I came with the intention of loving everyone. It was easy. The holding room at the Phoenix Convention Center was wall to wall with brave people living their lives fully. Some of the younger people looked a bit like they were headed for the guillotine, and my heart really went out to them. It made me glad to be older, with enough experience to recognize that this was not a life and death matter. Shortly, another woman near my age sat down next to me. As the hours ticked by, we shared our histories, dreams, and faith. We found ourselves on the same page in different books, and so Diana turned into my best new friend. Others came and went around us, and we chatted, entertained, and attempted to help quell their performance anxiety. They finally called our numbers, sending us in different directions. I met some other lovely folks who needed some encouraging words, while we waited some more. At last, we entered the piano room. I was busy complimenting the young girl who performed before me, when they called my number. Whoops! But it actually got my energy flowing, as I jumped up and practically ran over to the X trying to make up for lost time. We were supposed to state our name, age and song. “I’m Cynthia Bythell, published song writer, and I’m 65”, I said proudly. “I’d like to dedicate this original to everybody who’s auditioning.” Before I knew it, my 90 second inspirational piano/vocal The Wish Planet was finished. And then it happened. The producer complimented me! (She was definitely easy to love.) It was a delicious five hour adventure to audition for America’s Got Talent. I’m still waiting. But now, it’s with great suspense for the results. When I turn the next page of the book, which way will my life go? In the meantime, I’ve turned 66…..
Was it just good luck? There she was “across a crowded room” as the romantic story always goes. She was absolutely aglow with the fun she was having with her friends. Our eyes met, and we smiled simultaneously. Minutes later I turned, and she was sitting next to me. A year later, we were married by a priest. It was a secret ceremony with witnesses at an Episcopal Church in the middle of the night. Sound easy? It was. And, it’s been easy for decades now. But in the earlier part of my twenties, I was quite embittered, and kicking sweeties to the curb at lightening fast intervals. So what changed? I certainly didn’t suddenly sprout new and improved relationship skills. But now, I did have a growing belief that there could possibly be “Someone” for me. Also, I had figured out it was necessary to be my unabashed honest self, and that within me there actually beat a heart (!) capable of leading the way. She was right there too. We were both ready. It was a good start, but why is it that the decades have been piling up? Maybe it’s because we not only love each other deeply, but we found “True Like”. Apparently, there’s a lot to be said for natural compatibility. You could count the fights we’ve had on one hand. So when people ask how we’ve lived so happily together for so many years, I just say, “It’s because we both like the toilet paper rolling in the same direction”. Wishing you love….
Whoa! 2018. Seriously? Sometimes it feels like I’m being pole vaulted through time. There’s never enough of it. The older I get the more important it feels not to fritter any of it away. Precious stuff it is, and easy to get stressed out trying to squeeze in everything I want to do. Funny thing though: When I slow down, there seems to be more of it. For example, I recently decided to add another lap to my swimming regimen. Telling myself to “Take it easy, and don’t try to swim too quickly”, I did indeed have plenty of stamina to easily complete the extra lap. I wasn’t even as tired as usual, and much to my surprise, the clock claimed that it hadn’t taken any longer than it normally does! What’s up with that? Does trying to hurry actually slow me down because I’m tense in my effort? Hum-m-m… Maybe trying to go “fast, faster, fastest” doesn’t actually give me more time.
Last night was nearly sleepless, with lists of things to do running through my head, along with startling realizations of things I’d forgotten about entirely (like writing this note to you around the beginning of the month). Sometimes the holidays feel like a fast moving train coming right at me! Fortunately, the rough night prompted me to take time this morning (which it didn’t seem like I could spare) to play with my 8 year old “puppy” Lucille, enjoy the lighted decorations, sip peach tea, absorb the warmth from the fire, and simply breathe in and out. Ahh-h-h-h… Soon, I started to feel the bliss of just being alive. Then came a gratitude list, a meditation, and some heartfelt prayer. It’s good to remember that the spirit of the season is actually about feeling the light and love that surrounds us, fills us, and sustains us. I’m glad I took a time-out from the Holiday Hubbub.