You've Got To Fight For The Right To Party...Into Old Age
I am in the final stages of finishing My Life by Sofia Tolstoy. She continues to amaze me: how much she accomplished, and how she remained so supportive of her husband and family which at times was a thankless task.
She wrote of the celebration of a great poet, nearing the end of his life, and the community was going to hold a fete. She arranged for garlands and wreaths to be sent in her family's name, and many of her family members (minus her husband) participated in the celebration. She wrote, "As for me, I simply found it a pleasure to organize and take part in the event. As a rule I am quite fond of celebrations, glamour, fun, beauty, the company of pleasant people, although apart from the latter, I do have the company of pleasant people. I was destined to live my life completely outside of that whole (sphere.) On this occasion, too, fate robbed me of the very celebration I had organized." (She had to remain home nursing sick children.)
Later, she found in her husband's diary, his comments on that event: "Everybody's terribly silly, overeating, overdrinking, and singing. Even gross! Vainglory, luxury, poetry, it's all quite enchanting when one is filled with the energy of youth, but without youth or energy, with on the dullness of old age permeating everything, it's gross."
Sofia reports, "For some reason, however, I did not find it gross. I was happy to bring what might have been a final pleasure to this celebrity poet. Life is too hard, grey and complicated and that it's good when one sees flaring up from time to time, if not sunlight, then at least a tiny star!" I agree with her. This has been on my mind lately: the process of aging gracefully and not falling prey to the undertow of jadedness and negativity. It's an easy way out. You don't have to make much effort to be a curmudgeon. I hope I can keep striving for that light, or at least a tiny star.
Postscript: The photograph that I used was the last taken of the couple on their anniversary, September 23, 1909.