I grew up with 3 siblings, all older than me. My interests were different than all three, which meant I spent my free time alone in my imaginary life, feeding my dolls, mothering, teaching. For the first 8 years, I had few friends, and none who lived nearby.
A spike in building took place in my neighborhood which brought a change in my friend status. Girls moved in all around the neighborhood, turning quiet days alone into days filled with knocks on the door, cartwheels in the yard, performance competitions, singing, games, gymnastics camps and slumber parties.
I fulfilled my dream of motherhood right out of high school, and in fits and starts, established myself as an adult, not knowing what direction I was best to go. In eventuality, with a psychology degree, a certification in special education, and a family complete with yours, mine and ours, I stopped teaching after 7 years to homeschool my "ours." This included managing an interdenominational choir for middle schoolers, complete with musicals and traveling concerts. I led worship, secretaried, media'd and kept books in church for 10 years, while raising children to love the Lord.
My children have all moved on, 3 moved off to other states. I now spend my days singing oldies, playing games, planning art workshops, hosting coffees; I play pool, Bingo, Pokeno and have poker nights. I dance in the dining room before dinner to the music from my upbringing and that of others, who delight in their "youth." I arrange Powerpoint slideshows of smiling seniors enjoying - again - interests from their lives past. "You have so much energy" they say, some standing up from their chairs to dance with me, beaming, with their feet safely planted on the floor, their arms moving wildly. For those moments, for both them and me, we are not an age. We are simply ourselves, delighting in doing what, in our past, gave us joy. It's what we love, and if our bodies allow us, we will spend our days wringing life out of every moment we are given.
Mine is a life carefully woven, by a masterful hand. I have joy unspeakable, which I'm allowed, paid even, to carry out daily with my people. The smiles on their faces feed my desire to help them find quality of life. I was led to this moment, beginning the journey, at 8 years old. The music my father and mother played on phonograph records - Harry Belefonte', The Tijuana Brass, Limelighters, Mahi Beamer, Andy Williams, Beethoven and Bach - all now delight these individuals I have the pleasure of nurturing. The singing - we croon together, and we know all the words. They pick themselves up because the music and their memories demand it, and they obey with only a bit of hesitancy, a sparkle, and then triumph.
I have come full circle. One would think I'd dutifully resign myself to the next 'stage' of my life, of an empty nest, slowing down and preparing to sit and watch as others dance. Well, no. That is not the way I was made, and I will regale my seniors up to their ends and myself to my end. The gifts of God - music, movement, art, poetry, socialization - they are to be enjoyed while we have life, and we do.