The question for today's One Minute Writer was "If a movie were made of your life what genre would it be?" I knew immediately, it would be a documentary and it would discuss my four stages [or four lives as I think of them]. They are prototypical in Eastern philosophic thought -- although those ancients didn't really count women in their philosophies.
First was physical maturing and education, roughly to age 22. Thereafter came the nest building/procreation phase that included marriage, children, community involvement. That ended at 40. Then came a period of career/intellectual life -- largely writing plays while working to support myself, this one was about 25 years. And now I am in the fourth phase which is partly creative but also the period given to intellectual accommodation to the fact that life does not last. The period of understanding what it was about, what I accomplished [and didn't], what my life has been about and is currently about.
Like the Tibetan mandala in the illustration, I have a sense of these four divisions within the circle that is life, the circle that is the world. I have not always felt balanced, nor do I always feel that now. But when I take a long view -- when I'm asked to define a life I feel I have, in my totally individual way lived [and am living] the quadratic stages of life. If there were a documentary, my own life would be only one illustration of the many ways these four stages are lived and understood.
Standing back to take a broad view like this occasionally is very grounding and satisfying. I was at a birthday party this afternoon for someone turning 47; among the group were children and young people just starting the nest building stage. The four quadrant were represented. Of course, the subject was not discussed as it almost never is outside of formal settings. I find it comfortable to represent the oldest segment.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!