Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

Life is a Trip and Then You Die

From my Life After Sixty Series

Getting old is a trip…

So I was told by an older lady who came into an art gallery I worked in as a young woman.

She had the presence and stature of Maya Angelou, and fittingly, though my encounter with her was brief, it was memorable.

We chatted for a little while, which is something I love about working in small shops without a lot of foot traffic, that rapport you can have with strangers who come in off the street, often out of curiosity with no inclination to shop, which brings in a different kind of visitor than those intent on making a purchase. (I’m sure as a worker I appreciated this kind of walk-in “customer” a bit more than the shop owners did.)

We were surrounded by art so it was easy to talk about art and life and color.

She mentioned that purple was a color of transition.

I remembered aloud wearing a lot of purple when I was in college, and that I have a penchant for the color in my paintings also.

She seemed to know a great deal about color theory and she shared her reflections about color, and life, with me.

She was easily a couple of decades older than I at the time, maybe right about the age I am now, well dressed in colorful clothing, with excellent posture and an open, friendly demeanor. She had a way of speaking that makes me think she was a writer, a communicator, a force of nature:

Like Maya.

And though I can only remember a snippet of our conversation, I remember after she left, wishing I could sit with her over a hundred cups of tea and talk and listen to her for hours.

At some point she made the statement that growing old is a trip. She shook her head a little and laughed as she said it, something I recognize now as a gesture of dismissal and acceptance mingled together, a thing I find myself doing as I approach these last decades of life also:

I’m not really old…Ahh shit yeah I am.

I struggle with the same equilibrium issues anyone who lives this long does:

I’m aging.

I can certainly see it.

I can feel it in my bones.

Back, Shoulder, Knee is the new Rock, Paper, Scissors, (which if anyone understands the rules to that game, please share with me because I have always been mystified by it, and no, wikipedia is no help at all: Rock crushes scissors???; Paper covers rock???; Say What???).

I spend more time now with a heating pad coddling my sacrum, which sounds so oddly sexual but of course isn’t, sigh.

I spend less time worrying about my rear view, in my leggings, and more time looking through the windshield at the shorter, windier road ahead considering how to make the most of this last leg of the trip before the final destination.

But in my mind, that deep inner place that is me, hidden in the folds behind the more forgetful and slower parts that are my everyday brain, I feel things just as deeply, I experience life just as fiercely, and I am still as curious as a child.

Maybe even more.

Poetry moves me more, as does music, a walk in the woods, a beach, a sunset, travel, reading, rainy days and sunny days.

Almost as if the diminishment of my physical person is opening up a whole new world of spiritual experience and appreciation.

But I still have lots to learn.

And I still have things to share.

There are still things I want to see.

Yet the end of the trip is inevitable so of course I give it some thought.

And unlike trips I have made in the past where home waits for me at the end with it’s familiarity, it’s comfort, it’s warm embrace, I don’t know what waits for me at the end.

Mostly, I’m down with whatever it is, whether it’s an end or a beginning or something in between, as long as it’s not a burning cauldron of demons and fallen angels like those renaissance paintings hanging all over Italy seem to imply.

Life IS a trip, and although at sixty-one it seems that life is indeed short, like a humorous Facebook meme once declared, it’s the longest damn thing we’ll ever do.

So we might as well enjoy it, while we can.

The Author (on the right)

Copyright 2019 by Ilona Elliott

7 Comments

  1. It IS a wild ride and all we can do is hang on and enjoy it! Like you, I find myself pondering the journey to the destination that is in the not too distant future. What amazes me is how fast it all has gone by… Geeze – no fair! But even though the road ahead is much shorter than the road behind, but that doesn’t mean it will be any less of an adventure. It will just be a different sort of adventure than we’ve been used to. One accompanied by more snap, crackle and pop for sure!! Ouch! Since my GPS says, at least today, I haven’t arrived at that final destination (which I know will be more amazing that we can ever imagine!) I’ll put up with the Rice Krispie sounds. Ha!

    Let me see if I can explain better…a rock can for sure crush scissors (slam!!), and scissors can naturally cut paper (snip). But paper can cover up a rock and make it looks like it’s not there (magic!). Better? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. just wrote about this in my personal journal (letters to my children) I wrote that getting older makes me think about dying . . but thinking about dying makes me think about LIVING!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Ilona. Well that’s a fascinating tidbit that you worked in an art gallery, I don’t think I knew this (or can’t remember you sharing about it). I bet there are all kinds of stories and recollections you could spin off that world, from when you were in it, that way. But right now I have to admit I’m feeling rather like a clueless lunkhead with a bag of flour for a brain because you’ve mentioned painting here and I’m trying to remember if I knew more about that (about you). Is this something that’s been on hiatus in favor of essaying/writing, life 101 so on and soforth?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well TF I don’t know that I have talked a lot about art, but I did watercolors for years, then collage, and most recently acrylics. I still play sometimes when I’m in the mood. I have sold a few, but never work very hard at selling them since it seems to take a lot of the joy out of the process. Now I do some jewelry and writing for creative outlets, and spend a lot of time seeking inspiration online but not as much actually doing art. I think mostly I just love hanging around with artists TF. I’m a bit of a bottom feeder that way, feeding off the creativity of others alot. I did a little photography in the beginning and learned the composition, design, and color theory that I later applied to painting, but I never had the eye for it like you do. I love love your B/W stuff and appreciate that talent you have since I never could get my values quite right.
      Hope you enjoying our crisp clear weather this week and that the snow in the hills didn’t damper any of your plans lately.

      Liked by 1 person

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