Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 2, 2015 Chapters:  ...37 38 -39- 40... 

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The final chapter...acceptance

A chapter in the book My Almost Cashmere Life

Sunrise, Sunset

by maggieadams

No photos were snapped, no congratulatory gifts or cards were given at this momentous rite of passage. I didn't prepare myself or project that I would arrive at this marker---the final season of one's life. Where did all the years go? I never saw it coming. Like a sneaker wave, powerful emotions washed over me as I sat across from the Social Security administrator.

"I'm here just to shop, to see if I should, um, well, not really sure if it is the right time, if I'm ready," I muttered.

"Wouldn't it be easier," the young clerk replied, "if we could know for sure when we were going to die?"

When I left the cold brick building and climbed into my summer-heated car, a chill crept through me as I realized I was entering the final chapter of my life. How, I asked myself, did all the chapters unfold so quickly? Like a Russian-nesting doll, the many chapters of my life were encapsulated ---the engaging college girl, the hopeful bride and the busy mother---they were all there tightly nestled inside one another. The outer doll was now full---full of wisdom and resolve, deriving strength from those intertwined lives.

I came of age before Roe v. Wade, integrated gender dorms and Title IX (equal sports' teams for women). I was caught between two worlds: the Leave it to Beaver world and the emerging feminist movement of burning bras and equal rights. I was shaped by the angst of Vietnam and the restless Sixties generation, who were often reckless in seeking their own happiness. We were the Baby Boomers forging ahead with lives, some stuck in the past, some experimenting where no man had ever trod, but all of us were improvising as we became more and more liberated.

Liberation confused me. Trapped in two worlds, one based on traditional family values and the other based on the liberated world of too many choices, I sat frozen for thirty years. Sometimes the intertwined chapters of childhood---the innocence and goodness---collided with the realities and complexities of adulthood. Life knocked me down a few times and showed me things I never wanted to see, but finally, I have gained a much needed perspective.

We take our lives in chunks, in fragments of time, looking back with longing, with 'what-ifs' and 'whys'. We find it difficult to live in the present and accept what life has handed us. In our final season---our last chapter---we come to fully understand this universal truth: life is difficult.

Life is difficult because we want it to be easy. As young adults, we experienced life, but we lacked life-experience. Much like learning a foreign language, we were not willing to conjugate the past to make sense of its power, or diagram the future to see its reward. Like all past generations, we had no Rosetta stone. We loved and parented by the proverbial seat of our pants. But now, we Baby Boomers have arrived. We have cracked the code and become fluent.

Perhaps that is what landed me in my first writing class---a need to practice life, a need to become more fluent. I did not face life squarely until I was forced by divorce. Then the floodgates opened. I became the crazy divorced lady, like a freight train out of control, until I dipped the quill in a bottle of anguish and wrote the words that burned on the parchment of life. I let the tears flow freely, dropping on the pages of my life---tears and words, a powerful elixir. Those mere words were my truth and my savior. They peeled back the layers and found me.

With certainty, I know I have more days to travel in this life; I know I have more paths to explore and more forks in the road.  For sure, I have more tennis to play, more holidays to share and more roses to smell.  As I sit on my deck, surrounded by a lush cornucopia of color with the sun dangling just above the horizon, I ponder this new rite of passage.  The passage into what, exactly, I really can't say, for there is no longer any protocol for 'old-age'.  I can still wear my brightly colored skinny jeans, even in purple, if I choose.

I sip on my Pinot Grigio, petting my purring cat with my Shih Tzu afoot, and I take heart in the choices I have made.  Actually, I take even more heart that I finally figured out life is a journey of choices.  We have been given free will.  Would I have done things differently in some fragments of my life?  Of course, but I am the person that I am because of my past, shaped by every person and choice along the way. 

Time has washed over me and polished my humanity; The years have bleached the regrets and faded the scars.  I have a full season of life ahead, a bright future because I gave up trying to change the past.  I have learned to live with the way things are now.

The dusk turns slowly into night where I am sitting in my Adirondack underneath a blanket of stars, still sipping and thinking.  I am in awe of this fact: I have lived the life I have lived, and no one will ever walk quite the same path on Earth as I.  I am unique. 

The world will carry on, a very rapidly changing world, not as in tune with my rhythm anymore; stories I cannot even imagine will unfold; the sun will rise and fall, and the moon will wax and wane whether I am here or not.

As my one-year-old namesake reaches up for my sun-spotted hand to steady her first steps, long forgotten sensations flood back...

To everything there is a season...and a few cashmere sweaters.  And each season holds treasures---like dogs and babies and maybe, even, a square oak table---unique to each person, yet every one of us is ultimately linked to the totality---like waves merging into the ocean---simultaneously distinctive and connected.

I lean back in my chair and smile.


My memoir is complete except for the acknowledgement of all of you and the Epilogue. I thank you for all the reviews, the stars, the encouragement and the validation. I cannot believe how many of your suggestions and edits I have incorporated. Free editing from writers who care. Thanks.
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