By This Time

The subject of aging is never too far from my mind. After all, I’m reminded of it every time I see my reflection in a window or mirror. Who’s that? I think at first glance, then I do a double-take. Oh, I answer myself, that’s the new you – or, I should say, the newest version of you. You left the previous you – the younger you – back at the station marked Yesterday.

It’s a daily adjustment.

But on a deeper, more meaningful level, there are definite upsides to aging, I’m finding. By this time, we know things that only time can teach. The younger version of me would have loved to know some of the things I know now. She was always haunted by The Big Questions, such as “Where do I belong?” and “What should I do with my life?” Would she have been satisfied if told then: “Only Time will be able to give you the answers”?

So now, thanks to Time, now that I’m quickly approaching my seventy-seventh birthday, I’m happy to have a few answers. Perhaps you will agree…

Sunset in San Miguel — March 2022 (photo: BLB)

By this time, we know who we are and where we belong. We’ve likely traveled out of our comfort zones and learned how to communicate with those who speak different languages and don’t look like us. We’ve eaten their food, danced to their music, and laughed at their jokes. “They” have become “we.”

By this time, our worlds have grown. We’ve read countless books that have helped to shape us. We’ve studied many subjects and excelled at a few. We’ve made many friends who have helped to sustain us. We’ve learned to count our blessings and cultivate an “attitude of gratitude,” as Oprah would say.

By this time, we know that every older person we meet or pass on the street or sit near in a restaurant has by this time known pain and loss and heartache too. These dark valleys on life’s journey, we now know, are inescapable; we’ve all been through them. Someone should have warned us years ago, but that didn’t happen. We had to learn our own way. This revelation has taught us compassion, which enriches the soul.

By this time, as our outer clay shells begin to break down and we realize that pretty soon — as dust to dust – we’ll return to the earth, we can concentrate on what really matters – our hearts and souls and minds. We can be more generous than ever before with all that we have left to give – our affection, our attention, our talents, our resources. We can leave memorable legacies that need never die.

By this time, we know we’ll never know all the answers in this life (“Now I see through a glass darkly…”), so we’ve stopped asking The Big Questions. We simply strive to live peacefully, breathe deeply, walk carefully, and try to be the best beings we can be in the time we have remaining.

Sunset in San Miguel — April 2022 (photo: Kharin Gilbert)


35 thoughts on “By This Time”

  1. I just turned 70 – and I am seeking “what’s next” for this decade/chapter in my life. You present a much more “resolved” and contented attitude here. What are your recommendations for joyful and interesting 70’s? I feel I require new challenges…

    1. Happy B’day, Carol dear! I suggest you read some of the WOW interviews I’ve done over the years since I started writing this blog. I think they’ll give you lots of food for thought. Also, look into the books on aging that I’ve reviewed here. They too will help you on your new 70s journey. I think you should be able to find these posts in the Archive. — xx

    2. My dos centavos, I’m 78 and for me I get great satisfaction from helping whoever is in need the most in the moment. I’m in Mexico so it could be water and snacks for migrants passing through, teaching knitting and donating yarn to provide a useful skill. Small stuff that makes a big difference in another persons life.

  2. Yes to all of that but Bonnie, you haven’t left it all behind. I am still enjoying the mental picture of you running through my house skipping and waving your arms in delight. And you made it look perfectly “age appropriate.” Love you.

    1. Thank you, querida Kim! But your new house is so THRILLING! How else to respond to it except by jumping with joy?! 🙂 Blessings on your head — and your house. — xx

    2. Oh, Kim, I wish I had been there to see Bonnie doing that. A recent comment on a webinar about “branding” for authors reminded me never “to fake” what is not you, but always be true to yourself, and if being true is running around the room skipping and waving, do it! Glad Bonnie did. Age will never change who we truly are!

  3. BonnieDear, the text of this blogpost is as poignant as the photos of the sunset. Both are beautiful. Poignancy with just the right measure of piquancy could describe the wisdom you’ve shared here and over the years about aging gracefully and gratefully. xoxo

    1. Oh, Be, your kind words have just taken my breath away. Thanks so much. If only younger people (especially in the U.S.) knew that older age is not to be feared. It has its advantages!

  4. More tears in Phoenix. I’m oh so grateful that you put into words, regularly, what I’m thinking, but with such elegance. BTW, as our
    lemon tree shares the last, most juicy, of it’s fruits, I shuffle about the
    kitchen knowing your lemon tart recipe will be a treat. Thank you for the
    positive perspective of facing the mirror and that lemon tart recipe for the table!

    1. Marie, I’m so moved by your heartfelt words. Thank you for taking the time to share them. And when you make (my favorite) lemon tart, eat a slice of it for me. 🙂

  5. As always, dear BB, your beautiful words touch all of us. I particularly enjoy your levity with “You left the previous you – the younger you – back at the station marked Yesterday.” I love that. I daresay if I read this to my 93 year old friend, Lois, who just asked me if I thought she had enough money to live to 100, she’d have a much different take on your words coming from a young whippersnapper like you. Your spirit has always been a young one, (even if your soul has is an old one, like mine) and I will always think of you smiling and dancing. I love you and thank you for sharing your heart, which you have always done with equal parts of grace, style and generosity. xoxo

    1. Thank you, my dearest MM, for taking the time from your super-busy life (moving house!, rehearsing for your Broadway show!) to read my new WOW and write such a beautiful love-note. You are truly my archangel. Frankly, I hope I DON’T live as long as your friend Lois. I know my money won’t last that long. 🙂 Mucho love from me siempre in SMA, BB xx

  6. Que bello, la Bonnie!
    I certainly identify with “We’ve eaten their food, danced to their music, and laughed at their jokes. “They” have become “we.”
    Yes! And you a great role model para todos!

    1. Muchísimo gracias, querida Te! Yes, isn’t that one of the most wonderful things about getting older and experiencing more of the world? We all become “we.” — Abrazos fuertes, BB xx

  7. Hi Bonnie I haven’t been in touch for months. So much happening in my life. This year has been a year of loss and continues to be. I am travelling backwards and forwards to Australia at the moment to care for my brother who is dying of terminal cancer. At our age we loose friends/family of a life time. We have experienced loss and heartache, but we have also learnt so much with time and experience that age brings. No matter how fast the weeks fly past I always take time out to read your weekly blog. I so enjoy them and your style of writing.

    1. Thank you, dear Ann. It’s so good to connect with you again. I’m sorry to learn about your brother, but I’m sure that your presence is comforting to him. All best wishes to you and your family in the days/weeks/months ahead. — BB

  8. Beautifully said Bonnie. I am more alarmed at what seems to me a daily change in my appearance. Photos now never seem to reflect what I think I see in the mirror, and it is disturbing. How could my appearance have changed so drastically in just 8 years, 4 years, one week? It makes me realize that as my appearance is changing, so is my body, and I rush to experience all that I haven’t in the ever-shortening time left. Thank you for an insightful, thought-provoking article, written in such a satisfyingly beautiful way.

    1. Thank YOU, Betty, for your kind words and your honesty. Yes, it’s sometimes shocking to not recognize ourselves in the mirror. But then we learn to rise above the mirror (so to speak). Abrazos, Bonnie

  9. Dear Bon,

    I love how you capture the best aspects of growing older. I certainly agree with you, as many would, about the generosity of age and the idea of really wanting to be our best selves. But I’m not sure all people our age do care about these things. I think many become reactionary as they age and seem bent on preventing the “theys” from ever becoming “wes.” If all people our age embraced the beliefs you describe, maybe we could
    unite to end the divisiveness we are plagued by here.


    1. Yes, dear Paul, that divisiveness certainly is a plague in the U.S., isn’t it. I guess I’ve been living in warm, embracing Mexico so long I’ve lost touch (thankfully) with that plague. — Love you too, BB xx

  10. Thought provoking as always, Bonnie. Aging seems to be on everyone’s mind these days as the Boomers pass into these “senior” years. A few weeks ago, I listened to a series of interviews that Maria Shriver did on “radical aging” which was quite inspiring (Anne Lamott saying “aging is an inside job” was priceless), and a researcher saying that the happiest decade is the 70s. Lots of upsides to being older (including we’re still HERE!)

  11. You and your words are amazing. You capture it so well and the sunset at the end just so appropriate.! Congrats on your beautiful writing.

  12. I loved this, Bonnie. It’s so appropriate for me, too, as I approach my 80th birthday next week. Your reflections reflect mine! Thank you for the words of wisdom, only that which can come with long life.

    1. Thanks so much, Sher! I’m so glad you had a chance to read it and it resonated with you. Happy, Happy Big 8-0 Birthday to you next week, and keep going strong!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.