In February I finally reached 60. As with most milestones when reached, it feels surreal. I totally understand the notion of the mind of an 18-year old trapped in the body of a grandparent. Perhaps the mind of an 18-year old who’s had the benefit of 40+ years of life lessons is a kind of ideal state. I’ve never been entirely grounded, and so far have been sustained by decent genes and a lifestyle devoid of most excesses, save Stewarts ice cream. Time has begun to catch up with me around the edges. Every year brings one or two more pills to add to my morning and evening rituals, meds as well as supplements. I am beginning to accumulate the kind of equipment at home that previously I only encountered at my annual physical. And the Poet’s Life does nothing to improve my situation.
I once took a memoir writing workshop with a very well known author whom I will not name, having been confronted in the past by another writer who apparently spent a great deal of time googling himself and took sharp exception to my portrayal of his negative attitude in a poem. It seems that success does little to improve some moods. This workshop leader spent most of the class reading from her own how-to guide to memoir (which I’d read myself to prepare), but when pressed to respond to work at hand offered laser-sharp feedback. When the discussion of finding time to write came up, she remarked rather matter-of-factly that writers weren’t noted for their good health, suggesting that writing time should be prioritized over gym time.
Never a big fan of gyms, considering them a necessary evil during our time on Spaceship Earth, I certainly didn’t need any encouragement to avoid them altogether. In fact recently I’ve consciously committed more time to a morning walk, letting the fantasy of regular writing time before I go to work go. The work I do these days is very sedentary, unavoidably so. I grasp at time I spend walking from my car to the building, the building to the dining hall, to try to convince myself I’ve moved out of my chair a little. The morning walk helps a great deal with so much, and I look forward to longer walks in the winter, when I move to working from home again.
If I’ve got something to write, I will always fine the time to write it. A few weeks ago a dedicated several hours a day to deep rewrites of poems, until car troubles distracted me from that mission. My Beloved has several meetings a month pertaining to various organizations, and this gets me off the couch and upstairs to at least edit and send poems out. I have evenings and weekends as I like. However, spending time with others, especially my Beloved, is most often a priority above all. My words may or may not outlive me, impact another generation, become part of the history of this place and time we’re all passing thru. However, love is what will survive, nameless or clearly identified. My body is the current vehicle, and love is what drives the engine of our lives.