Summary of Talking in Circles

What gets you up in the morning?

Classmates love the dawn, the sunlight, birdsongs, strong coffee, spring weather, time to be with their husbands, quiet time, urgency of the times, walking their pets, getting outdoors, stretching, exercising, helping a disabled child or sick husband, seeing grandchildren, being retired, working, volunteer commitments, music, drawing class, getting organized, getting things done, listening to NPR, reading the news, doing the crossword puzzle, living in a beautiful place… and then there’s the bladder, fear of bedsores and “some days I just don’t feel like it.”

What about life after Wellesley would surprise your 21-year-old self?

Classmates were surprised to have a great marriage, to be unhappy in a long marriage and get divorced more than once, to find themselves in a gay partnership, to marry a man 15-years older, to marry their best friend, to discover birth control, to fall in love with a married man, to learn about marriage the third time around, not to marry, to be athletic, to be so involved with the College, to work at the College for 25 years, to meditate, to deal with depression and bi-polar, to have the careers they did, to end up with a career completely different than they ever imagined, to become authors, lawyers, teachers when their expectations about careers was so low, to start a business, to find out that music was the center of their life, as an introvert to discover talking,  to find out how challenging parenthood is, to have a child who is cognitively disabled, to find that being alone is ok, to grow their own food,  to take action with their lives, to get older and discover life is good… and then there’s to live in an ashram, not to become President of the US, and to live in unexpected places like Kansas. 

What do you wish for yourself going forward?

Classmates look forward to continue working, to volunteering, to staying in good health, to taking care of themselves, to the health of their families and friends, to giving back, to being politically active, to seeking a more just society, to spending time with their grandchildren, to making a husband happy who was just diagnosed with dementia, to traveling, to writing, being creative, reading, hiking, singing, performing, helping others, modeling polite behavior, learning and doing new things, having new relationships, knowing where to focus, making sense of family history, living a full life, staying intact mentally, to cutting back and being more serene, to paying more attention to “life” rather than just barreling through it, being less hyper and more relaxed, to preparing for loss, to being graceful in aging, to make a smooth transition to the next stage of life, facing the prospect of mortality, to knowing their place in the Cosmos, to being grateful for the good things in life, to having more laughter, to seeing grandchildren grow up, to having the strength of being on their own after husbands die… and then there’s to living to be a 100, to starting a small Wellesley Club and to beginning a PhD in Europe.