The Permission

17 August 2014

This is one of the articles I wrote for a New York weekly when I was 60, never suspecting that if I lived to be 80, I could give myself the permission I had always wanted.

The Permission

            For years it had been a fantasy:  the letter would arrive unsigned, in the mail.  “I am giving you a present of one year of time,” it would say.  “You will have no duties or obligations, real or imagined, trivial or grand.  Happy Birthday.”  Time without duty.  One year.  I looked at the calendar and smiled at the things I wouldn’t have to do.  It was sprinkled already with six months of the small obligations of the mechanics of living and the larger ones of family, business and pleasure.  I scanned the self-replenishing errand list and put it, with the calendar, in the drawer.  Continue reading


11 August 14

A while ago, I began to realize that as my peers move into oldest age, the ones who carry with them tools from the arts – music, painting, drawing, writing – are equipped – given health – to fill their days with pleasure.  They are seldom bored.  You don’t have to be mobile to read or write or play the piano or paint. Continue reading