phoenix from Scraps 
Applique and Embroidery

Take what you like and leave the rest.

List-making is one of my skills.  Every year around my birthday  I make an inventory of my expectations of  myself .  And I am often surprised with some of the things I come up with.

Take my expectations for my 39th birthday ( many thousands of years ago):

1) By thirty-nine I should have been well on the way to being a Grandmother.  That was always been one of my primary goals.  Unfortunately, I did not have a similar enthusiasm about being a Mother.

2) By thirty-nine I expected to find myself comfortably secure.  But life was quite different from what I expected, not always for the better.  There is the temptation to try to control the situation, to create a safe haven from outrageous fortune which will prevail against all hazards. This is your basic exorcize in futility.

3) Before forty, I wanted to be established in my field, hard at work.   I reached that goal.

That same year, I also noticed some strange feelings I didn't expect to have. Here are three of them.

 1. Relief. I was off the hook.  I was too old to be the world's youngest best-selling author, or youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner or the youngest person to ever have won an Oscar for best original screenplay.   I could relax now.

 2. There was a drive to hurry up and get done the things I hadn't yet done.   But that is always foolish.    If everything I wanted to do was listed, right now, it would take another three or four centuries minimum to accomplish, and that's not counting whatever I come up with tomorrow.

3. There was a temptation to let go of the dream while I got mine. World Peace, Justice for all and Ecological Balance is not going to happen in my lifetime. It was a very real temptation to concentrate on my own life and let somebody else do the dirty work.    Yet I knew I still had to do my part.

With the new understandings, I found myself, surprised, relieved and musing at how my priorities were changing.  I found myself thinking in new directions, which felt good.

And then the truth dawned on me.  All our lives, we meet or change or get rid of goals for ourselves.  All our lives, we set new goals.  It will never end – nor should it.  Even on our deathbeds, we are still learning and going forth to a new adventure.


  1. 39 and a grandmother wow, what a goal. I am 48 and my oldest son just graduated from high school, I hope I am not a grandmother for quite a while.

  2. At the age of 19.5 years I became a mother and by 39.5 years I was a grandmother and I became a a great-grand-mother during my 60th year.
    The article in Sundays newspaper about "Bucket List" was most interesting. I had either fulfilled the goal or it was never on my list to begin with. Most interesting....Now having reached 70 years I have new goals.One goal this summer is to raise a garden (even if it is growing in pots in my back year).