Last Saturday my half-Italian husband told me about a funny thing that happened earlier that day when he was at the grocery store with his brother-in-law, Gary. “Where’s the tomato sauce?” he asks Gary. Gary looks up and points to a sign and says, “Aisle 3. It says ‘tomato sauce.’”
Okay. Time for a confession. Until recently I’ve been quite mature about aging. I’ve pumped myself with platitudes like, Why fight the inevitable? It’s just a number. Accept it with grace. Be kind to yourself. It’s a phase everyone goes through…if they’re lucky enough to live that long. Stay active. You can still be a useful member of society. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…. Then, about halfway into my 70th year, the s**t hit the fan.
Two questions interested me: “Why is it important to re-invent myself at this stage of life?” and “What qualities would enable the reinvention of my craft?” Since crossroads and transitions are common to all at crucial times in our lives, I decided to share my musings.
In The Hero Within, Pearson highlights six major archetypes which are influential on the hero’s journey. These are the Innocent, Orphan, Martyr, Wanderer, Warrior and Magician.
Writing has always suited my personality. One of my earliest memories is of folding pieces of paper together to make a book. When I was ten I was 30 pages into a novel before I tore it up in disgust because I had no idea what I wanted to say. As a teenager my favorite thing to do when I got home from school was to write plays.
I am so proud of my children: how they turned out, who they married, how well they are raising their children. Their parenting styles are different in many ways, yet both sets of children are delightful: sweet, funny, bright, good-natured, well mannered….(I could go on, of course, but I’ll spare you more grandparental gushing!) Our time together reminds me that no matter how well-prepared we may be for the role of parenting, much of how we approach this most difficult of all jobs is the result of unconscious factors over which we have no control.