I Invited Five Wise Women. Here’s What Happened.

I’m not a person prone to inviting friends to spontaneous dinners at my house. I’d like to be more of a “sure, come on over” kind of person, but in general, I’m not.

Because… any dinner, no matter how simple, seems to require some sort of more-special-than-usual food prep, cleaning the house, and straightening things up to look casually wonderful, as if my house looks that way all the time.

Which it doesn’t.

I must say I do love when the bed is made, when kitchen counters are spotless, when the throw is draped elegantly over the arm of the sofa. I love when the pillows look as if someone with an artist’s eye placed them as perfectly as the sun rises and sets.

In reality, I usually make the bed, but not always. I cook, and sometimes I clean up now, sometimes later. Jackson (my 11 lb. dog) loves to play with sofa pillows. When he’s feeling extra happy, he snuggles behind them and paws at them — sending them sideways at the very least, or better yet, flying to the floor. All of them. He’s thorough.

At any given moment, my home looks, shall we say, quite lived in. You can tell exactly what I’ve been doing. And not doing.

And because creativity wins over cleaning every time, keeping the kitchen floor clean-enough-for-company automatically dives to the bottom of the to-do list. It no longer asks where to sit.

No, I’m not a slob. But in a creative spurt, or in the middle of a project, which I confess is practically all the time, I slide most certainly toward disorganization or disarray. I blame it on good reasons. I mean, why not?

But here’s what happened on Friday.

The idea to have a dinner for some women with whom I’d taken a class dropped in for a visit. It was one of those creative ideas with “Do This Now” attached, and I pay attention to those.

So I texted the women and told them why I wanted to invite them over and have a meal together. All but one was available, and on Sunday evening, they knocked on my door and festivities began.

What a good time we had! The armful of flowers one woman brought from her property matched the table conversation — colorful, deep, gorgeous.

We helped each other. Laughed. Told stories. Ate good food.

Hold On. Wait A Minute. Am I Behind?

Do you ever have the thought that something should have happened already? Like a life event, success (whatever the heck that is…) or an accomplishment? That you’re behind? That time is running out and you must hurry?

I have felt that way sometimes.

Well, often, actually, especially lately. (Some say it’s a Capricorn thing.)

I’ve looked around, mind you, and most people my age are retiring. Talking about retiring. Planning for retirement.

But what I’m wanting to do these days is what most people do much earlier in life — and I don’t know if I can do any of it.

Or most of it.

Or a little bit of it.

Perhaps I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.

Examples of Late Bloomers.

It’s good to know that many people have done their best work late in life.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 years old when “Little House in the Big Woods” was published. She wrote other “Little House” series including the final one at age 76.

Peter Roget was an accomplished doctor, lecturer, and inventor who suffered from depression. He retired at 61, and to cope with depression, he pursued something he enjoyed. He created a catalog of words organized by their meanings. The first printed edition of “Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases” came out when he was 73. He improved and revised it until his death at age 90.

Anna Mary Robertson, eventually known as Grandma Moses, was coping with depression over the loss of her husband, and looked for ways to keep herself busy.

(Sounds familiar…)

In her 70’s, she devoted herself to painting and was entirely self-taught. Her first big break came when she was 78. An art collector saw her paintings in a local store and bought them all. Shortly after, her paintings were displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She wrote her memoirs at age 92 and died at 101.

Who Knows.

I don’t know how my life will look or feel going forward, or exactly how to accomplish anything regarding writing or teaching about relationships that I see for myself.

I no longer have a life partner, and I’m still adjusting to that. Apparently, I get to live this part of my life without the up close and personal influence and support of another person.

It’s a whole new ballgame, folks.

Because of dinner with these beautiful women, I chilled out. Calmed down. Took a break from made up ideas which were causing inner pressure.

I feel more able to let things be. Let things unfold how ever they will. It seems I’m not late for an important date, I’m right on time.

Could I have written like I’m writing now when I was thirty years old?

Nope. Not even.

I tried, in fact. I wrote a book when I was thirty-three, got a New York agent, and the book didn’t sell. (Self-publishing was not much of an option back then.) I needed to ripen. I needed to practice writing.

Thanks to the five wise women who came over to share food and laugh with me, it’s nice to feel more relaxed, more in the flow, more able to live in creativity and curiosity.

I like those wings.


I invited five wise women., In Care of Relationships, late bloomer, Terri Crosby

Comments (7)

  • Charleene Nicely

    Thanks Terri,. This is just what I needed to hear right now. And I love the idea of impromptu gatherings. Thanks for sharing deeply so I don’t feel so alone in this ‘ who am I now’ stage of life. Charleene

  • Marilyn and Bill Hubbard

    I say it’s never too late! I’m 76 galloping my way to 77 in early October. In my retirement I’m busier than I have ever been (and believe me I was really busy all my life, raising children, working hard, volunteering, doing additional graduate studies, traveling, maintaining a wonderful relationship with my husband etc. etc. ). Of course, now I create my own busyness and say “I’ll do it as long as I’m physically and mentally able and as long as it’s fun and doesn’t seem like too much work.” So what am I doing these days? Well, it helps that I live at Deerfield Retirement Community so some dismal tasks like cleaning the toilets and scrubbing the floors and having one meal of the day served to me allows more time for me to be…well, to be me! I sing with Womansong, I serve on the New Start Program Committee, I created regular weekly afternoons of art called Paper Capers where we gather to share creativity, I’m a facilitator and writer/presenter for our monthly Writers Read, I take art classes. A couple of times a month I head up Marilyn and Friends, a group of us from Independent Living who go to Skilled Care and play the piano, sing, dress up and act silly for our neighbors who live there. This Friday I will play the piano for our twice a year Singalong with a couple of friends joining me and a group of “singalongers” numbering 50-60. The great thing is there are my neighbors here at Deerfield much older than I who keep on keeping on. There’s Jean, a former Marine, in her mid nineties who still leads tours. A couple of years ago the administration suggested strongly that she not continue to wear high heels for her own health and safety. There’s Peggy who is over 100 and stillwins most of the time at duplicate bridge. There’s another Jean, also in her 90’s )who has serious vision problems but still swims daily and works at our little boutique store here at Deerfield. By the way, I’ve just been elected to serve for two years on our Residents Council and will chair one of the 8 committees. I could tell you more but I have a busy day ahead of me!!

    • Marilyn, I read your comment, and what a comment! You’ve told such inspiring stories about YOU and about others who live at Deerfield. I am totally impressed with what you’re doing at 76 and what others do. I love the part about the high heels :–)!! Thank you for writing — I’m fueled and ready for the next 20 years. love, Terri

  • Well, this just demonstrates what a brilliant writer you are! And there’s the whole thing of being a Capricorn. They do everything late in life!

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