91 years of age, today! That’s Nancy. Imagine if it were you? What is there between now and then that we have yet to see, to do, to experience, to learn? And how might we not face into the future? Regrets? A bucket list with holes in the bucket? A sense of being at peace? Or a sense of falling to pieces?
M’Lady Nancy continues life with a vitality interested in things, in people, in circumstances, and in decorum and dignity. The preparations for her party are underway, and the tidying up of the outdoor spaces has commenced. “That’s too heavy for you,” she asserts, and she takes the big yellow recycle bin and tilts it on its wheels and trundles it out of sight. The thing is nearly as big as she is. But there is an energy of wanting things done that sustains her activities, keeps her focused. She phones to ascertain the numbers coming to her party. She ensures adequate seating. She checks the fridges and the supplies. She gets table-cloths out for the several outdoor picnic tables, and she wonders aloud what to wear. The presentation is about example, about pleasing others, about making thing comfortable for them. Yes, so too for most women I know, but surely not at 90? The expansion of oneself usually stops at a given age, and a closing down of interests ensues. For Nancy the day is for discovery! Every day.
April 01st is notoriously a fool’s day. But Nancy is no fool. She’s perhaps heard the jokes about this day for most of her life. But if foolishness is about immaturity and uncaring and self-centredness and shallowness, then M’Lady has exemplified the opposite. There is a perpetual wisdom inherent in her examination of life, in her wanting the best for others, and in her concern for those she knows, as well as those she as yet does not. Seeing the diagram of the Chakras, she instantly said, “That’s me; Love”. It flows from her. Neighbours, relations, passersby, the birds, and the flowers too are all the recipients of her love. It is an energy that simply wants the best for each. And if she be taken advantage of (as some have done in her past) then she is aware, and wishes them well, and hopes that such foolishness in those who do not take care of themselves, or of others, might desist. But she herself is no fool.
Generosity of spirit needs begin with the self. That we are our own worst enemy may indeed be true, but we also needs be our own best friend. A person who lives alone, especially for years on end, needs develop a sense of oneness with something much larger than the self, a sense of connectivity to all despite the isolation, the lack of easy and instant communication, the absence of rapport. Nancy has demonstrated the self-actualization of one ‘without’, yet one ‘with-all’. Loneliness arises from dependency, arises from dwelling on what one does not have, arises from wishes that one cannot fulfill, arises from attachment to others that will not let them be free but expects their proximity, their phone calls, their letters, their attendance, their reciprocal love. But Nancy is free. She simply loves. She sends gifts and cards and letters. She makes few phone calls. She is grateful for an other’s contact, but she is quite alright to keep herself occupied, hours and days on end, independently. It is a remarkable lesson in self-actualization, this ability to love without attachment, this ability to let others be, this ability within the self to be free. And even more so, this ability to love others so very deeply.
91 years of age today. What an achievement! Some of us may slide toward that year unwittingly, our days a series of happenstances given no special reflection, no untoward notice, unless they be beset by tragedy. And even then, for many of us, there is but a rebuilding of what we always do, habitually. But for Nancy, the days have been milestones on a journey toward ‘being at peace’, as she told me yesterday. And in that peace, being truly free. For every day then, Happy Birthday, M'Lady Nancy.