31 October 2011

A time for change

Change is in the air - the very essence of fall, and, to a large extent, the essence of those of us who have reached the autumn of our lives. I embrace change. I often long for it. For so many others, change is feared. I've never understood why, but it is ubiquitous.

Many of my favorite moments have to do with change. That day every year our family stepped out of a dark frigid February, through the clouds and into the heavy heat of a Caribbeanisland vacation. The first chill of Autumn, colored by falling leaves, or the first days of Spring, backlit by hyacinths on the hill and forsythia along the side of the road.

The smell and feel of a new car. The rush of new furnishings and new shoes. Freshly painted walls. The first settling under the fluffy quilt that replaces the flat cotton blanket.

I am reminded often of Peggy Lee's "Is that all there is?" Her sultry voice whispers often in my ears. I cannot imagine the sameness of days, the permanence of place or work, the constancy of the same people, however much I find myself, now and then, admiring those who have that.

And now, I face a life ahead without my anchor. My dear friend is gone. Only memories to make me smile. This is the change, unwelcome and jarring, that defines aging. Loss, and its sister, longing, diminish the pleasure of change, unless we can accept, fully and peacefully, that losses define us as much as the memories and more than the promise of what will be.

I believe every day that the best is yet to be. A personal mantra. Although, of late, I might be happier to stay put in what is good, without losing anyone or anything - willing to trade intransigence for loss.

Then again, tomorrow I may change my mind.