Top Ten at 70
My grandson turned 12 last week. I asked him how it felt to be 12. He said, “About the same as it felt to be 11.” I told him, “Just wait till you’re 13 or 14.”
It’s kind of the same for me. Yesterday I was 69. Today I’m 70, and I don’t feel different. But just wait till I’m—what?—78, 82, 90?
Since it’s the last week of the David Letterman show, I thought I’d do a Top Ten.
10. Living in a vibrant, interesting city. (I’ll leave the heat, humidity, traffic and allergies for another day.)
9. Having enough: enough for necessities and a few luxuries, a comfortable, paid-for home, and the wherewithal for interesting travel now and then.
8. Enjoying reading, music, theater and the other arts.
7. Prozac. Plus the bennies of being an older woman: more grounded, centered, confident and able to cope with crisis and stress.
6. Producing more art and doing more writing than ever before, with more projects in mind than I may ever get to.
5. Being connected to several supportive and loving communities: good friends, neighbors, fellow poets and artists and fabulous Unitarian Universalists.
4. Parenting two beautiful daughters, a terrific son-in-law, and being in touch with extended family in Ohio, Florida, the U.K., France and New Zealand.
3. Grandchildren (they get their own category). I’ve heard that Thich Nhat Hanh calls the grandparent-grandchild relationship the purest love there is, but I haven’t been able to track down the quote.
2. Being married to a sweet, good, funny and talented man.
The Number-One best thing about being 70:
I’m strong and healthy with no serious problems. After a scare just over 10 years ago, every day is a miracle. A doctor once told me there is an old Muslim saying: “The secret to a long and happy life is to develop a chronic condition and take good care of it.” I have several. I do take care of them, and they are pretty well managed. I weigh less than I did at 20, and I’m much fitter.
I can’t know how many more of these good years I have—all the more reasons for extreme gratitude today.
A fraction of the girl I am today (about age 7). The giraffes were green.