The Joy of Still Being Here
And sharing stories
A year ago, I forced a handful of friends and people related to me to subscribe to this idea I had called A Considerable Age.
I crossed my fingers and hoped a few more people would sign up, and maybe some might be interested in sharing their stories (cuz I sure as hell didn't have THAT many stories). In the past year, twenty writers joined me (only a couple related to me), and we published a story every Sunday; loving it when readers hit the little ❤️ or left a comment that something resonated (or not).
A few more friends subscribed, and even people I didn't know began reading. What's exciting is that today there are so many more of you than I could have dreamed possible, and you are from everywhere.
And just as an aside, what if I called this little publication The Older Age? Retired Age? Advanced Age? Golden Years Age? Old Age? Senior Age? Nah, you probably wouldn't be interested. We are CONSIDERABLE in so many ways.
I love people's stories, and I can listen to someone reminisce, if not for hours, then at least for the duration of a shared meal. Some stories take a while to tell, like a friend's story about the time he was friends with Abby Hoffman. Others are short, but funny, like a story told by another friend about getting on a bus to go to his first protest when he was eighteen and seeing his mother at the back handing out salami sandwiches.
My dad shared his stories over many successive conversations during the last three years of his life. His stories were the kind that took a while to tell.
Yup, all of this started in a long-term care residence. The stories my father shared percolated in my mind for several months following his death. One night after I stacked the dinner dishes in the dishwasher and wiped the kitchen counters clean, I made a cup of mint tea, brought it up to the desk in my home office, opened my laptop and began to write.
I didn't have a plan, but I thought I knew the ending (he died). As I wrote, a tap turned on, and well, I am still writing stories.
I love when a story teaches me something, touches my heart or makes me laugh. I ache when shit happens to someone that's hard for them to deal with, and I marvel at their incredible resiliency. I'm curious about all the granular details of people's lives. Yet I consider myself a private person — or I thought I was until I started sharing my stories online with strangers.
Thank you for your support and for coming along with me every Sunday morning. It's been a labour of love, and I'm so appreciative you joined. I hope you will consider sharing your stories. We have so much to learn from one another (thank you to one reader who reminded me of that).
I have lots of plans for A Considerable Age in the coming year. But my wish is that when you open your email on Sunday mornings, you feel like a close friend has sent you a story — something they wanted to share.
“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground." It’s an African proverb. I think every person is a library of stories.
This is a long way to say I am taking the day off. No real story today. I wish you the best for the coming year: health, family times, friendship, laughter and many more stories.
P.S. Here’s a link to all the stories published in 2022.
As one the contributors accepted for publication in the “he’s a relative” obligatory category (although I did think of sending my submission in as the Milan-based Davide Fioredoro to dispel accusations of nepotism), it has been a pleasure to read these posts all year. There is a craft to short essays and stories so different than long novels or memoirs (see George Saunders’ wonderful book “A Swim In A Pond In The Rain”) that is beautifully on display here each week. These are poignant miniatures, tinged with both the sadness and the joy that accumulates from having lived to a considerable age. And I should add that some light editorial dusting by Alice made for a better finished product in my case. Please keep this going - and a happy, healthy 2023 to all.
Well done Alice. Great stories and I have really enjoyed reading each and every one of the them.
Happy New Year!!