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Lucy Hitchcock

Reckoning of the Ages

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I’m a New Englander through and through—from a long line of educators, ministers, farmers and humanists. These were humans who lived hard-scrabble lives with optimism and reverence for the power of the mind and the value of learning and hard work. Most of these ancestors didn’t have two nickels to rub together, but their duty-bound sensibilities drew them to lives of service and generosity.

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As I get closer to the age where it is conceivable that I, too, may some day be some one’s ancestor, I am faced with the reckoning of the ages: we grow older, we become infirm, we see the transformation of our bodies. But what is surprising and delightful is that along with the cracks and crevasses there also comes a new kind of reward.

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On one hand, there’s a softening. A mellowing. Really it’s a new way of understanding what’s important. Wisdom. Some truths. A bit more generosity.

On the other hand, a fearlessness. A new ability to try anything. Interesting that the willingness to fail leads to production. The desire to wander without aim invites uncertainty and unknowing. These spaces of doubt or ambiguity become energizing, nourishing, and welcoming. All thanks to the cracks and crevasses.