Sixty-seven years ago today, on a cold, snowy Sunday afternoon, I was born. My star sign is Pisces and on the Chinese Zodiac it is the year of the sheep or goat, perhaps the most auspicious sign of the future life of the baby me.
On this, my Happy Birthday, I am more thankful than happy. I am thankful for my life, that my parents had one more child before they called it quits. I am and have been an incredibly privileged person. Like everyone, I am still learning what privilege is and how deeply set it is in the structure of our society. But one of my most important privileges is that I was taught to be thankful and even with my family’s limited understanding of privilege I was constantly reminded that I should not take it for granted but that I should acknowledge everyday that there are people who are struggling in ways I can hardly imagine.
On this troubled day as I look back and forward over the life I was given and the one I have made and as I try to make sense of it there are some things that I know and can be sure of.
In spite of the overwhelming spitefulness and pessimism blanketing the planet I know that where there is life there is hope. There is spectacular beauty in the world. This is the time to seek it out and experience it.
In spite of the assault on clear thinking and the deliberate battering of legitimate information and knowledge by mindless chants such as “fake news”, I know many people will continue to seek the sensible. This is the time to lend my mind and voice to reason.
In spite of the current protests by people drawing attention to their personal inconveniences, I believe many people will remain focused on the real losses of freedom around the world and here at home. This is the time for me to continue to find practical ways to help those who have been colonized, brutalized and marginalized.
In spite of our recent diversions I believe we will remember Greta and that humans everywhere share a common foe that will dwarf our current conflicts. This is the time to support the intelligent work being done in the field of climate adaptation and the thinking that goes beyond our self-centred human concerns and includes all natural beings.
In spite of the arguments I engage in about the anatomy of the myriad current and pending disasters I will remember that I am a grandmother and that the role of grandmothers has always been the same…to provide safety, certainty and constancy for her grandchildren…to bring joy and peace into their lives…and, most importantly, to love.
That’s enough for one getting-old woman. This is the time for me to work on providing a peaceful space for friends and family and visitors…a space not fraught with the petty or the politics of conflict…a calm place where people can soothe their spirits and heal their hurts. I figure that’s enough for year 67.