There’s been a certain part of my life that has noticed an increase in activity lately.  It isn’t just my waist line for you smart asses out there.

It’s about friends, acquaintances and family leaving the stage of life.  More and more of them.

I first noticed the trend in my address book.  Several people listed in my inky scrawl are not around any longer. They  didn’t bother to remove their names when they left this world, they just left them as is, so I could think about them from time to time.  Rather than just a very few friends missing, now there are quite a few.

I heard from my husband that a former long-term boyfriend of mine has passed away recently.  Strangely enough, I had no emotional response.  He’s the second boyfriend to move onwards.  I just saw his photo and somehow between college and the present, he became an old man.  I would not have recognized him.  Is that true for me as well?  Any way, I was glad the relationship ended.

The pace of loss seems to be quickening.  I remember watching as my parent’s friends and family dwindled.  People who seemed so powerful to me could vanish.  Now at 80, I’m in the dwindling stage.  It’s a reminder to keep making new friends when possible.  It seems as if covid has put the whole world into decline.  There’ll be a lot of making up to do when we finally get past this mess.

In the earlier days of covid, there were times when I thought I might have the disease.  Fortunately, I was wrong!  I have lived.

Turning 80 was B I G.  I realize it’s likely, statistically speaking,  this could be a final decade.  I do have moments when I think that’s ok. I look back on my life and feel very lucky.  I have very little left that I think I should do to feel complete.  Whatever that means!  I guess that’s good.  I still want to live life fully and with just a bit of recklessness.  I don’t think, whatever I do, anyone could or would try to call me fearless.  Ha. ha.  If they say, she loved life, and I happen to overhear it, I’ll be happy.

More travel will be available soon, I’m hoping. I still like living a fantasy of travel in a trailor. Ideally an Airstream?  Not sure that will come true.

Another visit to Nantucket?  why not?

Yes, yes, yes to more Japan, although I can see a time in the not terribly distant future when that will become too great a reach.

I know that discussion of death is an unpopular topic here in the USA.  Take it or leave it from me as you prefer.  I think ignoring its imminence does us all a disservice.

I remember a time when I was first pregnant.  It was scary.  I remember looking at people when I went places and thinking that each of them had a mother who had given birth to them.  They all seemed none the worse for the birth experience, and I would tell myself, that I’d be ok too.  There were so many who had come before me.  It actually did provide some consolation.

So it must be with death.  So many have already passed. Made the transition? (That seems to be a trendy euphemism these days.)    I don’t have any religious tradition to cling to but that allows me freedom to make it up as I go along.  Let’s just say my take on it,  it’s a work in progress.  I’m glad I mentioned it.  I hope I haven’t turned  off too many of you, but maybe it’s something you’re waiting to talk about too.

My father turned to me as he walked me down the aisle.  “Courage!!” he said clearly.  I got it, dad!

Dianne Vapnek

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.

4 Comments

  • Julie McLeod says:

    YES, TIME AND LIFE MOVE US ON, EVEN WITH NO PERMISSION, BUT WE HAVE SO MUCH TO LOOK BACK ON AND BE PROUD OF. WE HAVE SO MUCH WE HAVE DONE, GIVEN AND LEARNED. IT HAS BEEN A RICH LIFE, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE OF US IN THE CREATIVE ART FIELDS. WHAT WOULD WE HAVE DONE WITHOUT THAT? OH, WE WOULD HAVE CREATIVELY FOUND SOMETHING ELSE.THANK YOU DANCE FOR HAVING DONE SO MUCH FOR THIS CREATIVE DANCE WORLD!!! WE HAVE ALL BEEN BLESSED!

  • Albert Reid says:

    A beautiful and ‘funny’ reflection on mortality.

  • Susan Alexander says:

    This was a very brave commentary on disappearing friends becoming more numerous, and ever-present death looming in the future. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dianne. You continue to amaze me, and I miss seeing you!

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