She knows what she wants even though those wants seem to go in different directions. After watching "Monsters Inside Me" (the series on parasites), she wants to be a "diagnoser" but she also wants to be a cartoonist and a veterinarian. She's sure she'll never mess up her life by smoking or drinking. I tell her I want to video her saying that because someday she'll be a teenager and may need to be reminded of her young wisdom.
We went to a flea market and I gave her $10 to spend however she wanted. She made a bee-line for porcelain-faced dolls. After she bought one or two, I started pointing some out to her but she informed me that she was "very particular" about what she wanted. I obviously didn't know the inner criteria. She knows precisely what she wants and how she feels about everything. When it was time for lunch and I asked her what she wanted, she thought for a moment and then said, "A cheese quesadilla." The specifics of her wants and desires are crystal clear for her.
What I want to know is where does that clarity go? What happens to that natural authenticity that seems to go into hiding as we enter our teens? Is rediscovering it part of this last stage of life? Now that we've reached a stage where there are fewer expectations of us, does that give us a new freedom to be whoever we truly are? Are these "encore years" a chance to play at least some of the parts we missed along the way?
If I were Ava, I wouldn't have to wonder about these questions. I would just know. I'd wake up every morning and do exactly what I want to do regardless of what anyone else thought. Wait a minute, that's what I am doing. Maybe this is my chance to be nine again.
About this image: "Insight" ... images taken in Puerto Vallarta.