Born Too Soon To Live So Long

As I was meditating this morning a thought popped into my head. It didn’t disturb the serenity of the moment as much as awaken me to the possibility of the moment.

“You know Louise, one of the daunting aspects of aging into your 60s and beyond is that there is zero question about how much runway is in front of you. Less than there is behind.”

Oh.

True. But does it matter? Is it the length of the runway in front or behind that’s important in this moment as much as how well I use the runway before me? Will my final approach to the inevitable end of this flight I call my life, land me safely with grace and ease in the forever after? Or, will it be a bumpy, bone-jolting setting down that unnerves me right to the last breath it takes away?

It is an undeniable fact. While scientists state the first person to live to one hundred and twenty is already walking this earth, I am probably not that person.

Which kind of means… I’m running out of runway.

‘Cause I’m born too soon to live so long.

It kind of sounds like the title of a C&W song. “Born too soon to live so long / I still got a long ways to go / I gotta make each moment count / ’cause living’ ain’t over until I play / the final note of my living ode…”

Ooops. Sorry. A momentary lapse in paying attention to this very serious conversation.

But seriously, none of us truly know when the end of that runway will come.

What I do know, is that no matter how long it has taken me to get to this moment, what I do in the next one counts. And how I make it count is up to me.

Yesterday, on my IG feed, the comments regarding me and my ego’s burst of self-pity and concern over ‘my aging look’ generated some powerful responses. One of those responses by my music-video daughter, @LauraHickle, was so full of undeniable truths that I think I might tattoo it on my forehead!

In her response, Laura wrote, “These insecurities would no doubt be intensified with age just due to the way society has erased aging from beauty standards and culture in general. What I like to find power in is just how incredibly punk rock it is to say NO. I am important. I am alive. I have something to say. I exist. Aging exists. Skin conditions exist. Fat exists. And none of this is wrong. None of this is wrong. It is capitalism that has convinced us we should be small and young. It is the misogyny that has led us to believe beauty is equal to our worth…. Photoshopped capitalistic beauty standards fall to the shadow when someone says ‘hello, I exist.’ 

Wow.

You can read all of the amazing comments as well as the full text of Laura’s on my IG page here:

Which brings me back to ‘my runway’.

I don’t know how long it is before I get to the end. I do know there’s more behind me than in front of me.

So… the question becomes, How high do I dare to fly before touchdown?

How high do I dare to raise my voice and sing out loud, “Look at me! Here I am!”

To cry out, NO! To shout out YES. To claim without hesitation, I am alive!

How wide do I dare to stretch my arms? To embrace life in all its ups and downs and ins and outs?

How fast do I dare to run? Into the unknown? Into the mystery? Into the magic? Into LIFE!

How fast and far do I dare to go to release myself from the tyranny of believing I am becoming invisible? I am losing the light? I am getting too old to live out loud?

What wonderful questions to live into on this beautiful last day of August.

25 thoughts on “Born Too Soon To Live So Long

  1. You have a lot of highway in front of you! … Runways, on the other hand are long, not because of how long they need to be to get the plane off the ground, but because of how long they need to be to get the plane+fuel tanks filled+max passengers+ max cargo – but the purpose of the runway is so the plane can fly. Our flight – forget our age – is about where we are headed and how we intend to get there, and when we fly (or imagine) we can go anywhere the highways don’t go. The only things stopping us is our ability to imagine what we can do and the fear of doing it …

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree… to a point Mark. I remember having a similar conversation with my eldest daughter about how, life erupts with hurdles and bumps and we have to decide what we are going to do with them.

      Her response was profoundly moving. Yes, she said, and… that is the privilege of our birth. If we are born into poverty, have been racialized or discriminated against all our lives, if we have never had a mentor, or the opportunity to learn we have the capacity to spread our wings, let alone have wings, we do not have the agency nor the tools to recognize that the road ahead is a choice of how high, far, where we can fly. In those situations, fear is not an issue. Lack of knowledge, lack of agency, are.

      My privilege gives me choices. I believe, which is partly why I’m doing this series, is that this journey of life involves ensuring that in the choices I make, I don’t take up all the space for those for whom choice has never been an option. Which means, I have to be cognizant of the fact, my runway has a limited view of all the world — it only sees my view.

      Oh dear. I don’t think I’m even on topic or in any way responding to your comment! 🙂 Maybe the simple response is that for me, the runway is a different metaphor for what I’m doing, where I’m going and how high and far I choose to fly.

      Hmmm…. totally off point but I appreciate the opportunity your thought-provoking comment gave me! 🙂 ❤

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  2. I do admit, my first reaction was to think you might just as well get to 120. But then you yourself cancelled that argument. Then again, it’s really not so much about the length of the runway but it’s quality, isn’t it? How smooth is the ride going to be? In Western societies life expectancy has grown and grown in recent decade but so has the number of years that we are disease-ridden towards the end. So my goal personally is not to live as long as I can – but to live as healthily as long as I can. To make the most of the limited time available.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I feel as I got older the more I realized how important it is to live in the moment. Sometimes, I have to have a little talk with my self to live for the Now. And yes, there will always be changes and I feel we can embrace them, using our common sense, and not jeopardizing the quality of our life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree — age has definitely given me an appreciation of ‘the moment. And the quality of living I infuse into each moment.

        Perhaps that’s where resiliency comes to play a starring role — in how we embrace and adapt and change as our bodies change with time’s passing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Runways are finite. Their lengths are constructed for two specific reasons – to allow an aircraft to take off and to land. That’s it, the aircraft can go nowhere but taxi to/from a gate or a hangar once on a runway.
    A highway, on the other hand, allows one to go places whether they be unknown or known. If properly charted one’s journey can go on and on …
    Or one can simply get on a highway and go where the heart dictates – more fun this way, an adventure that may have its pitfalls but an adventure nevertheless. Just like our journey of aging, it has no constraints unless one purposely puts some parameters in place. We can soar as high as we want, or stay firmly on terra firma which may be a tad boring at times. Those who “soar” rarely have regrets. There is a reason why so many live with the motto, Carpe Diem! Live in the moment as one comment noted says it all. As I entered into my seventh decade I threw all caution to the wind. I may have longevity in my genes, but I am not taking any chances, I shall soar as high as I can, I will travel the highway of life as far as I can. I shall continue to age with grace and enjoy every wrinkle, lump, ache for they represent a life well lived according to my wishes, not those of so-called ‘sperts aka experts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is one of the gifts of this place Iwona. We all have different perspectives, all of which are treasured and heard because – they are all our perspectives. Yesterday, I saw life as a runway – I’m sure part of that is because on the weekend, at a board retreat for THIRD ACTion Film Fest, we were discussing ageism and I shared how when I was looking to leave the workforce in 2019 and had been asked to stay on as ED for an agency, I told them I couldn’t commit to their 5 year timeline. Their response was, “We need more runway.” 🙂

      On most days, I feel myself in the river of life, flowing with, sometimes against, sometimes caught in a back eddy or resting on a beach. The river is always flowing. It cannot flow backwards on its journey to the sea.

      And yes, it is the embracing of the changes, both visible and invisible, that creates a life well lived – by our wishes, not the ‘spersts’! 🙂 ❤

      Thank you for always being such a bright light on this path.

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      • The river is always flowing. It cannot flow backwards on its journey to the sea. Life is a journey forward for if one goes backwards the results usually are disappointing. Akin to those who wish to bring back their youth through cosmetic surgery procedures and end up with – no description required here.
        During the spring 2017 floods, when we were still living on the water, the Madawaska River, on an ess curve could not flow fast enough et voila, it started flowing back on itself resulting in an angry whirlpool right in front of our dock. The anger of the swirling waters knew no bounds as it spewed out bits of docks, deck chairs it had picked up along the way. There was no beauty in the anger, just sheer hate. A few days later the river had calmed down, flowing serenely as it should, one way on its journey to the Ottawa River, then the St. Lawrence and finally out into the Atlantic Ocean. A sigh of relief as I reflected on the power of water, life returned to a semblance of normalcy. I looked to the future, I still have so much to do, so many more adventures ahead of me to experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my Iwona. That was absolutely beautiful — even the description of the angry river. Your view of the river and the future is worth savouring every day! Thank you for sharing my friend. ❤

        Like

      • Oh no! You didn’t get my email in response. I am so sorry — I had a period where my email was completely screwy – I’d accidentally uploaded Windows11 which messed everything up – and in the process, it didn’t tell me which emails went through or not — all fixed now. 🙂 I bought a new computer! 🙂 Take that Windows 11! 🙂

        I thought it was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL — your daughter is very talented and you and she touched my heart deeply. It is such a beautiful gift to know that my art/words have a place in the hearts and minds of others. Please do thank her for me. I was deeply moved. ❤ ❤ ❤

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      • I was so deeply touched by this. In two ways, first she thought to make me feel good as I was making a big decision in my life, second I see a piece of you in there. I had no idea she saved all the pages. And the way she used it was beauty on top of beauty. Your gift kept giving. It came in the right time twice.
        Sending all my love ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Social media’s impact on the younger generations is profound and if we buy in to younger, skinier and blond hair then we lose sight of who we are. My photos are not edited. Bad hair day and wrinkles are real. The editor to fix them is not real.

    Like

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