Monday, March 9
"Old Age Begins Now"
"You know, Michael, old age begins now!" she said, with a sparkle in her eye.
Yes, that's Bettie for you — an elderly woman we often see sitting in the big leather chair by the corner window of our favourite place in old town, The Little Bird Bakeshop. The first thing that drew me to her, of all things actually, was her wonderful white curly hair atop her floral bandana silk scarf. This woman, needless to say, has style! Dressed in a rather bohemian yet classy fashion, she might even strike you as a type of contemporary older version of Audrey Hepburn. Sipping her tea whilst enjoying a warmed up morning croissant, she can often be found with either a few books on hand, writing and drawing in a notepad, or perusing the Arts section of the New York Times. She reminds me some of my mother's marvelous older friends back in London days — characters who marched to the beat of a different drum, full of interesting stories, perspectives, and a life to show for it. I just had to know more.
"Hi, I don't know if anyone's ever told you this, but you really have amazing hair! I love it, all bunched up like that. In fact, I was just commenting about it to my wife when she suggested I come over and tell you..." Beaming from ear to ear, Bettie looked up and replied, "Really?! Why, thank you!" From then on, each time we see her, we make a point of saying hello. Every visit, we seem to learn something new and fascinating about this lovely curious woman.
Once, I actually asked her if she ever did yoga since Alex thought she may well have, seeming so nimble. Not only does she, but even gets up each morning, exercises and mixes in her own "made-up" Tia-chi, to boot! As she noted, "People always say, 'Oh you're so lucky to be so small!' but I tell them, 'Ha, I work at it!'" Just this morning, actually, we learned that she hasn't owned a car in over 20 years, preferring to walk everywhere. "Freedom!" I chuckled, upon which she shared how she actually made the conscious determination when she was only 15 to take care of her body, having grown up in a rather obese Italian family. "Well, you're certainly an inspiration for us, let me tell you! We need to get back into shape ourselves." That's when she remedied with the above reminder, adding, "You're never too young or too old, for that matter, to start... We're getting older every day!"
Mulling over her words later on, Alexandra kicked into her mentor-like enthusiastic fashion, prodding me to start something new myself! To be fair, I've been rather in a slump as of late, needing to push away the years of auto-piloting where I let the hurts and losses of the past too easily rob me of dreams of the future, let alone fully enjoying the present. As Alex rightly noted, I thrive when choosing to focus on the things of everyday life that lift up and encourage others around me. One such avenue is writing where I can capture the moments that then, in turn, motivate me in my creative pursuits as well. So here I am, ready to give this blogging another go, ready to rise up and live a more radiant life, connecting with others along the way.