The unfertilized egg that eventually became each of us who has lived on this planet first came into being when our mothers were embryos. Today is my late mother’s birthday, so the egg that became me began approximately 103 years ago, give or take 9 months.
I have started this blog in October of 2021… and so I am currently 67 years old. It is very good to be old. When I was young I was obsessed with becoming something. My obsession remained stable but what I aimed at becoming had a tendency to change, mostly depending on the path of least resistance. As a teenager (my macabre period… Goth before Goth existed…) I thought I might like to be a grave keeper/grounds keeper in one of the many above ground graveyards throughout the great city of New Orleans. It suited my love of being outdoors, seemed to fill a practical need, and I thought it might keep me grounded (no pun intended) so that I wouldn’t fall into the folly of thinking life was eternal.
As a young adult I cheered up a little. I decided I wanted to become a nurse, so I could study biology, and in particular… human health, anatomy and physiology. A wiser elder thought I should become a doctor instead, but this was far too large a goal for me to imagine. My 1950’s Louisiana Catholic childhood inhibited what I could then envision. I didn’t know of any female doctors. I enrolled in a Licensed Practical Nurse training program and threw myself into the project with my usual zeal. I almost made it to goal. In the final month of training my head nurse educator altered a patient’s chart, and I witnessed her doing it. This is a legal “no-no.” She knew I had seen her. The following morning her assistant was given the job of dismissing me from the class. It was claimed I had failed the final pharmacology exam. I knew I had actually aced it. When I asked to see the exam and my grades I was told they were unavailable. My path was suddenly blocked. I chose another one.
My next goal was to graduate from a college, any college. The path was full of switchbacks but eventually, I had reached my goal, acquiring an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree, and finally ending when I became ABD (all but dissertation) on a Doctorate. Along the way I become a teacher, then a preacher, and then back again to being a teacher.
It was a few months after retirement when I realized suddenly, with great relief, that I had finally finished becoming and was now done with the obsession. So, here I am, in a state of mere being, no longer becoming. I am become. I just am. My focus has shifted to walking. I now understand that what I really want to do with my life, whatever is left of it, is to keep walking. The burden of my I.Q. (…people in my range are supposed to become an amazing something or other…) is no longer a burden. I mostly think about walking now. I seek out and enjoy the camaraderie of other people all over the planet who understand that walking is amazing. Walking is vital to my happiness and my sanity. I just want to keep walking.