February 03, 2012

Aging Gracefully by Tapping In

This week's beauty is opera singer, massage therapist, poet, and home renovator Kathryn Feigal who is 63 years old.

"Most of my life I have had the unfortunate anxiety-producing combination of No Impulse Control and Caring Too Much What Other People Think. As you can imagine, this has created a perpetual cycle of regret. Now that Im three months shy of 64, Im somewhat dismayed to admit that I still struggle to preserve or maintain what's left of my imagined dignity. In confronting a society given over to a collective identification with frenzy, Im less inclined to adapt to the illusions that society promotes. Maybe we all have a degree of Tourette's Syndrome with its accompanying rapping, hip-hopping bumbledom of multitasking to fulfill spurious requirements for living.

One of my favorite movie moments was the department store scene in The Women where Annette Bening, when assaulted by a department store cosmetic hawker said, "This is my face. Deal with it." Like Annettes character, I think if I can avoid the temptations of the eternal youth marketers, the sellers of unnatural thinness and cosmetic surgery, I may be able to tap into who I really am.

Kathryn in flight
At this stage in life, this sentence keeps running through my head, “How do I want to live the rest of my life?” There’s an urgency that wasn’t there before. Joan Baez said, “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.”

In taking care of my mother the last years of her life, I witnessed her inability to confront her fear of dying. She truly raged against the dying of the light. I know that I want to die consciously. I want to be fully alive when I die. I want to have lived my dreams.

I feel more propelled to condensed action since 3 close friends have died in the last couple of months. One of them lived a big portion of her life trying to please other people – doing things she really didn’t want to be doing. I now get it at a level that I never have before that I need to live my own life.  To punctuate this vow, I took a running, jumping, flying leap off a mountain last summer. 

I’m viewing my own personal process of aging as a series of leaps into future possibilities that I’m igniting with gusto. I’m realistic about the fantasies I recognize as unattainable and I’m able to release them. Lately I’ve been going through my house throwing away items that don’t fit in with my goal of producing and performing my One Woman Show.  It’s symbolic of the balancing force behind the things I’ve given up by aging. I don't need to fill the spaces I've cleared in my house. Now I have room in my head and heart for laser-beam clarity into my future artistic expressions.

Here's wishing you the same,

Thank you m'dear.

You can enjoy Kathryn's poetry here as well as her neat site Redoing The Undone.