Loads Of Questions, Fewer Answers

“When I was One I had just begun

When I was Two I was nearly new

When I was Three I was hardly me

When I was Four I was not much more

When I was Five I was just alive

But now I’m Six, I’m as clever as clever

So I think I’ll be Six now for ever and ever”  – A.A. Milne

So, my cohort group is turning sixty next year.  Sixty.  It’s an impressive number.  Jo will enter this decade first (though at the end of the day, first or last the goal is to get there and keep going), and it prompted a lot of conversation about what the heck it means.

In an effort to avoid the obvious, we didn’t come up with anything particularly cogent.  And that got me thinking, which as you know, is typically dangerous.

As we grow up, we measure our accomplishments by how old we are.  At six or seven, there’s first grade and entering real school.  Turning ten, at double-digits – one proudly has succeeded at no longer being ‘little’ and has become by rite of age,  way cooler than anyone who is younger.  Celebrating the introduction to being a legitimate teen-ager at thirteen, it’s even sweeter at sixteen.  When eighteen knocks at the door, it brings the perceived gift of becoming ‘legal’, getting out of the house and the anticipation that for all intents and purposes, society will consider you a grown-up in three short years.  Of course by the time one is thirty, the realization that learning to be an adult is no longer an acceptable excuse.  And so on and so on…

Our self-definition and stories are inextricably tied to our age.  What we learned and when we learned it.  I think we could have extended conversations about the decades we have lived – tying our stories and our years together in crazy, multi-colored bows.

Somewhere along the way though, we realize that life is measured not in years but in exquisite moments of attention.  When the question that begs to be answered is less about our individual successes, accomplishments and somewhat self-absorbed chatter, and more about what we have brought to the table.  Did we offer life a groaning board of our best selves or did we just sit there expecting to be fed?  (Given that Thanksgiving is next week, it seemed like a good analogy).  Though we got here while acknowledging chronological landmarks along the way, such landmarks no longer define the road.  We are left now to figure out the topography, and the area is large.

And the dialogue changes focus – am I giving the best I’ve got?  Am I more about others and less about me?  And if I live another sixty years, will I create a path that others will choose to walk with me?

39 thoughts on “Loads Of Questions, Fewer Answers

  1. Beautiful and true, Mimi. Years ago, I read a book called “Mutant Message from Downunder” about the aboriginal peoples of Australia. In it the author described the fact that they did not celebrate birthdays, but they did celebrate a person coming into their own wisdom and abilities, whatever those happened to be – from finding water on “walkabouts” to building structures, to creating art, or whatever.

  2. A typical witty, warm and wise post, honey, and so spot-on for many of *my* ruminations of late. I’m peering down the barrel of the big 5-0 next year. I’m not really sure where the past 5 decades have gone–a blink of the eye and here we are–and I can only imagine what the next years hold, however many of them I am blessed to be given. What I *do* know, however, is that my minutes, hours, days and weeks are infinitely sweeter because of the precious relationships I have been graced with over the years.

    I write this with my little love bug Lola snuggled up in my lap, snoring softly. She’s such a great role model–she gives me pure love every single day and just asks me to love her in return. When ya get down to brass tacks, it’s really that simple. This is life–there is no dress rehearsal–we have to suck the marrow out of every day and remember that in the end, we get back what we give out… xoxox, L

    P.S. I love A.A. Milne…

    • Of course you love AA Milne!! And of course Lola would be the sensai (and if you could bring her over to my house I would appreciate it – I have a little nugget who could use some instruction)…I think these are the thoughts we are supposed to be having about now, yes? And the gifs we have been given? Never ever to be taken for granted. xoxo, m

  3. Mimi, I’ve missed you. I still love double digits best. :-) but apparently, 40 brought important self reflection and ultimately, the end of my marriage. :-( which is also beautiful in its own way. And I will walk with you on any path any day. Hope you’re doing well. Sorry I have been MIA.

    • Jenni hi!!! I’ve missed you too..I’m sorry that you’ve been gone for such incredibly challenging and sad reasons – and still you find the unique beauty in these directions that life has taken you. It’s good to hear from you – and I send you abundant hugs and wishes for joy…xox

  4. Interesting as I have just turned 51 I can say what I know more than before is that I do not have answers for little questions or big questions so I stopped asking questions and now just live in the moment…………….hang on I have always lived in the moment…………..which may be why I don’t have answers…………..lol

  5. so beautiful, Mimi!! especially love this phrase: Life is measured not in years but in exquisite moments of attention. Wow. Have forwarded this to my mom as well–thinking she’d appreciate. You’ve done it again, taking thoughts I’m sure I had somewhere deep down but never in a million years would have been able to articulate. I think that your thinking is not a dangerous thing at all.

    And. I received the A.A. Milne book you quoted from a great-Aunt when I was 6 and have since passed it on to my daughters. Have always loved that poem.

    Happy pre-birthday. Woohoo! Your cohort is looking at a wild year ahead, I’d bet :-D

    • Hi Liz,
      You don’t think it’s dangerous because your thoughts probably run around in your head and collide willy-nilly, as mine do! I adore A.A. Milne and find that some of the most fundamental truths are written by authors who directed their efforts to children. Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Milne…writing for children who will grow up and read their work as adults and love them for far different reasons than they originally did…

  6. You’ve done it again my friend, somehow taken what’s in between it all and put it right in front of us, so eloquently.

    This:
    And the dialogue changes focus – am I giving the best I’ve got? Am I more about others and less about me? And if I live another sixty years, will I create a path that others will choose to walk with me?

    That is a question that I think we all should ask ourselves every day, whether it’s 20, 38, 41 or 68….will I create a path that others want to join? That’s going to stick with me. Because it’s a great question and while I may never know the answer, I want to keep asking that of myself.

    OH, and I agree with Liz, your thinking is not dangerous at all! :) It’s beautiful! On the ‘eve’ of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for you. xo

    • Oh BonBon – when I think about the people I have met, and the friendships I have made, I too am beyond grateful for you too. I think about ‘how’ I’m living often – arguably more as I get older. Because all the stuff (other than being a mom, wife, sister, daughter, etc) that I spent all this time obsessing about really didn’t have anything to do with the stuff that matter, the qualities I value or the people that I admire…We should ask these questions often I agree – and if we don’t like our answers, we should do the work to change them. xox

  7. Pingback: Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss – Lead.Learn.Live.

  8. This is a fantastic post Mimi. Whilst I agree with your sentiment (of giving your best in the moments of life), I do not think that you should sell yourself short (as in your comment to Bonnie) that “all the stuff that I spent all this time obsessing about” was not worthwhile. I am sure that you gave your best in dealing with the “stuff” and thereby made a valuable contribution to society. That is also important, Yes, the focus changes once that stuff is gone, but we need to let go of any regret that we may have that we should have done better and accept that we did the best that we could at the time.
    (By the way, this is another pep talk to myself. Your posts seem to trigger these pep talks to myself). :)

    • Laughing…I really love that you and I can offer each other pep talks in our conversations. And you’re right – and have me thinking about this in a different way (and will muddle it some more before I post about it)…Thank you for the ‘reality’ check and the reminder. I was important – though perhaps in a different way. hugs Elizabeth, hugs…

  9. I remember when I could say: I am a decade old! (like it was yesterday, which in some parts of my noggin, it most assuredly is..lol)

    MiMi–I am a selfish ole b**ch and I need to work on it! I always feel so much better when I give freely, it’s almost a present to myself an act of altruism.

    good reminder…I keep meaning to get to it, when X, Y, and Z have transpired–but maybe it needs to start even without these ducks (mixing metaphors!! acck!) in a row…Kinda like having kids…or at least that’s what I hear…

    Hope your holidays are great, and family-licious!! :) :)

    • Oh I doubt you’re a selfish ole b—ch – I think you’re a pretty awesome woman with a generous talent that is equally impressive. So, not letting you get away with that..;-) Have a glorious holiday!! I start cooking tomorrow and will continue straight through Thursday…

  10. A big Canadian High five my friend on yet another brilliant one!!
    If I don’t catch you, have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
    Ours was in October and I already thanked God for YOU!!
    Luv and Light Ms Mimi :)

  11. Pingback: Thanksgiving in the blogosphere, French bread, and lots of blog links | food for fun

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