We’ve Never Been This Old Before

Even though our book is written, our conversation continues. The latest dialogue:

MD: Isn’t it great that we’re hearing from so many of our readers? It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one finding the path of growing older a little bumpy.  I find myself with less enthusiasm for work that I once enjoyed as much as pizza. While I’m still able to do the work, I’m not sure that the spark is there. 

NG: One of the gifts of having friends a decade older than I is that I get a peek into my future.  Another friend of ours, close to your age, has been sharing the feeling that she has almost no capacity left for the work that once engaged her. She’s feeling the energy drain from health challenges she’s navigated for a long time. Sometimes it scares me.

What can you do to reimagine yourselves in new ways? Ways that will rekindle the spark so that life feels as full as you want it to be?

MD: First thing I’d say to my friends a decade younger, Nadya, is to get done as much as you can! The other is feeling that I’m entering a new chapter of activity. I no longer want to do what I’ve been doing for the last forty years. Political activism is calling me today. My family and friends. And while I feel uncertain of what life will be without writing and being a pulpit rabbi, I’m curious. I feel freed from what I once felt driven to do. I’m actually enjoying my life more without the need to produce.

NG: You answered my question precisely. You are reimagining yourself in this time of your life. And, first, you have to allow yourself those moments of grief or sadness over the loss of what was. That’s to be expected, and is healthy. It says that you loved your life before, too. Now you’re showing up as the best example of what Reb Zalman taught us was the role of the Sage – one who has the longer view of life and the world, feels into what is most needed now, and speaks to that in whatever ways one is able. Your political activism may not look like that of the 20-somethings we once were. It will have to take into account the energy that you have, and your physical capacity. And, it will be informed by wisdom that was not present in your 20s.

MD: Thank you, dear friend, teacher, and colleague! What glorious words with which to enfold myself as the New Year unfolds! Wishing you a sweet, good, and active year!