Note: This post originally appeared on the blog Boomer Lit Friday on May 24, 2013. Today, my granddaughter is 9 years old. I wrote the post after losing my best friend of 57 years. We met on the first day of first grade, lived practically next door to one another as children, and then again as adults. I dedicated this post to Donna. Her life was a perfect example of someone who knew what she wanted and enjoyed what she had. Many times I secretly compared myself to her in a moment of doubt and thought, "What would Donna do?" That always helped me find the courage to do the things I feared.
It’s my pleasure to introduce a new concept to you today: The Boomer Moment.
You’re probably familiar with the phrase “Senior Moment,” which is usually associated with a symptom of aging such as forgetfulness or memory loss. The Boomer Moment is the exact opposite. It is a moment of perfect elucidation, when everything becomes crystal clear and you glean an insight or see the “big picture” in a way afforded to you only by way of years of life experience.
I had such a moment spark last month when in a two-week period I experienced the joy of my granddaughter’s first birthday directly followed by the loss of two friends.
In her one year here so far, my granddaughter Lacie has given me a royally good lesson in how to enjoy life. From the moment I held her for the first time and felt the freshness of new life, I’ve been struck by her complete wonderment as she delights in almost every experience. If you want to learn how to “be in the moment,” watch a baby. EVERYTHING is new, cool, interesting, possible. No words, no judgment, everything just is, and it’s all good.
Watching (and delighting in) my granddaughter these twelve months, I began to realize how much of that wonderment attitude I had lost. Like most adults, I have layers of experiences to screen and filter my views of the world and how I interpret life's events.
But I yearned to be able to recapture the bliss we’re born to experience, the beauty of the “is-ness” of the moment. I didn’t have a clue on how to do it. I could briefly enjoy bursts of that feeling by just watching her, or relishing the beauty of the Western North Carolina mountains where I live, or by savoring a delicious meal. But I could not routinely sustain the feeling.
A few days after Lacie’s first birthday party (a veritable feast of Lacie lessons in how to have fun), we received word that a dear friend has passed, and less than 24 hours after that, another friend. Although saddened, we celebrated their lives. They had both enjoyed successful careers and had been blessed with good marriages, children, and grandchildren.
Yet, for me, their deaths brought to the surface an awareness of my own mortality for the first time. Being more conscious of death’s certainty didn’t leave me afraid to die, but more determined to live what remaining time I have in full-out Lacie mode.
But how? In a Boomer Moment, I realized that writing is the only thing that keeps me in the joy of the moment for as long as I’m involved in the process. I love it all—the days of unbridled inspiration when my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts as well as the days of staring at the blank page, when I write and delete everything. I love the publishing process from end to end: writing, editing, design, marketing, EVERYTHING. Two of my favorite writer quotes come to mind.
“Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else.”—Gloria Steinem
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”—Isaac Asimov
Finally, I know how to sustain the Lacie life, a life of joy, and I am so grateful to realize that I’m at an age when I can fully devote my time and attention to fulfilling my purpose, to filling my soul with joy. In fact, it seems foolish to do anything else.
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