I don't know what bothers me more: the fact that my last posting went out over the RSS feed with typing errors or the fact that I was too blind to see the squiggly red line under the mis-typed words to notice. (My defense is that I really do know how to spell--okay, I admit, I occasionally invert the ie,ei construction--but my typing skills are mediocre at best. Some defense, huh?). Add to that the creaking knee, the twisted ankle, the back that reminds me daily that I am no longer 22 and have not been for years, well, decades and you have a formula for humility. Maybe that's the point of sticking around for birthdays to accumulate. Humility mixed with honesty and the confidence that we have (hopefully) earned frees us from any need to to explain ourselves to the world.
After I recovered from the shock of turning forty several birthdays ago, I was grateful for the freedom to speak my mind with less hesitation (I can hear the gasps of disbelief from those who have known me for years that I think I ever kept my mouth shut) and just be who I am. The gift of the ticking clock is that you know you don't have as much time to care what others think of you; you need to get on with the business of living. No wonder in our not so distant history folks who lived longer than forty years were the tribal elders. They walked through a door they didn't know was there until they crossed its threshold.
I've been trying to come up with a concluding paragraph for this piece. I left it for a while and busied myself with arranging ornaments on the tree and straightening the kitchen so that my brain could cook this a bit. What came to mind was how grateful I am for countless blessings of all the imperfectly wonderful people I have been privileged to know. I am grateful for the process of aging and the streaks of silver and the need for face cream. I am grateful because along with these signs of decrepitude comes the benefits of the deepening wrinkles in my soul. It would be very sad if I were to stand before the pearly gates and presented God with the smooth shiny soul I was given as a baby. I hope when my time comes I can present a soul that is well worn and crinkled from a life well and deeply, and oh so imperfectly, lived.