Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom
The following excerpt is from Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom (September 2010) by Mary Catherine Bateson, reprinted with the permission of Knopf Copyright 2010 by Mary Catherine Bateson.
Chapter I Thinking About Longevity
I like to think of men and women as artists of their own lives, working with what comes to hand through accident or talent to compose and re-compose a pattern in time that expresses who they are and what they believe in-making meaning even as they are studying and working and raising children, creating and re-creating themselves. Just as the use of a new room in a house depends on what is already there in the lives and relationships and possessions of the owners, the use of a new stage in the life cycle is related to what came before, ideally related in a way that is more than as sum of parts but rather an inclusive composition of grace and truth. It is often only in its final pages that a story reveals its meaning, so the choices made in later decades may reflect light back on earlier years. …