And I know it’s not really funny, but for some reason a surge of laughter I’ve been holding in for the last few minutes—days, months, years, who’s counting?— finally comes, and I throw my head back and let it wash over me like a new kind of tidal wave, breaking me open, shaking my whole body like it’s trying to set me free. p 136
There are days, and they seem to arrive in the summer more often than not, when your day veers off completely unexpectedly. Today was one of those days. I knew that I would be at the Library, and I knew we would be hosting an event. I hoped the weather would hold (thank you, sunshine.) I hoped that kids would come, and some did. They were eager, enthusiastic and loved trying to keep those hula hoops spinning with reckless abandon. What I didn’t expect was a crowd of people over 65. It was pretty amazing watching them all learn how move their bodies to keep the hoops turning round.
When the crowds had dispersed I tried one myself. The instructor showed me how to move my hips back and forth. She said “Do it just like a kid. They never doubt, they pick it up, put it over their heads and let loose.”
So I did.
If I could have also been observing this scene, I don’t think I would have recognized myself. At first I was concentrating but then I kinda let loose. I got it up to a whopping 20 rotations and felt a bit of pride creep in. Funny how both the kids and the older adults were inspiring in their own way; maybe for some things age just doesn’t matter.
Recently a friend told me about a woman she knows in Kentucky who’s 80 and still skydives.
Another friend lost a mentor earlier this year, she was still writing poetry at age 100.
One night M came home and told me about a conversation he had with a young coworker who’s in her early 20’s. He asked her “What’s new?” She replied that nothing was new. She’s living the life of a 45 year old woman. Then M told her he knew a 44 year old woman at the top of her game.
I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but it’s true. People keep telling me now is the time for reinvention, starting a new chapter, and a myriad of other analogies.
But this life I’m living now feels like the destination I was hoping to reach. I’m 44, I’ve recently lost 40 pounds and I’ve got 40,000 words down towards the beginning of a novel. I’ve worked hard to get here. I look around at where I am and what I’m doing and I smile. There is that laughter bubbling over me too, breaking forth in waves, it’s lyrical and loud and uncontainable.
I think about those hoops and how going in circles can sometimes get you to where you need to be. I picture myself spinning around, letting go of what isn’t needed and letting it just fly away. If all of this breaks me apart, I can’t wait to see the woman who emerges.