By Melanie Lee
Author, “A Year In Sedona~Meeting The Muse At Wisdom’s Edge”
(October 22, 2018)
Just when you think life has settled into predictability and you’ve got it all figured out, Boom! Here comes another major plot twist in your evolving story as the second half of life begins.
I know what I’m talking about. Been there, done that. Many of my friends faced the inevitable with equanimity, “What, me worry?” and just plodded on. Some put up a big, noisy fight: “Are you telling me I have to begin a whole new chapter in the story? No way!” Still others actively sought ways to embrace this plot twist as an evolution, using curiosity and a certain determined optimism to maintain the ability to jump up every day in anticipation of what their new story might reveal. I call the friends in this group the ‘conscious agers,’ and think they’re in many ways models for the rest of us looking to travel the road to wisdom’s edge.
While the dawning realization that we are no longer who or what we were, can be sobering, there are, as they say, extenuating factors. When this particular plot twist arrives, it offers opportunities and presents gifts at the same time that it asks us to leave so much behind. Here at last is possibly the most opportune time we’ll ever have for a meeting with the Muse. Because life after 60 presents us with the inescapable reality of the need to encounter and reconsider all those pesky Eternal Truths that occupy everybody throughout life. Like health, money, family, community, spirituality. And more often than not, there’s somebody who’s gone before you, now able to offer inspiration and information and who have made a special art of leaving sturdy trails for the rest of us to follow. Quite visible and vocal about stepping up to the challenges of arriving at wisdom’s edge, they can look ahead and see the scintillating possibilities available to all of us by practicing healthy aging, creativity, appreciation, gratitude and generativity.
I’m talking about people like the artists, writers, musicians, world travelers, spiritual seekers and visionaries, who are of a certain age but still energetically sharing their special gifts. These are the ones who can be counted on to say things like “I’ve never been to Chile before, let’s go visit Pablo Neruda’s house!” or “Why not start a new community meditation group to support world peace?” or “Think I’ll begin a new art project for the granddaughter this month.” or “ I’m going to enter the Senior Olympics in golf and Tai Chi again this year!” For all their inspiration, I offer big shout outs and loving thank yous to travel writer/photographer Paula Cullison, community activist Barbara Litrell, artist John Oakes and Senior Olympic gold medalist Louis Michalski.
And for all of us, I offer Pablo Neruda’s Ode To Age:
All old people carry in their eyes a child,
And children at times observe us with the eyes of wise ancients…..
To the man, to the woman who utilized their energies, goodness, strength,
Anger, love, tenderness, to those truly alive flowered,
And in their sensuality matured,
Let us not apply the measure of a time that may be something else,
A mineral mantle, a solar bird, a flower
Something maybe, but not a measure….
Time, metal or bird, long petiolate flower, stretch through man’s life,
Shower him with blossoms and with bright water or with hidden sun.
I proclaim you road, not shroud,
A pristine ladder with treads of air, a suit lovingly renewed
Through springtimes around the world….
Melanie Lee is an award-winning writer, editor, artist and author. Growing up in Texas, she read mostly biography and autobiography and dreamed of being a writer who could help inspire others to meet their muse by honoring beauty in everyday life. She holds degrees in languages and journalism and was a features editor and columnist, writing everything from lifestyle stories and business news to profiles of entrepreneurs, artists and inventors engaged in the creative pursuit of right livelihood. She lived for ten years in Northern New Mexico where she was creator and director of Sojourns Writing Workshops of Santa Fe.
At the second half of life she moved to Sedona with her husband Louis Michalski. She met her muse anew, took up painting, became a yoga teacher and avid hiker and wrote “A Year in Sedona~Meeting the Muse at Wisdom’s Edge“, available on Amazon.com or from the author. She can be contacted at
P.O. Box 1419 Sedona, AZ 86339 or email@example.com