It’s March. The Christmas cactus adorning our den is definitely a late bloomer–and so am I. I turned 65 in July, but that number hasn’t deterred me from continuing to write, sing, and create.
When I close my eyes, I can still channel 18-year-old unaware me. Tall and thin with long straight blond hair in 1975. Seated in an uncomfortable wooden fold-down chair. Legs crossed in Middlebush Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.
I was an aspiring journalism major. One of a few hundred freshmen and freshwomen taking a required business course. Bleary-eyed from guzzling too much beer and demolishing late-night Shakespeare’s Pizza, we listened to our Marketing 101 professor.
He waxed on about demographics and American consumption. We doodled in our spiral notebooks.
What I remember most is that he told us the range of consumption occurred between the ages of 18 and 65. That’s when Americans had the most disposable income to spend.
The implication was that life, purpose, and relevance stopped after that. After retirement. After 65.
Of course, these days, life expectancy–for those who live to be 65–is more promising. But nothing is guaranteed.
At any age, “seize the day” is a smart strategy. Especially in your later years when (at times) it feels like you are riding in a runaway wagon racing downhill. Even if on most days you are enjoying the freedom and wisdom that comes with age as the wind rushes through your greying hair.
All of this is preamble to tell you that I am on the cusp of publishing my 5th book. It will be a collection of my best poems. Many of them explore love, loss, identity, discovery, disorientation, transformation, realization, and acceptance–spun through the ever-present influences of time and nature.
I began writing poetry in 1993. I was newly divorced, raising my boys as a single dad, working long hours as a communication consultant for Towers Perrin in Chicago, dashing for commuter trains, grieving the loss of my father, and beginning to understand myself and my emerging gay identity.
I have written dozens of poems over the past 30 years. Stashed them in an ever-expanding Word file. (If you follow me, you know I have shared some of them here over the past four years. The act of doing that has fed the poetry beast inside me. He’s now ready to emerge.)
Yes, at age 65 it thrills me to defy the logic of my marketing professor. To assemble my poetry and share it publicly–all in one place–for anyone who chooses to consume it.