“Strange New World” by Betsy Lewis
I have a date this week — with a man.
This surprising state of affairs occurred because the 63-year-old me dropped the ball recently and left the job of running my life to the 20-year-old me. In my absence, I find that the 20-year-old has done a fair amount of remodeling of my body and soul. It was she who set up this date.
The 20-year-old made her reappearance in my life recently when my old boyfriend from 43 years ago came back into my life. It was a tumultuous reunion and, from the outside, it looked like the whole thing ended badly. However, there were some significant things that were healed for me, and the support of a few special friends kept me sane.
So, now that the 20-year-old has tasted freedom — and liked it, she has decided to stay for a while. I have her on a short leash for the time being, but the truth is, it’s felt good having her back.
SHE. IS. FUN. She is also energetic, optimistic, smart, idealistic, earnest, intense, and creative.
She has me running on the track again — and liking it. She has me cutting out sugar and blending green drinks. She has me whittling down my body, so I can physically keep up with her.
She makes me happier than I have felt in a long time and I can see that embodying her is essential to living out my creative potential with the years I have left.
When I asked her what a creative life would look like to her, she made this list:
DANCE, run, walk, hike, create art, try new art mediums, workshops, classes, learn new skills, explore new places, EXPERIMENT, WRITE, publish the Walkabout Diaries, make creative friends, practice compassion, find someone to love, get art out into the world, organize art shows, self-exploration, conversations over COFFEE, deep sharing with friends, CELEBRATE everything, see more of the world, COLLABORATE with artists, start a writing group, do scary (but mostly safe) things, MUSIC, Play, Be in water.
The 20-year-old, unfortunately, can also be reckless, self-critical, overly trusting, and sometimes lacks judgement. It is a little disconcerting to the 63-year-old me who had all but settled down for the long slow slide into dementia — but now has a 20-year-old to manage.
The first time around her 20s this lovely girl got the joy kicked out of her. But as a friend pointed out — what could be better than the wisdom of a 63-year-old and the joie de vivre of a 20-year-old — combined in one person.
We could be a force.
And this time around, she has someone to protect her magic.