Ruth Mason
Writer, mother, parent educator, activist, gardner

Life in the Sixties: I’m turning 70 soon. Can I get it all done?

I can’t come to grips with the fact that I won’t get it all done.

This should become my new mantra. Repeat daily, as often as needed: I won’t get it all done.

Maybe that will drive this unwelcome fact home.

Maybe it’ll help me figure out how to tame the archer in me. Years ago, I received a birthday card describing Sagittarian traits. It was uncannily accurate. The Archer Sagittarius has a quiver full of arrows and he takes one out, aims and shoots, takes another out, aims and shoots that one, takes out a third – you get the idea.

It’s taken me a long time to see that’s what I do.

Right now, I have four projects going (not counting my part time job, visits to Fania, volunteering in a day care center, choir, dancing, recorder quartet, gardening.) And nowhere on these lists does the thing I most want to do (other than love my family) appear: write expressively. I’m going to be 70 in a few weeks. Im lo achshav, ei matai? (If not now, when?)

Talking to a friend about this dilemma, I saw the beginnings of a solution to the writing dilemma. I mentioned my old Jerusalem Post “Parenting” and “Life in the 50’s” columns and thought: That’s what I need. A weekly column. Maybe this thus-far-very-intermittent blog could be it.

But a blog is so different from a column. Getting printed and paid makes it more real.  Readers knew it was paid work — if the editors felt it was worth paying for, then maybe it’s worth reading. Who knows how many people would read my blog post?

Why do numbers matter to me? Writing for me goes beyond my need to express myself. Throughout my journalistic career (ugh, that word,) reaching people with ideas was my priority. As a newspaper reporter, I had to write about whatever was happening but as a freelancer, I chose topics that might open someone’s eyes, give them a different perspective. I want to reach people with ideas. So yes, size matters to me.

Then there’s the question of platform. I’m grateful to the Times of Israel for this platform but I have two problems with it: It doesn’t give people a “follow” button (other than the RSS feed which few people use and which doesn’t allow for the post to appear in one’s inbox) — and it’s from Israel. I live in and love Israel (still, despite) and my writing reflects that but I don’t often write directly about Israel or Jewish life. I want to reach people who are interested in reading about the last third of life but who aren’t necessarily interested in Israel.

Although a regular blog post doesn’t fully answer my need for creative expression (I’m thinking poetry, a play, a performance piece…) it’s a start. Ideas for other platforms most welcome. I’m sure the Times of Israel, with its hundreds of bloggers writing about these times in Israel, won’t miss me.

Now I just have to figure out when I’m going to fit in the time to do this.

About the Author
Born to Bukharian parents in Los Angeles, Ruth Mason immigrated to Israel with her family in 1993 after a long stint in Manhattan. She is a veteran journalist and columnist who now writes for Shatil, the action arm of the New Israel Fund. A lifelong baby lover, she teaches parent-infant classes based on the RIE and Pikler approaches.