Conscious Aging: “Not Up to It”

I’ve recently been in touch with a college friend about the Kavanaugh hearings. She and I don’t see each other often or even email, but when we are together we slip right back in to the easy camaraderie of our college years. I admire her tremendously. She’s had huge professional success, and is one of the most can-do people I know. She’s adventuresome, generous in spirit, incredibly smart and observant, eager and a risk taker and filled with a zest for life. Her motto, which comes up under her signature on email, is “Anything worth doing is worth over-doing.” That’s her in a nutshell.

She shared with me that two weeks ago she had a double mastectomy, and that she will have further treatment, as yet unspecified. There is an upcoming event in October that she had planned to attend. Now, she writes, “I realize I’m not going to be up to it.”

I’ve never heard those words from her, and they startled me.

Of course she isn’t going to be up to it — that’s not the issue. A double mastectomy is a huge deal on every level. Recovery takes a long time, more than from this month into the next, especially when further treatment is in the offing.

I think what startled me is that “being up for it” is so fundamental to my experience of this person. Her double mastectomy and the aftermath — older bodies and spirits take longer to heal — remind me yet again that we are all, even my indestructible friend, getting old.

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