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When I was a child, it was impossible to imagine myself inhabiting the body of an adult.  Now that I am an older adult, it’s difficult to remember myself as a child.  It’s been this way since I outgrew my child’s body.  It continues to be difficult to imagine myself as a very old woman, although it ain’t as hard as it used to be!

Does this sound familiar?

Can the real me stand up?  Is the self a constantly mutating, evolving concept? Or,  is there an unchanging essence of self?  Age has helped me grow more confident, more forgiving, more patient. Some aspects of myself as a child I would no longer recognize.  Thank the Lord.

Some of the passions of childhood have continued through life so far, but others have proven transient.  While writing this, I am reminded to a few strong simplistic philosophical undercurrents that influenced my youth.


When I was a young teenager, I decided I was a hedonist. If we’re all going to die, what higher purpose could there be than to have a good time while waiting around?

I liked the song, made popular way back in the 1930’s,  Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” That fit nicely with my newly adopted devil- may- care spirit.

I knew Frank Sinatra was singing about me when he belted out, The Lady is a Tramp, especially the lyrics that talked about “the clean fresh wind in my hair and life without care.

I can still relate to Alfred E. Neuman of Mad magazine, whose byline, “What, me worry?” became the way I internally countered my Mother’s worrying habits about my going off the rails during my rebellious teen years.  I remember drawing a picture of Alfred with the byline in the cover of my 9th grade school notebook.

Mom was a self-described worrier.  I worried too, but about very different things.  I really didn’t care whether I got an A- or a B+, nor did I care whether my friends were Jewish or otherwise.  At some point, I tried to adopt my Dad’s positions on life, which was the essence of what me worry, as long as he had a drink when he came home from work and a golf club in his hands on Sunday mornings.


My belief system is more nuanced now, but I also think I wouldn’t have to scratch far below the surface to find an operational pleasure principle.  There’s a reason cherries are my favorite fruit.

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

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