I take this to include old women. I also take it that Eliot is urging us to make the most of our remaining years, years not infrequently impeded by ill health. That is to say, to follow curiosity, to be creative and contribute to the society into which we have been born.
I have a clear memory of pushing her around a black-tie reception at the Corcoran Art Gallery to introduce a book of writings from people at a homeless shelter where my friend hung out. Tipper Gore had contributed photos for the book, so lots of dignitaries were present. My friend had us weaving in and out of the crowd, constantly squeezing the rubber dog on the wheelchair handlebar that emitted a loud "bark" as jarring as a tractor trailer horn. Fortunately, I hadn't known it was a black-tie affair, so my casual attire made me look like a nursing home aide.
Difficult as she could be, I liked working with her, but my desire to contribute wasn't really satisfied. Then in March of 2001, I made my first trip to Nepal. I fell in love with the country and its people. For the rest of the decade, I made over a dozen trips there and found lots of opportunity to work with Nepalis who became my friends and family.
That time was very rewarding. Thailand is known as "The Land of Smiles." But, even though Nepal is a much poorer country, its people have even broader smiles and a genuine love of life I've not found anywhere else.
In March 2012, my Nepal focus shifted from Kathmandu and Pokhara to Washington, DC. I returned to Nepal last March for the wedding of my Kathmandu housemate, and he and his wife have been living with me since last April. When I returned to DC from the wedding, the wife and son of my Pokhara family were on the same flight, so that family is now reunited here in Washington.
Parkinson's closed the living-in-Nepal door. So, what could I do now that would let me experience something new and different. . . and at the same time provide an opportunity to work with others one-on-one?
No drum roll needed. This blog was an easy answer.
And so it continues. My concept of the blog is evolving, which keeps me interested. The feedback and comments I get (though I'd like to see more) satisfy my need for one-on-one involvement.
I do worry about maintaining a proper balance between writing about my life and living my life. I worry that I spend too much time at the keyboard. But that struggle to find the middle of the road has been the story of my life as I careen back and forth, from one side to the other.
So I'll end with this profound thought: