I used to think I was relevant. I had gritty things to say about pertinent current topics. I knew what I knew and I knew it was important, make-the-world-a-better-place kind of stuff. A friend once told me I was an interesting person and I believed her.
In many ways I feel that parts of me are waning. Not entirely. I hope I’m still interesting. But the gritty, pertinent, current part. Don’t take this to mean I’m looking for affirmations. I simply mean that who I am in the world and the role I play has changed. Dramatically.
I wasn’t forced to. I choose to.
The reason I choose to retire was exactly what I’m talking about here. I had offered my field everything I could. I had squeezed myself dry. What Sylvia could do for on-reserve housing (my field of work, study, expertise, experience…in general my life’s passion) had been done. There are still side jobs and I’m happy to do them. But my life no longer circles around and around my work. And better still. Other people are doing the job. As well, or better than I did it. Not better because they have more commitment, or smarts, or passion or fire in their bellies but better because they are more current. Better because they can take the thing where it needs to go. We share one foot. The one situated in the present. My other foot is in the past. Their other foot is in the future. And that is how it should be.
I am becoming less interested in the content matter that I have stuffed in my head and more interested in the wisdom I can pull out of my experiences. I know it sounds heavy and more than a little self-congratulatory calling myself wise. It’s a characteristic that should only be ascribed to someone by someone else. But it is only wisdom that interests me these days.
The sum, aggregate, distillation of a life of inspiration and insight—wisdom. The words, touch, music, art and everyday acts of doing—sharing. There is no wisdom without sharing.
Ferron, of course Ferron, brilliantly put how many of us older women feel these days.
“My best guess for me is that I was on the train and then got off…to pee, get an ice cream, buy a book. And the train left. And I can’t catch up.”
We don’t need to run after the train. We can catch the next one. Or we can stroll down the road until our new place in life catches up with us.
All of us crones–the old girls who “have found our voices (or who are looking for our voices) and who know that silence is consent” (from Jean Shinoda Bolen) can do it together at the second, soon to be fantastic, Ferron writing workshop taking place October 26-29 at the Saturna Lodge. Check it out.