It’s been a long week, so long in fact that during tonight’s yoga class I found myself going through the motions, waiting for the 90 minutes to be over so I could run home to cook some oatmeal and pass out in bed.  My “lost year” helped me get re-accustomed to living with uncertainty but I remember that in my 20’s, despite having front row seats to my parents’ bitter divorce, I was convinced that being all grown up meant stability, predictability, even a modicum of boredom, the only big unknown being the date of our demise. Wrong! Curve balls are still being thrown and even if I have never been a person with a penchant for predictability, I wouldn’t mind, once in a while, knowing exactly what is going to happen tomorrow. Well, let me rephrase that, it would be nice not to have to worry about tomorrow, just get up to a predictable day and come home to a predictable household – not for long, that would create a different sort of bitching – just for a few days.

Ottie, mercifully, is a constant source not only of entertainment but of wisdom too. I don’t really buy the assumption that animals live fully in the present. I can tell Ottie has memories that act as triggers and he is not fully settled until he knows exactly what kind of day he is going to have: am I going to work and he has 8 hours to roam around or will I be home, providing him with games, companionship and unexpected excursions? But once he knows, he does fully enjoy (or despise) the moment. How could he have mastered such a Buddhist precept that we find so difficult? Perpetually thinking about what needs to be done, what is about to happen or mulling over what has been it’s such a cliche that we don’t enjoy the present. Maybe that is where getting older is going to be helpful – too painful to remember “the good old days” and too daunting to think about what is behind the corner, I might become a mean old lady with extravagant hats and a permanent smile. Wouldn’t that be great?

In the meantime, I am experimenting with finding enjoyment in uncertainty and excitement in not knowing (and trying not to care) about tomorrow.



Filed under aging


  1. gingergirl

    For me, it’s not so much the dying that creates anxiety, it’s living with the question “what can go wrong” before that. If I was there – I would ask you: what’s the existential issue underlying your anxiety. And why the need for a three week cleanse?

    Go get Tal Ben-Sahar’s book: Happier. Work through it – it really made a difference for me.

    You know – there’s always the option of us going to live on a Caribbean island and starting a business. Your dual citizenship gives you an in to a good few. And you could hire me. We could have a bakery come yoga studio. And I could do a little counseling/therapy on the side. Ottie could chase crabs.

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