The concept of a charmed life came to me serendipitously when, many years ago, I picked up Victoria Moran’s little book, Creating a Charmed Life, on the counter of a bookshop.
I’d imagined that some people were born to the ‘good life’, not that it was something one could attain with the right attitude.
It seemed those people had plenty of money, job opportunities, good looks. They also had grace and style, which attracted more good fortune. Until I read Moran’s essays, I never thought that one could create one’s own charmed life in spite of the curved balls that came one’s way.
House-moving at the beginning of this year involved de-cluttering and down-sizing. (You can read some of our adventures here and here.) We let go books we had loved as well as many other possessions, as we prepared for the new chapter in our lives.
A daughter, helping re-shelf the books, came across Moran’s book, which had somehow escaped the purge. She asked if she could borrow it. When she returned it, I flicked through the chapters, reminded of how influential in my life it had once been.
Living a charmed life at eighty years of age may seem like a far stretch of the imagination, but it seems like a good idea to try and recreate what I once practised. Getting to eighty is itself a sign of a charmed life. Add to that reasonably good health, a good level of fitness, a large and loving family and a comfortable home and I am blessed.
My friend Helen gave the valedictory speech when we graduated with our PhDs, when we were both in our seventies. She told the graduands that it is never too later to start a new project.
‘You may ask, how old will I be when I finish? As if that is an excuse not to start a new venture. You will be the same age then as if you don’t start,’ she said.
So, here I am, consciously re-embarking on the journey to a charmed life in my eighties. Fortunately, I have the wisdom to know that, for the most part, a wonderful life comes about through recognition of what is already good, and building on that.
John and I have a ritual every morning in which we share the things for which we are grateful. It helps to keep us focused on the lives we have..
Here are a few things from my charmed life over the last week
- James and Kylie (my son and daughter-in-law) gave us their tickets to the first Australian Football League game at the new Perth Stadium last Saturday evening. Such an adventure we had! Such an unexpected treat! It didn’t matter that it rained. It (almost) didn’t matter that the West Coast Eagles – the team about which I’m passionate – did not win their first game of the season. We enjoyed the trains, the crowds and the atmosphere. Whoever would have though such oldies would go to the football again?
- Our three-year-old great-granddaughter came to our house for a play-date/sleep-over. I love being woken by someone whose first question is, ‘What would you like to play this morning?’
- We celebrated Simon’s birthday joyfully at a Vietnamese restaurant, and several small people crawled under the table for the privilege of sitting on my knee and sharing my meal. Loved watching someone put grated carrot between chopsticks with her hand and eating from it the chopsticks.
- I texted my thanks for dinner and being part of the celebrations. Overjoyed with the response, ‘You are part of the celebration!’
- Light floods into our apartment, and through the curtains I see John on the balcony at his easel, painting.
- Holy Thursday Mass at our new parish church filled me with deep peace with its beauty and music. I look forward to the joy of Easter and the Easter season.
What constitutes a charmed life for you?
Please share in a comment.