How it's possible, I have no idea, but my sixtieth birthday is upon me in the next few days. In the ramp-up to this event, I've experienced a bizarrely wide range of events, from major travel (absolutely perfect, thrilling, soul-expanding), to a major medical situation with my Loved One (not so thrilling, but also soul-expanding in its way). Now I'm in the midst of re-organizing and re-decorating my office/writing space, and my social space/music room. I can't say that this was a conscious choice. It was more like the kind of delicious madness that descends on and envelops you when you fall in love. I simply found myself being wafted along on a wave of certain action, even though such actions really could be viewed as at least mildly mad.
I sit here at this moment, poised between the old and new. Despite my best efforts at efficiency, the new furniture was delivered before the old furniture is fetched away by the Salvation Army. This feels a little like having one's ex show up at your wedding: presenting the not-so-welcome "opportunity" to compare and contrast.
That the old furniture contains the energies of the life before this one is something I hadn't really realized until I began to open to letting it go. To all things there is a season, I know, but so many seasons have gone by, and yet the old pieces have sat, their roots tangled up in the foundations of my life. The opportunity to move out these old pieces has been within logistical, if not psychological, reach for a long time. Why now?
Ah, but it's these milestones that seem to push us forward, and I've always been one to try to get a jump on such things. Thirty was the first Big One I saw coming from more than a year away, and I faced that one by planning a solo trip to Great Britain, as wondrous in its way, its season, as the recent journey I've just returned from (a subject for some other blog).
This one, this Big One, feels bigger than any since Thirty, for some reason. Perhaps it's that my body is speaking more loudly these days, or maybe whining is a better verb. Perhaps it's that my life is full of near and dear who are significantly ahead of me on the road, so that the inevitabilities of age are front and center.
Today, with the old sofa and the new, the old recliner and the new, all jumbled together, as if elbowing each other in their competing claim for psychic space, I, too, hover between the old and the new, the life I have led, the life ahead. Cleaning out the shelves and boxes, a chain reaction has ignited. Necessitated by the incoming and outgoing, I am cultivating a new rigor in selectivity, as I plow through relic after relic, required, with each new item, to decide: keep or toss?
There is both richness and mustiness in this accumulation of old papers, photos, letters, remnants of accolades, reminders of heartache. So much gets kept through inertia. Maybe that's part of what spurs me onward. I begin to see how the weight of what we can't bring ourselves to part with is at constant war with our energy and will to push onward, to keep from being mired in our own backward-facing memories. I begin to see that my own physical ability to cope with the detritus of my life - the good and bad - is only going to further ebb as time goes by.
I, for one, have decided that my cranky body and I are going to keep facing forward, moving forward, finding and following ways of adventure and expansion and wonder that aren't tied to muscle or bone. I look at the new furniture, and see that it suits who I am now, who I am becoming, who I want to be, in this (OMG!) seventh decade of life. I'll keep the tender bits, but my criteria for what is tender get more and more stringent. It's not just bringing in the new, it's the mindfulness that allows in only that which feeds my soul, my creativity,pulling me forward and upward, leaving enough space to breathe.
Yeah, it's feeling like a very happy birthday.