Aging has never held terror for me. When my hair started to grey, I shrugged. When my metabolism changed, and food and drink started showing up as extra pounds, I put everything on the big balance scale and decided to enjoy life.
What added some worry into the years was ending a marriage in my mid-50s and realizing I might be alone the rest of my life. Being alone doesn’t bother me. I’m a social solitary, a term that describes my absolute joy in the company of friends and complete comfort in solitude.
That’s fine while I’m healthy, but when I added the possibility of decline or incapacity into my happy equation, a black shadow appeared over my contentment. That was before the unexpected delight of meeting Robin, who has become my life companion. It was also before I met the group of friends whose warmth surrounds me better than a down quilt.
We got together Monday (June 4th) to celebrate Hylton’s birthday. At 61 he’s one of the younger members of our group. He’s also one of those people who draw people the way a magnet attracts iron filings. So when I sent out an e-mail inviting this loosely composed group to a lunch in his honour, I knew we would need a venue that would accommodate a good number of us. (Sharon was half of that decision. She’s the woman in the photo.)
More came than I had reserved space for, but the restaurant added tables and chairs, and we were all close enough to feel part of the group. The food wasn’t the important part. Looking around and seeing so many people we could count on was.
I’ve only lived in Kelowna, B.C., seven years. I’m enjoying my 34th home. After two marriages that ended, I never expected (or wanted) to be in a partnership again. When I accepted a job in Kelowna, British Columbia, I anticipated I would be here a few years then head off to teach English in Thailand or Viet Nam or Kenya.
“Man plans; God laughs” comes to mind. I never expected to make Australia my only travel destination, but that is where Robin’s children live. To my surprise, I love it.
I never expected to fall into such a delightful group of friends. Instead of a doddering, boring collection of has-beens, I’ve found a warm, welcoming, accepting group who would actually notice if I didn’t show up.
They have taken the fear out of aging. OK, I never really had any deep fear of aging, but I look around the group and know we matter to each other. That is huge. I’m grateful, and I thank Hylton for the reminder.