At times we find ourselves listening attentively to an animated senior citizen, hanging onto their every word, of a bygone era filled with breathtaking stories far removed from our own reality.
Many of us envision a blissful time when we will be that senior, finally at peace with our own mortality, sharing such stories with a younger generation, hoping that they will glean a delectable morsel of the wisdom that ultimately will carry them through life.
Often, we hear the same stories over and over, to the point that we remember them better than they, finding ourselves filling in the blanks to kindly and lovingly help them along. Many of the stories go back 50, perhaps 60 or 70 years ago.
Somewhere along the way, time seemingly stood still while no new stories were gathered, to be embellished or to be shared with the wide-eyed young recipients. In time, to the older crowd, the retold stories are gently perceived as snooze-worthy, tolerated and bemused. With love, we smile, we laugh, we ask questions we’ve asked many times before, and, we act surprised.
It’s charming. It’s precious. But deep inside that angelic soul, a story is told of a life that was once lived a long time ago.
Is that our fate? As we enter the last third of our lives, can we choose to begin again, a new phase, a new chapter, filled with awe and wonder while living in the moment building stories we can share tomorrow, in a week, a month or a year? Can we overlap our stories as we live them to the fullest, events big or small, trivial or profound? Yes, we can.
Today, we can see a white squirrel run through the trees in our yard, snap a photo to share it tomorrow with an inattentive five year old, and suddenly their eyes look upward in hopes of seeing the flash of white leaping from tree to tree. This becomes a story, relevant, today.
A few days later, we’re playing cards with the neighbors laughing so hard we throw back our head and our glasses fly into the air, landing in the fruit bowl on the table and then, we laugh some more. This is a story. We laugh again when telling it, hoping they will laugh along with us. And they do.
Life is big and small, adventurous and dull, quiet and lively. Stories of today and tomorrow, interspersed with those of long along, may help us find our way to a fuller life that only ends, when it ends.