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The Last Chapter

iStock_000017329893XSmallFor me, turning sixty marked the threshold of old age. I will be 62 this year, so now I am really in the thick of it! It does not mean that I have gone gently into that good night, but it does mean that the physical, psychological and spiritual changes of this particular passage are no less exciting or daunting than the changes of my twenties. I recall the young woman who I once was– full of edge and humor, pathos and pain standing on the precipice of life and daring herself to fly.

These past months have brought about a whirlwind of change and resolve and there are days that I marvel at how life continues to build upon itself regardless of years and days that I feel I should just lay down and take a nap until it all passes. My husband and I retired from our business late last summer–thirty-seven years worth of work that came down to some boxes for storage and a few tearful goodbyes. Then we started a consulting business that allowed us to work from home with less hours and far less stress. It provides some purpose, a context into which we build daily hikes with the dog and meals that are now served with leisurely conversation.

And at this strange new threshold that leads into the last chapter we dreamed a new dream. We recently bought a home in a small town in the northwest that will undoubtedly provide a greener moister climate, a larger garden, and a deck from which to watch the world.

I have friends that rail against this age and approach it with fear and even a little anger. You can fight it all you want, but we all march toward death everyday. Since that’s what is true, why not live and embrace every event to the fullest? I like being in my sixties. I will probably like being in my seventies. For once I have some real perspective from which to view a life richly textured–a life that knows the joy of celebration and a life that also knows how to suffer so that suffering can teach and even inspire.

These next months will be more packing and unpacking, a stream of logistical tasks that moves us from Colorado to the great northwest. I picture myself sitting on the deck of my new home, wrapping my hands around a mug of hot tea, watching with wonder as the early morning light creeps across the yard. I see myself sitting at my desk tapping away on the computer recalling or creating stories. And time and time again I see myself holding onto the hand of my husband, my friend, my partner as we look up into the dark sky on a summer night, counting stars and knowing that at the end of this chapter, we will return to the star dust from which we were born.


Novelist, essayist, blogger, wife, dog-mommy, dancer, dreamer, grateful.

15 thoughts on “The Last Chapter

  1. Such a lovely post. I am so touched by your words and your story. What is age but just a is our “life” that gracefully ages like wine, it becomes more meaningful, and more tasty as we grow. Happy Birthday!

  2. I am 75 in age but 20 – 30 in how I feel and think. The only thing that troubles me is , that if 100 is the best one can hope for then I am 3/4 through it. I have so many things I still have to do that I can’t worry about it. I still have my mother she was 97 last November , while I still have her I am good. Really enjoyed your blog.

  3. People like you are an inspiration. People who exude positivity and determination, yet still have all their priorities straight .. Hope you enjoy your new home to the fullest!

  4. This is a wonderfully beautiful post and it really speaks to me as a young women. At the moment I am trying to explore my own feelings about what is really important in life, and how to let the wonder and beauty of the world into my life in as many ways as possible. I hope to be able to share the joy I feel as beautifully as you have here. Thank you.

    1. Young women and older women–we learn so much from each other! Thank you for commenting and for sharing your exploration of about “what is really important in life.” For me, that has been, and continues to be, a living, breathing question, whose answer changes throughout the journey.

  5. What a lovely post Stephanie. Last… or first, or for that matter any number, age or life stage, is but linguistic construct, is it not. And as soon as accept that, new realms of possibilities can open up for us. The only thing we need to guard ourselves against is not to allow our biases and perceptual constraints to act as spoil sports in the party.


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