Eve at Seventy-seven
I have just enjoyed celebrating what is sometimes called ‘not-a-big-birthday’. I’m a few years shy of my next Big-O birthday, which will be my eightieth.
So, far I’ve been unafraid of these increasing annual numbers. I suppose it’s because I’m in good health. I’m still able to do the things I like to do: tennis, cycling, barre classes, teaching yoga and doing it, walking in the bush and on the beach, playing games, having sex, and so much more. I’m firm in the belief that practising yoga for most of my life has been a huge contribution to my well-being. Yoga practise isn’t insurance against sickness and disease, though. Good health can turn on a dime as evidenced by a few friends who passed away this year.
The main change that I’ve noticed as I age is that I am moving more slowly and cautiously than in years past. No headstand dropbacks or legs behind the head poses for me anymore. I’m thinking more slowly, too, with a few vocabulary words no longer conveniently on the tip of my tongue.
In contrast, time has sped up, probably in direct proportion to the body/mind slowing. My marker for this hurtling pace of time is how quickly the full moons come around. Galloping around. Ask any septuagenarian and you will hear the same story.
I wake up most mornings in gratitude for the life I’m living. A very big part of it is the legacy I’ve created over 40+ years of yoga teaching. There are many yoga teachers that I’ve trained or inspired to teach out in the world sharing the benefits of yoga. Ripples going out in ever widening circles and contributing to well being, mobility, equanimity and kindness. It feels like a life well-lived.
I heard a friend say today that she is happy this year is almost over and that next year has got to be better. Then, she added, ‘That’s what I said the year before, though.’ In my opinion, last year and the year before were not bad. This period forced upon me the realisation that I am not really in control. And that uncertainty is the only bedrock that we have and all our machinations will never change that fact.
The COVID years 2020 and 2021 have forced me to think in terms of what can be made of my precious time on this planet. Rather than my wanting to restore normalcy and order to my world, I’ve been working on embracing what is here and now.
How am I going? Good days and bad days, as they say. But I am doing well with the age thing. I can readily describe myself as old, although once I’ve said it out loud, I feel like looking around to see who I’m talking about.
Maurice Chevalier once said, ‘Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.’ I think I have quite a few full moons ahead before the ‘alternative’, but who knows?
I wish you good health and happiness for whichever birthday you are celebrating this year. May you live with ease!
Thank you Eve, you are such an inspiration. I am five years behind you and delighted that I can practise yoga, bushwalk and most of the time feel fit and active. But a fall (leaping out the front door, tumbling down the steps and hitting my head hard on the metal verandah post) left me realising how much more serious it could have been. I suffered bleeding on the brain and spent time in hospital, so now I am much more cautious, which is a shame, but also preventative. I am so lucky! The Covid years have been essentially reflective and good for the soul, though I realise others have suffered. And the moon! I am sure it has sped up.
Thank you for your telling a little bit of your story, Jan. It’s really everyone’s journey towards acknowledging our mortality.
I don’t want to discount the suffering that comes with getting old, ill and frail. But these things can be made more tractable through not resisting them.
Kind regards, Eve