How do I introduce myself to people I have never met? Who do I want to be to these people I will be writing with or for? Who am I, actually? Am I who I am when I have been at my best or my worst or something in the middle? Averaging it out seems as if it (and I) will be uninteresting, so I’m choosing the parts I love the most.
I am 74 years old and love my life. That might be the most important fact about me, but don’t ask me to provide a rationale for believing that. I am an activist, recently found guilty for criminal trespassing during a climate protest, which I have appealed, asking for a full jury trial.
I am a wife of thirty years and the mother of a 53-year-old man, which sounds impossible, but is true. In my mind, mothers of men in their fifties are old and boring, and maybe I am, but I don’t feel old and boring. I am the former owner of a now-deceased therapy dog, who I loved wholeheartedly and took weekly to visit Alzheimer units. I love to travel and have sailed across the Atlantic in a 43-foot boat with three other people and two parrots. At seventy, I walked the Camino three months before having a heart attack and a stroke, followed by a triple bypass. Just before the anesthesiologist put me under, I said to her, “I want you to know that I love my life,” and she responded, “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you’ll have plenty more of it,” which was the very nicest thing she could have said to me.
I didn’t begin college until I was thirty, majoring in physics and math. I loved being in college, having no plans or concerns for after. I have traveled this winding path where I could never see the destination, I just followed what I loved doing. I worked for fifteen years in the corporate world, starting as the company’s first computer specialist in Boston, when PC’s were new, ending up as their first national technology help desk manager, responsible for fifty US offices.
In my late 50’s, I completed a master’s in psychology, with a focus on gratitude, opened an office for personal life coaching, which I loved doing, then made an enormous change and became a high school special ed teacher and completed a master’s in education. I taught Algebra and tutored reading and writing to kids with dyslexia. That was a joy.
Forty years after completing my undergraduate studies, I contacted a math professor I had loved and have been delighted to share stories with her. She is now retired, of course, and writes poetry about math. It was fun to share her work with the head of the math department where I taught.
I’ve neglected to mention an underlying joy, my life as a Quaker for decades, with a deep involvement among New England Quakers. Another chunk of my life worth mentioning is my writing, not a desire, but currently a compulsion. I’m leaving out much, of course, especially the less happy parts, but these are some significant parts of my life that have made me love it so fully.
Let me end with this – I have just made reservations for Egypt in November, where I’ll spend my 75th birthday meditating in the great pyramid.