Letter to a Friend at 45

I can tell you that I am happy in this life. I work for myself, answer to no one, come and go as I please. I wander the rooms of my world and find god and magic in the corners. I have good friends, good connections, an active creative life. I eat well, dream often, and make love with as much passion as all of that affords.

And yet…and yet…and yet.
I never stop expecting more.

• • •

Text ©2011, Jen Payne
Image from the Illustrated London News, 1884.

20 thoughts on “Letter to a Friend at 45

  1. for a moment, i thought i was reading virginia woolf or mary shelley

    the image puts your words into many contexts – contemporary, victorian, roaring twenties…

    and the image itself – part photograph, part line drawing? it’s quite an illusion

    jen, i wish you had taken it a little further – to me, the ending is a cliffhanger!

    what magic awaits her in the corners? for the most part, her life is good, and yet…

    ah – it leaves me wanting her to read us a little more of that letter!

    1. I suppose in a way – after I wrote those words – I realized it was something anyone could write. Right? This right here is good. This works. This fulfills me. And yet…and yet…and yet.

      Is there more to the letter? or does it have yet to be written?

  2. I really loved the story and the illustration is perfect for it. But , I think you should have stopped it after “I never stop expecting more.” The rest seems like you just added it on because you felt you had to. But, hey everyone is a critic and I don’t have the courage to blog so, I have to say that I absolutely loved it!!! And the picture just flows so well with it.

  3. Love this piece! Between the image and the words, I thought I was reading an excerpt from some great novel–kept looking for the credit! I agree with TJB Googins and Mary Anne both: the ending is a cliffhanger (without the “Such is life…” line). Would love to see you take it further!

  4. I too thought I was reading the words of the woman in the print. Then I realized they were your words.

    So then I had to reread it. And it immediately bore upon a discussion I’d had today about what is enough. How do we know? Is that easy? Difficult?
    Is there ever enough?

    Actually, I think in this case the image and your words are enough.

    1. I hope there is never “enough.” Or that it comes with my last dying breath at least – “now I’ve seen everything.” But, really, how can there ever be enough when there are so many places to see, conversations to have, words to read, food to taste, spirits to know?

  5. You are quite right — there are always more places to see, conversations to have, etc etc etc. And we can welcome them, enjoy them, rejoice in them, be grateful for them.
    But that is not what “enough” is about. At least not all it is about, or necessarily what it is about.

    I doubt if I can convey a delicate thought that’s really hard even to think clearly about, let alone to express. But I feel I should try!

    A clue: contentment. Not as a negative, saying no, no more. Rather, a positive. Sigh, words fail. Enough.

    1. No, I get where you’re going. Like…like an great meal at a fabulous restaurant? You enjoy the entire experience – the people, the decor, the meal, the conversation, the wine, maybe even the dessert – and suddenly it is “enough.” You are full and content and sated.

      Like that but on a bigger scale maybe?

  6. Exactly!
    See, you were able to put it into words.

    To me enlightenment— or a full life or something Zen-nish — would be that on the biggest scale possible, every moment!

    I certainly haven’t achieved it —
    but have had occasional glimpses of that fullness and content. Enough, and running over.

    1. Like you, I have seen moments. Tiny slivers of understanding “that” – but then I want to know WHAT’S NEXT? Even after that fabulous meal at the restaurant? I might still come home and want a little snack of some sort!

      But remember, I can’t eek out a five-minute meditation without wandering off–physically, mentally, spiritually. I suspect “enlightenment” might just have to keep up!

  7. Just recently, I said something rather miraculous to myself . . . “I love my life, just as it is. Wouldn’t change a thing.” Not many people can honestly say that without adding a “but.” While there are still things I want to do, I love what home feels like and I’m happy with who I’ve become. :-)

    1. The peace within is such a good thing. Not always easy to “find,” but as you noted, miraculous when you can!

      Welcome home, by the way!

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