“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.” -Leo Buscaglia
I’m a morning person. I’m sharpest in the “wee small hours of the morning…” as the song goes. So aging agrees with me. While my friends complain that now that they’re older they’re waking up at 4 and 5 a.m., I revel in this pattern that allows me to get a jump on the world. Because I work and live on the West Coast, I can start calling people on the East Coast at 5 a.m. and astound them that I’m up and at ’em so early. I can get in that morning walk with no excuses, and on winter mornings it’s enthralling to see the moon just before dawn.
Between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., I do much of my writing while watching the dawn break over Angel Island. (I live in Sausalito…heaven on earth.) It’s peaceful in the morning, and the feeling of a new beginning is evident with the rising sun. It’s a time to make lists of things to do and people to call.
Television is our modern-day gift to the morning as well. We can tune in to the world, learn what happened as we slept, do some exercise or yoga directed by some distant instructor. We can read that home-delivered paper in peace without constant interruption from family. The joy of maturity is especially sweet for those who had to put themselves second to others all their lives and who now can breathe the air of freedom and turn the focus on themselves. We are the lucky ones. Because we have reached the upper years intact, we can experience a sense of survival and gratitude.
Just as the morning allows us to start each day anew and do an inventory of our lives, maturity invites us to savor the day in light of our personal experience. Each of us has a story, complex and vivid. What we need now is to maintain a sense of purpose for each day of our lives and to extract the best from the simple things. A new beginning.
Rather than lie in bed and try anxiously to go back to sleep, get up and go. Resist the temptation to be comfortable or to give in to the belief that now that you’re older you should take it easy. Unless your doctor has ordered this, chances are that your physical health, your mental health, and your relationships with people will benefit by your get-up-and-go. You’ll feel better about yourself, and others will be drawn to you because people love to see older folks who are enjoying life. Everyone is looking for heroes, for examples of aging that they can aspire to. Why don’t you get up tomorrow morning and become a hero for someone?
The above essay is from Look for the Moon in the Morning, a collection of inspirational essays written especially for mature women by Leda Sanford, former editorial director of Get Up and Go! an Age Wave publication. The book expresses her philosophy that it is never too late to recreate ourselves, to explore new horizons and to enhance our quality of life.
Leda Sanford’s book Pure Moxie (October 2010) is a memoir that recounts her personal journey from the suburbs to the top of the magazine field in the 1960s and 1970s women’s liberation era. Both books are available online and at Amazon.com. More on Leda Sanford at ledasanford.com.
Today Leda divides her time between writing and influencing her two grandchildren, Miles, 11, and Monica, 5, who live only 20 minutes away from her. How lucky can you get?