Yesterday was full and well-rounded. Got some divorce stuff done. Took a nice walk with the dog. Gardened. Read. Built Legos with Sebastian. And got some window trim painted that's been needing it for a while.
While painting, I was listening to podcasts. A Krista Tippett On Being interview with poet David Whyte really resonated, especially in its discussions of heartbreak, loss, vulnerability, aging, and youthfulness. Here's a link to the show and it's transcript. And below a couple of excerpts. First, on youthfulness at all stages of life.
All the visible qualities that take form and structure will have to change in order to keep the conversation real, just as we go through the different decades of our life, we have to change the structures of our life in order to keep things new, in order to keep our youthfulness.
And I do think there is a quality of youthfulness which is appropriate to every decade of our life. It just looks different. We have this fixed idea of youthfulness from our teens or our 20s. But actually, there’s a form of youthfulness you’re supposed to inhabit when you’re in your 70s or your 80s or your 90s. It’s the sense of imminent surprise, of imminent revelation, except the revelation and the discovery is more magnified. It has more to do with your mortality and what you’re going to pass on and leave behind you, the shape of your own absence.
In the last year I have discovered a new youthfulness here in my late forties. I hadn't used that term to describe it, but hearing Whyte's description, I think it is an apt term.
I also resonated with this discussion of vulnerability:
“The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability” — how we inhabit our vulnerability — “how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance. Our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.”
A "generous citizen of loss." What an interesting concept. I do think he's correct. Loss, grief, heartbreak, and suffering are inherent parts of the human experience that cannot and are not to be avoided. Life is learning how to live well with them and even in the midst of them to discover that youthfulness he mentions.