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Living from a position of gratitude

November 29, 2010

The day after Thanksgiving, Garrison Keillor introduced the Writer’s Almanac poem of the day, 25th High School Reunion by Linda Pastan.  Then he began to read…

We come to hear the endings
of all the stories
in our anthology
of false starts:
how the girl who seemed
as hard as nails
was hammered
into shape;
how the athletes ran
out of races;
how under the skin
our skulls rise
to the surface
like rocks in the bed
of a drying stream.
Look! We have all
turned into
ourselves.

I followed the reading, chuckling at the poet’s description of the all too familiar “reunion” experience.  I chuckled right up to the last line which suddenly filled me with so much more than humor.

“Look! We have all
turned into
ourselves.”

I began to think about the youth crazed standard we use to measure ourselves.  How we begin to mourn our lost youth and apologize for our changing bodies by the ripe old age of 30.  How quickly we begin to refer to what we can’t do anymore now that we’re “getting older.”

It’s possible that the poet intended a totally tongue in cheek picture of coming face to face with our aging selves.  But what if she meant to catch us off guard at the end by suggesting that it is a good thing at any age to be able to say, “Look!  We have turned into ourselves.”?  What if the point is to recognize and celebrate ourselves…25 years later?

The day after Thanksgiving I heard this poem.  It made me chuckle.  It also reminded me that at 61, I’m still “turning into myself”.  I wonder if deciding to be grateful for each additional year of “turning” adds a healthy glow to our face or puts a little spring in our step.

Turn into your best self today.  Live from a position of gratitude.

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