Red and I were having lunch yesterday with a dear friend, Sandy, who is nearly the same age I am. Let’s just say that Sandy and I have raised our children. We were talking about how often women are depressed by reaching certain notches on the time belt. I personally went into a deep funk when I hit 60. Sandy reminded me of that fact and sat back just a little before she made a thoughtful comment.
Sandy: You know… that’s all wrong.
Red: What is?
Sandy: Getting depressed at this time in our lives.
Kathy: Why do you say that?
Sandy: Okay, so we’ve raised our kids, finally know ourselves pretty well, have extra time on our hands and what do we do – cry about not being young anymore! I don’t want to be “Forever Young” or even “Young at Heart.” I want to be my age and celebrate it. This IS a time for celebration.
Kathy: (smiling widely as realization dawns) Ah! I see. So, embrace the freedom and knowledge that comes with the age.
Red: Hey, ladies, I have quite a few more years before I reach your age and I don’t have kids.
Sandy: Oh, hush. I hate to be the one to remind you but you’re fictional. You can be and do anything Kathy thinks up for you. In fact, some of the stuff you’ve done are things Kathy wishes she’d done. Right, Kath?
Kathy: Well, yeah. That’s probably true of most writers’ characters.
Red: But in real life… you still think getting older is something to celebrate?
Sandy: Of course! Now we have time to spend on our dreams. Now we know ourselves well enough to try new things; not to get ahead or prove we can do it, but just because we always wanted to.
Kathy: Like what?
Sandy: Well…like playing with fusion glass. I’ve always wanted to try that. You’ve always wanted to travel more, so figure out a way to do that.
Kathy: You’re right! And I’ve always wanted to try my hand at sculpture, silver smithing, prospecting for gold…
Sandy: (laughing) Whoa, girl! You probably have a list a mile long. The truth is now you really can do these things. There’s nothing to stop you.
Red: Yeah, Kathy, let’s push our funk over a cliff so it can’t come back - ever! Time to celebrate.
Kathy: Our funk? (I asked quizzically)
Red: (giving me a frustrated look) Well, except when you write me into scenes, I live in your head. Why do you think I zipped off to outer rings of consciousness? It was getting a little dreary in there. Hey, girls, how about a pitcher of Bloody Marys?
Sandy: Count me in!
Kathy: I hate to break it to you ladies, but they don’t serve anything but wine here.
Red: Ah, well, the sacrifices we make!
The three of lifted our glasses of tea, water and Red’s imaginary Bloody Mary and toasted to finally getting to the ripe old age of “Freedom to Explore.”