I have just turned 78!! Getting older never bothered me much, but as my body is catching up to the numbers, the last few years have given me pause to think about what I want to do with my remaining “perky” years. Someday travel will be too exhausting, it almost is now sometimes. Someday my kids will take the car keys! I like a nap several days a week now, and I know that someday I’ll need them every day.
I may very will live to 100, but I’m thinking of the next 5 years or so when I have energy and strength, and the will to take on adventures. I still do extra-rugged hikes, I can climb over big slippery rocks and go up the 100 stair steps some trails have. But it’s a stretch and I don’t like that.
This year has been tough for all of us. Shut-downs and staying at home affected everyone, but this past year I also lost my mother (she was 98), and lost some relationships that were important to me, relationships that were sometimes hard but held the promise of becoming really good. But that hope, that promise, was lost and I knew the relationship would never be really good. I also lost some relationships that I thought were really good, easy even. And those seem to be gone in a flash with one disagreement. I often wonder about the stress that hovers over us like a threatening black cloud. There seems to be very little any more that we know “for sure” and we grab for control somewhere, anywhere. And letting go is never easy.
It took me awhile to “bounce back” from all of that, to trod through anger, through wanting to run away and live alone in the woods somewhere. To not be tired of trying! To be me again.
I am learning this year to be gentle with myself and whatever yucky place I am in. To know that I won’t stay there. At the time it seems that it will never end. But continuing to do all the things I know are good for me does bring the yucky stuff to an end in my heart. It may still be yucky, but it doesn’t stick to me.
Because this year I’ve finally learned to live within the circle of my influence, in my wheelhouse as some would call it. If I have no choice, if there truly is nothing I can do to change the yucky, or if it’s really none of my business, then I try to “let it go.” I have that song from Frozen on my phone and I play it often when I am in the car. I even sing along if I am alone!
I’ve been absent from writing this blog for a while, partly because I was plodding through finishing a book. I felt bad about taking so long to finish it, often feeling lazy. Until I realized that writing, or art, or anything that helps us march through life in a good mood, these all stem from some creative part within us. And creativity cannot be called up because we are “supposed to” get something done. Creativity has to be fed. And rested. Sometimes we need to stop with the deadlines we put on ourselves and go find that spark again. Feed our souls. But then that can get us in a rut. There is a line, I think, between taking a rest to feed myself but then, if I rest too long, I become lazy and lethargic and cannot finding anything I want to do.
For me, while I love writing and the challenge of finding the right words and sentences is exhilarating, I never, ever want to do it. If I waited until I wanted to sit here at my laptop and put words to screen, I would never do it. There comes the day, after resting and playing, that I must make myself be disciplined and just do it anyway. And quickly the joy then comes in the doing and words move easily onto the page. That is one of my big take-aways of the past year.
So first, I rest and play. Pull out the Legos and build stuff. Go for a walk. Bake bread or cookies. Draw silly stuff, maybe just put a bunch of colors on a page. Anything to find inspiration, some spark that excites me, that pushes me out of bed each morning.
Then, and only then, I tackle the thing again. With renewed energy. With renewed creativeness.
And this feels really, really good! And I am glad!