I don’t know why, really, I was willing to take a month, a whole month, and go away from my home and my job.
Some of it had to do with a turning point in my life. I turned 60 a few months ago, which surprised me a good deal. I never expected to live to 60. In fact, I didn’t expect to live to 30 (I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s, so everything seemed very uncertain all the way to now).
My friends gave me a birthday party to celebrate 60; my clever, sweet friends whom I absolutely don’t deserve, and my daughter, far left.
Duly, I became a 60-year-old person, and nothing seemed to change. I went to work as usual, came home as usual. Everything went on just as usual. But something was changing.
I was approaching the time of life when I could focus on the end of it, how to arrange the details so that it would come decorously to an end in some foreseeable future without too much trouble to my children, or I could figure out how to squeeze juice out of it, how to be myself confronting the world as it is today, instead of myself in some role (mother, teacher, choir singer, sister, cousin, friend) confronting the end of my own life.
The question was, how to turn the train of my life onto the track I had abandoned many years ago when I “settled down.”
At the end of the Harry Potter series, Harry wakes up in King’s Cross Station in a dream state, unhurt, unclothed. Dumbledore comes to him, and Harry asks, Where will he go if he chooses to die now? And Dumbledore replies, simply, “On.”
But where was “On” for me?