"Money Won't Change You, But Time Will Take You On"

In my 20's, I felt very strongly about having a bedroom to myself, free of a husband or lover's presence unless I allowed it. To me, it was the epitome of romantic/erotic relationships, guaranteed to stave off boredom and being taken for granted. I also desired a relationship with a lover who lived within an hour's commute by air, or six hours by road. The rationale was that during the week, our professional lives would be consumed by the attention we gave them, thus leaving us free on weekends and holidays to be completely absorbed with each other. For example, my place would be in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his would be in Los Angeles. No one with whom I shared these confidences ever agreed with me, or encouraged me to pursue a path they considered eccentric, at best, and a bit insane, at worst. Perhaps, my way of thinking was prompted by having married at 19, and bearing the shared responsibility of bringing up three children. At any rate, I never achieved the goal of having my own bedroom until I was in my 40's.

Now that I live alone, my perspective has shifted, slightly. I would love to have a companion whose wisdom and appreciation for me makes it easier to accept the changes that aging brings. Someone whose company is lighthearted and non-judgmental. Someone with whom I can laugh about not being as fleet of foot, or the importance of eyeglasses, foods that become increasingly incompatible with the state of our teeth/dentures.

Most of all, someone who does not allow our mortality to cripple our plans to travel, to volunteer for community projects, to embrace each other's family members without being smothered.

Somehow, I followed my intuition (probably from my upbringing) to have a circle of friends of different ages, cultures, sexual orientation, but with the common bond of celebrating our African heritage. Unfortunately, here in Panama, where I spend 80% of my time, friends of like mind, heart and spirit are not as easy to find; language and incompatible cultural practices make it difficult to socialize. But, I have found allies, and fellow travelers who love to get together for monthly "Ladies Luncheon" dates, carnival parties, and the occasional cruise. So, after having signaled to the Universe that I'm ready for a divine partnership with the man perfect for me, I write, dance by myself for exercise, Skype family and friends in the States, and elsewhere, to pass the time.

I no longer work outside of my house. Each day brings an opportunity to decide how I will use the hours presented to us. Each decision is made, taking into account my health concerns, as well as, my attitude.

Growing older can be managed if a plan to age gracefully, was initiated in one's 20's/30's by creating relationships with others of like mind, heart, and spirit (Caveat: everyone changes according to life's dictates); developing work not impacted by time/distance, and that satisfies the soul and heart. Paradoxically, the wisdom to prepare for old age seems only to come with old age!

To withstand circumstances, requires a level of courage that most of us lack. For me, it is to keep moving forward and having the faith that it took for my ancestors to endure-- being uprooted, enslaved, transplanted, tortured, brutalized, dehumanized--and in their DNA, passed down to me. It is my responsibility to honor their memory by using their example to leave a legacy of love, peace, joy and abundance.

Mi Sueno Vivo