Eighty, huh? When I was a kid, that sounded impossibly old. But that’s what I became today, November 6th, 2019. It was never a goal of mine but just sort of snuck up on me. My dad died a week after his 81st birthday. My mother made it to 95 and some months, but her last dozen years were clouded by increasing levels of dementia. My sister, now 88, who heroically cared for Mother during all those twilight years, is doing well and is still mentally fit. I take comfort, moreover, in speaking—and using—a number of world languages. Research I read about found that people who speak at least one language other than their own have a reduced chance of contracting senile dementia or Alzheimer’s. Let’s hope that’s true. Por favor.
Of course, as the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans! So, I’m just doing the best I can, keeping busy, and hoping for the best—whatever the best may turn out to be. These days I try to eat sensibly (though I still consume too much sugar); do water aerobics with Cedar, my wife, three times a week; and have lately discovered a Brazilian form of yoga, Kaiut yoga, that is proving great for my sciatica and lower back. I do it three-to-four times weekly. Hey, it’s done just three minutes by foot from our house.
Perhaps most important, I’m blessed to be able to stay active. Cedar and I are still mentoring a group of young-women leaders here in Boulder. Called Bright Stars (They are!), they are in the 20s and 30s. We meet monthly with an older woman who shares about her life and accumulated wisdom. I have also started attending a weekly two-hour, four-year program the national Episcopal Church puts on: EfM, or Education for Ministry. I’m not trying to become a priest or deacon. At my age that would be silly. Rather, the program is based on Luther’s concept of the “priesthood of all believers.” The point is to help us become more informed, more constructively critical believers. There are 12 of us, with all four years together. It’s very stimulating. I also serve as a Healing Prayer Minister at St. John’s Episcopal, Boulder; sometimes usher; and participate in something called the Intentional Community, another group of twelve meeting weekly to learn from each other on how to deepen our faith. And while we’re talking spirituality, I’m halfway through my 59th year as a practitioner of the spiritual program called Subud. Check it out on Google or Wikipedia. Mostly, though, I am working to publicize, speak about, and sell my latest book, #10, called Wisdom for Living—Learning to Follow Your Inner Guidance, which the English publisher, John Hunt, brought out in July and is now available in both paperback and e-book formats. In its first three months, some 916 copies were sold. So, my basic idea on my 80th birthday is summarized in that old song, “I’m gonna live, live, live until I die.” Amen!