I am fiftyonederful today and glad to be alive. Thanks to my family and friends and you dear followers who have joined me in this journey round and round the sun, I am truly blessed.
This morning I went for a walk with my dog Lucky pondering birth-days. I got to thinking about that newborn self – that pure, sweet, unhindered self. As a baby we are a sweet elixir, a pure sip, a true soup of self, simple and raw flavor unlike any other fruit on any other day of our existence. As years pass and birthdays come and go experience and happenstance, effort and luck add to the mixture. More sweetness when love comes like ripened fruit, spices both sizzling and subtle get sprinkled in with lose and lust and labor. Sometimes ingredients are added in fistfuls and overwhelm the recipe, in times of great strife or loss these ingredients can add a bitter or sour flavor to that pure baby elixir that poured forth on our first day. But with consciousness and sometimes great effort we can change the course of our life’s recipe we can let the savory salty sweetness of life shine through, the sour and bitter inform but don’t overpower the broth. It seems to me that life is an accumulation of flavors and we are adding and adding with each day, somewhere along the way, a cooking down, a condensing begins. I’m not sure when this starts is at 50, 60 70? earlier? later? I suppose it’s different for each of us, but our soup of self begins to simmer. And over the years we are cooked down, the volume reduced but the flavor enriched. We boil and simmer and stew until another elixir emerges, related to that newborn broth but different. I saw this in my own two grandmas, very different women, very different pasts, and paths and choices unique. One was sweet and creamy the other salty and often sour. And as they aged (they each lived deep into their nineties) their broth of self cook down to a thick consommé. In the end the sweet was sweeter, settled and satisfied; the salty one struggled, the sour flavors adding fear and fretfulness to her later years. I want to acknowledge that dementia can be a cruel cook and one doesn’t always have control over the cooking process but I like to think, I want to hope that we have some choice, some power of selection, some jurisdiction over the recipe, how hot the flame, and vigorous the stirring. And so today, my 18,360th day of existence, I rededicate myself to the flavors of my purest self, my baby elixir, I pledge to added ingredients thoughtfully, stir gently, simmer slowly and let the recipe evolve as it will with each rotation of the earth each revolution around the sun.