Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A half of a century today -- thoughts on life

For years I thought to myself, Fifty is the half-way point. Past fifty I begin the downhill run. And then I met Pierre. He has a running joke (?) that he will live to 150. So perhaps today I am only 1/3 of the way through this life. Wiki says that the world's average life expectancy is 66.12 yrs--obviously varying greatly by where we live on the planet. The US is up there when it comes to lifespan... the CIA's estimate for 2008 is between 77.5 and 80 years. Canada is 80+. Makes me wonder whether socialized medicine has anything to do with that? The inability to "jump the queue" if you have the means to buy medical care, the evened-out playing field for the wealthy and the poor when illness strikes. Or perhaps it's the generally more gentle nature of our Canadian friends, the perceived lack of need for weapons to protect their families from the constantly televised violence in the US. Whatever the reasons, our northern neighbors get a few extra years on average. Then there are the extremes who live at the far ends of the bell curve... the young people who take their lives or die from diseases, in wars, or in accidents that break our hearts, the elders who outlive all of their peers. I am blessed with still having my 94 yr old Grampsy here. A powerful patriarch stubbornly holding onto his car keys. Resisting our family's loving urging to consider assisted living. He beats the odds daily, unfiltered Camels notwithstanding. And perhaps giving his family hope that we carry his long-lived genes as well as his stubborn streak.
This was the first year of my life I have spent my birthday celebrating
with my loved ones completely remotely. Phone calls, emails, Facebook, skype... I thank God for the technology that connects us and the people who love me and give the precious gift of their time. And once again I give thanks for the soft golden fur and the warm deep brown eyes of Porter without whom this day would certainly have been far more solitary.
The coming year looks to hold many changes-- for our world and for my personal journey --which I welcome with great anticipation. The myriad of unknowns is vast,
the list of details is sometimes daunting, and yet my hope and belief in a better future prevails. As one of my favorite teachers, Mary Morrissey has been known to say, "Go to the edge of the light you see and take the next step." Lord/Life/Universe... may my next 50 years hold even half as many blessings as the last, may I step forward fearlessly in faith and gratitude, and may I learn how to love more completely every day. And So It Is.....

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