Ideas often run parallel like the events in our lives. They travel along side each other like streams. I recently penned a novella called It is Enough where the older characters conclude that life has given them what they need to live a productive life.
While writing it, I took a hiatus from reading other authors as I delved into my own project. But, the first book I picked up afterwards was Gloria Steinem’s Doing Sixty & Seventy. I wanted to see what she had to say and where see was in her outlooks and perspectives these days.
I saw her speak during my college years and she influenced my life in myriad ways. I don’t remember anything that she said specifically but her aura, her presence, her spunk and her resolve all stayed with me. She seemed so brave as she stood alone on that solitary stage and spoke to those of us who were about to make some important life decisions.
She advocated for women and aligned herself with women’s rights. Her own mother had given up her career as a reporter after a breakdown and Gloria and her sister Ruth cared for her. In her book biography it states “but those formative years gave Gloria a deep empathy with women whose spirits were broken and whose talents were lost to the world.” (Doing Sixty & Seventy)
Gloria spent a couple of years in India on a fellowship and this gave her a grand opportunity to become an astute observer of people, customs and societies. When she returned home, she had deeper insights and saw things from other vantage points. Thus, her life work began as a freelance writer and later as editor of Ms. Magazine.
In Doing Sixty & Seventy, Gloria mentioned that most notable women did their gravest work when they were in their sixties and seventies. She talked about the suffrage movement and other forms of activism where women championed people’s causes. She felt that they were finished raising the children and being the elusive good wife so they had the time and will to do so.
But, after nurturing and giving to others, the wiser ones learn how to slow down and breathe. She wrote, “What we keep is everything we need to support ourselves.” She currently likes to lose track of time as she lives in the present moment. She too realizes that life has offered her enough!
Lynn M. November 16, 2019