Another Birthday: Getting Older, Getting Old

Beware the Ides of March — my birthday, so a day I look forward to, as well as be-waring. This year I turn 73– hard to believe, but there it is! I was born in 1945, shortly before the end of World War Two. Now kids make me feel old for asking if they use Skype rather than Face-Time. I do have many Pisces friends, and it’s interesting that Albert Einstein was born on March 14, Pi Day — and that Stephen Hawkings died on that day.

In Jewish mystic numerology, the number 18 (for the word “Chai,” life) and all multiples of 18 are considered lucky and blessed (for example, if you give a donation, it adds to the value to give $18.00 or a multiple). So 72, last year, would have been a good year (which it was, in many ways), but also it is the completion of a cycle. 73 seems to be beginning a new, and unexpected cycle — just as the 9th day, after the 8 days of Chanukah, can represent a new start, as I noted in my novel “Feast of Lights.” This year, I am planning a move from Hamilton, where I have lived for about 20 years and have found and helped create a wonderful community of friends, colleagues, activities, and connections. I expected to continue living there — but at the same time have been developing a close, intimate relationship with someone I care about in Toronto, and it seems time to live together there. He has just turned 73 (also a Pisces), and it seems important, vital, to enjoy the good times in our lives together, as well as take care of each other when the inevitable problems of aging arise. I have lost a few dear friends in recent years, and others have been quite ill, now recovering — and, as someone next to me on the streetcar said last night, “We only have one life, not two lifes, not three lifes, just one!” And, perhaps surprisingly at this age, a new chapter is starting. Changes do bring change — I will miss friends and community life in Hamilton; on the other hand, it is commuting distance from Toronto (easier for Hamilton people to know this than those in TO), and I will be back. And you can visit me here — you will be welcome for dinner and coffee, and there is lots to do.
We talk about “growing” older and even “growing old” — growth is an ongoing process, even if the tree is a little more bent in the wind, and it takes the leaves and flowers longer to bloom — the colours are still brilliant and the scent is sweet. I continue to write, and have noticed a change in my poetry — even though I am not sure where it is leading.
Be AWARE, and March Forth with grace, courage, and a sense of balance– don’t “beware” of life’s turnings. As another Pisces friend wrote me, on a postcard of a Degas drawing of a ballerina, KEEP DANCING!

Birthdays spring us forward,
into flowering, into light.
hear the birds sing.

About Ellen

I am a member of The Writers Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, and CANSCAIP. I have received grants from the Ontario Arts Council for both writing and teaching. I currently work with Learning Through the Arts and Living through the Arts, programmes run by the Royal Conservatory of Music that enable artists to work in schools and community organizations. I have also taught in many other school and community programs, and have been a judge for various writing contests for both young people and adults.
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