Monday, 14 September 2015

Nine Lives


So here we are, almost back to normal. A bit thinner, a bit greyer, a bit chastened, a bit the worse for wear, but alive and thinking of making elderberry wine. Beloved and Millie, carefully and slowly, went down to the big elder tree in the field to check on this year’s berries and yes, there’s an abundant crop waiting to be picked. With lots left for the birds. Best get on with it then.

One lifetime is not enough. We spend the first years learning to pick ourselves up after a tumble, doing our sums and letters, making best friends today and pulling each other’s hair out the next. When we stop crying and running to mum because the world does not turn at our command new problems arise. We fall in love. First love is always painful. Exhilarating, exciting, deeply disturbing, and always painful. Once we get the hang of this strange emotion, and love follows love, we settle down. Sometimes just for a stretch, or sometimes for life. Now problems come in tiny packages which, by and by, grow larger, bringing bigger problems. This is the long and arduous period when we are wholly preoccupied with earning a crust, raising the next generation and looking after the previous one.

There’s little time to sit back and think who we are and what we might have been put on this earth for.

Then we reach sixty. It has taken us all this time to grow up, to see sense, to stop being foolish, to choose peace over the endless treadmill of duties, obligations, commitments; actually, sixty might be a little optimistic, many of us are still running on the hamster’s wheel well beyond sixty.

The first health niggles appear, joints are not as flexible as they once were and we become familiar with the doctor’s surgery; we are on first name terms with the receptionist, and the aches and pains we used to take to mum we now take to the practice nurse.

Soon enough we’re old, in second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.*

And before this happens is where I’d ask for another lifetime. Not to start again from the beginning. Certainly not. Have all that hassle over again? No thank you. But building on the experiences of a lifetime, having learned from mistakes and gained peace of mind and serenity in daily dealings, that’s what I want. No ailments, either; let them stay away. At a stroke short-termism would be done away with. We (and that includes politicians who only ever plan for the short period they find themselves in office) could finally get down to  fulfilling our dreams; there’s time to achieve everything we once strove for, everything that got buried in busyness. We could lie in the grass on a summer’s night, look up to the stars, remember the early promises and make them come true. After all, there’s world enough and time, finally. ** And because we have done our duty and are done with it, we can do what we always wanted to do: Make A Difference. 


*'The seven ages of man’  Shakespeare
** “To his coy mistress’  Andrew Marvell





41 comments:

  1. What a nice find. I am sure I have never read this! How it touches a chord with us all. Yes, to have more time, but will all our senses fully intact. Beloved looks happy and could we ask for more?

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  2. Welcome back, Friko. Good to hear from you. I went back and read some earlier posts to remind myself of what had happened with you and Beloved. I'm glad you're still writing. Your days may seem dull and repetitive to you, but still you trigger thought with what you write.
    Now, if you have time, go read a book and travel away for a bit.

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  3. ... i'll turn 60 in December, and intend a bit longer in da hamster wheel ... for various reasons ... my plan is to get away from my first love as far as I can and then return on my own terms ... maybe ... smiles ... it's all good ... love the pic of your beloved and millie ... Love, cat.

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  4. Ahhhh, peace restored. Savour each moment. No second chances at the life gig.

    XO
    WWW

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  5. We just have to enjoy every day we are given with as much gusto as we can muster! ;-)

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  6. So happy to hear that life has (mostly) returned to an even keel.
    And yes to being able to dispense with ailments and building on experience. With the time to lie in the grass and marvel at the stars.

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  7. Hah ... if only! But anyway, Beloved's lookin' good! And Millie too.

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  8. My husband had a cardiac arrest 20 months ago. Tonight we are sleeping at Lake Bled, Slovenia, at the end of a 16-day tour of Central Europe - flying home to the States on Wednesday. His recovery took a bit of time and a lot of anxious thoughts, but life goes on and we are good. Glad to see your Beloved up and about.

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  9. Beloved and Millie look great. Time is a great healer. And sometimes there really are second chances. Enjoy!

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  10. So good to see your post and the picture of your Beloved and Millie. I am not sure that I would like to live the last 10 years again. However, I would like a try at my 40's again, but knowing what I know now.

    May your days continue to improve.

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  11. "And before this happens is where I’d ask for another lifetime. Not to start again from the beginning. Certainly not. Have all that hassle over again? No thank you. But building on the experiences of a lifetime, having learned from mistakes and gained peace of mind and serenity in daily dealings, that’s what I want." Words to live by, and what a beautiful thing to see Beloved, there with Millie, making elderberry wine. We raise a toast across the miles to you, Beloved, and Millie too.

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  12. What wonderful news and a heartwarming picture of Millie and Beloved in this post.

    I am so glad for you!!! Each day we have with our loves is a precious gift. I miss mine every single day, memories fill my heart, and his love surrounds me.

    Love, hugs and best wishes for many more good days together for you, Beloved and Millie.

    FlowerLady

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  13. I too am thankful for the days and moments that I share with my own Beloved, knowing that it's all transient, and giving thanks for these quiet and non-momentous days. So very happy to see you three content and moving on from the past. Sending you lots of Yes and Yes Indeeds. :-)

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  14. I was nodding with every word. Bless you all.

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  15. Millie and your Beloved look content there in the sunshine. Moments like these are ones to hang on to and cherish. Oh yes, life at its fullest is all too short. We are such slow learners, most of us, and neglect the best for the good. So glad that your life is returning to a more even keel.

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  16. Great reflection on life. I always say I would like to do my teaching career over again but with the knowledge and experience I had when I retired.

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  17. I'm so glad that things are on the up...and that you are still yourself through it all.

    I would love to be thirty again and know what I know now...I would not have been content with peaceful action; I would be looking out a Lochaber axe to take to those opponents of that time who ruined my society in later years.

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  18. Friko, this past weekend i had a Major Birthday. I am glad to report that even if its nearness and arrival have taken place, I truly don't feel any lesser enthusiasm for the years to come or energy to face them. However...keeping to what you've written here, I am rather glad to imagine/think that I do now have time to appreciate what those past decades have shown me valuable and not so valuable.

    I appreciate this gift.

    I also very much appreciate your sharing the photo of your Beloved husband and sweet Millie in a sunshiny place. Best wishes to all and to the elderberry project. Elder-berry...what a name, don't you think? xo

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  19. This important essay is too big for just a blog post. Please submit it where it will be appreciated. You speak for me more eloquently than I could ever express it. Bless Millie and the 2 of you for a fullness of years. Yes, not enough.



    ALOHA
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^=

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  20. What a relief this "almost back to normal" must be for all of you, dear Friko! It's so good to know that Beloved is able to do such things again. Congratulations are in order, I believe.

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  21. Hi Friko - so pleased to see Jeremy and Millie - all happy and enjoying the harvest of late summer. The elderberries are abundant this year ... Just very happy to know the three of you are over those travails ... and yes wouldn't it be lovely to be able to luxuriate in our later years without a care in the world. We live and learn - and that continues on ...

    I love reading your posts and thoughts ... so sent with Sussex cheers from a wet, squally coast! All the best - Hilary

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  22. ...yes, sans everything - but we are alive, sun still shines and darkness descents, and rain falls,. And there MIGHT be smell left, and taste, and sounds and sights - a butterfly, a bird chirp, the scent of a rose, a glass of wine, a cup of coffee (tea maybe?), a cookie - so it is not sans everything mostly - we still can enjoy so much, get a hug and a caress, and give one - and we can smile and laugh, an make ourselves feel good... in spite of... and maybe not all the time, but here and there... :-)

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  23. Oh I am sooo happy to see this post and hear that things are going well. :) :)
    So true! By the time we figure things out--our bodies are pooping out on us. Life is short, but it's wide.

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  24. This photo has just made my day - after your many months of healing behind you - heck - I'd come help pick the berries too if I lived closer. This is just wonderful news and your post beautifully written. What a brilliant find. I love how you share treasures like this with all of us. Thanks so much and passing a virtual hug to you both. lol

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  25. So glad things are almost back to normal, or at least what passes for normal at this point. I feel so lucky that here at 65 the only health issue I have is hypothyroid that I take a pill for. And while I do have arthritis in my thumb joints, all the rest of them still seem flexible enough.

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  26. What a rich read this is! Wise woman you are, Friko, accepting what is, and finding beauty and comfort in the making of elderberry wine. Joys such as these only come after one has lived, and meditated, and lived with open eyes and an open heart. Do share this more widely; send it to the local paper, at least. At our age, this is how we live, this says, with grace and elegance, and hope, and mostly, with open eyes and an open heart. Brava!

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  27. I sighed as I read, and sighed at the end. Your words carried contentment all the way over here. I'm so happy for you, and your Beloved -- and Millie! who must be as happy as anyone to have a bit of normalcy in her life. I'd not go back, but I feel -- sometimes sharply -- that sense of not enough time. And yet, each of us has all the time there is. All we need is to make our decisions about how to spend it. Elderberry wine seems a perfect beginning.

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  28. I like your new lifetime concept and after reading this I realize I need to make my new lifetime now, instead of wait until I realize I need one. That photo of Beloved and Millie (and you in absentia holding the camera!) made me smile outright. It is a wonderful photo and I think an even more special memory or experience for you -- to see your gang together, happy, a little worn, a lot better. I feel as though we are all running out of time and that there will be plenty of things that come in the path that aren't good, that we'll all wish never happened. But that means making "now" all the better. This is simply a beautiful post, so thoughtful, so rich. Definitely a keeper.

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  29. i like the sound of this. sounds like actual progress and definite hope. probably mostly there is less exhaustion?

    I've found that depletion take its good old time getting refilled. in case you might have forgotten that… :^)

    good to hear, friko

    love
    kj

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  30. I believe he wrote that poem to seduce his mistress. Yes, you think you have all the time in the world, however, it goes by quickly...too quickly. Glad to see B up and having a good time. MIllie looks pleased also.

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  31. Lovely photo and splendid news .
    I second your proposal for an Indian Summer after retirement ... but only if it doesn't include endless Keep Fit , Super foods and Nordic walking . Otherwise I'll just get old in peace .

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  32. This is a wonderful dream. I'm so glad Beloved is more himself. Pace yourself and enjoy.

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  33. All we can do is put only foot in front of the other untill the hamster wheel grinds to a halt:(

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  34. This is such a wise post. And I'm so glad that your Beloved is more himself now.

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  35. Sounds like things are moving in a positive direction, which must feel hopeful.

    I wouldn't mind starting again at about 45, say.

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  36. Elderberry wine sounds great and making ones own better still. I wonder how it will enhance the contentment yet to follow?
    I enjoy much of being an elder now mostly when feeling weel and at the start of my 70ties with my limitations growing too.

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  37. Loved this. Beloved is better. He is making wine. You have written a beautiful, reflective piece.

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