In the Mind of the Beholder

Cover of "Stones for Ibarra (Contemporary...

Cover via Amazon

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents,
the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people
you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly
have defeated age.”  –Sophia Loren

Okay, I will admit it. I have been feeling a little bit old of late. Hopefully it is a passing thing—but the truth of the matter is that I will only get older. I think it is my attitude that will have to change. Age is a state of mind. You can be old at 27, and very young at 96. In fact, for a while when I was 27 I felt old (when I finally left my career as a student behind); then when I had my second son at 38 I felt slightly ancient (surrounded by young new moms at the hospital); then again at 46, for no real reason in particular (other than the fact that my eight year old told me that some of his friends had grandmas my age.)  Today, I think it may have something to do with the fact that when I get up in the morning, I feel creaky. My knees are stiff, my legs feel like logs, and I stump around for about five minutes before everything gets working again.

I think that we sometimes base how we feel on what we have accomplished, and I have come nowhere close to accomplishing everything I want to. I have a little book that brags its contents contain “endless inspiration for writers”. The book, authored by Monica Wood and officially called “The Pocket Muse 2”, lists a number of people who were either my age or older when they accomplished one of the things on my “bucket list”—writing a book.  (I have several in the pipeline—I just haven’t figured out how to get them out of the pipeline and between the covers of a book.) Anyway—here is my inspiration list:
Annie Proulx published her first book, Postcards, at age 58.
Penelope Fitzgerald published her first novel, The Golden Child, at age 61.
Frank McCourt published his first book, Angela’s Ashes, at age 66.
Peter Pouncey published his first book, Rules for Old Men Waiting, at age 67.
Harriet Doerr published her first novel, Stones for Ibarra, at age 73
Helen Hoover Santmyer published “…And Ladies of the Club” at age 88.

So, yes, little Pocket Muse, I am inspired, and believe there is hope for me yet. Age is in the eye of the beholder, and also the mind. Stimulating the mind and bypassing self-prejudice are two ways to fight “feeling old.” Now if only my legs would only listen to my words of wisdom.