“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” – Joseph Campbell
Any former English Majors out there who remember Franz Kafka’s famous short story Metamorphosis? You know, the one where he wakes up as a cockroach. That’s how getting old felt to me. Very sudden and scary beyond belief. Sure there were signs – my gray hair, plenty of wrinkles, and that incessant AARP card they kept mailing me. But by the time I hit 60, there was no denying I was getting to be, gulp, a senior. I went through all those grief stages that I can’t remember, and finally just before my 63rd birthday this last June, I accepted the current status of my life: old, and getting older daily.
Now this is not to say I am going gentle into that goodnight. In fact, participating in life is what this blog is all about. I want to make the most of the time I have left on this planet, and I am creating this blog to help me make good on that promise. Unfortunately, I won’t be living the lush and lavish life I always imagined. Job lay-offs and divorce took their toll, and so here I sit living on a fixed income with a mortgage that I don’t expect to pay off in my lifetime. But there is plenty of good too: a wonderful husband (of only 3 years), 2 great dogs, our own home in lovely Bend, Oregon. I have grown children, step-children, siblings, grand-children and friends, all of whom I love dearly and feel blessed to have in my life. And except for possessing some rather flimsy bones, I am wonderfully healthy.
One of the reasons I am feeling so smarty pants healthy is that I recently shed 23 lbs. To fill you in on the last 50 years, I have been gaining and losing these same 20-some odd pounds since I was a teenager. I decided this time I was going to lose them for good, and I was determined to do it sensibly. Which I did. These days I am learning to maintain, which is a whole process that I always skipped before, thus my yo-yo history. You know, the old “keep doing what you’ve always done and you’ll keep getting the results you’ve always gotten” thingy. But no more. I’ll let you in on how I lost the weight and the program I am using to keep it off, right here in this blog. Probably next entry.
I am planning to post weekly. My husband, Tom, is a web designer, and I am counting on him to help keep me on deadline (are you reading this Tom?). I am committing to a year of self-improvement, and chronicling my efforts right here. Each month will have a theme. Some months will be all introspective and even a bit woo-woo, like how I will attempt to awaken my sleeping spirituality. Others will be more down and dirty, like venturing under my kitchen sink to clean out the grubbiness, which makes me a little queasy just to think about.
I have found since retiring almost two years ago that I have a tendency to think “why bother?” I am never going to get to go to Italy, so who cares if the dogs have turned our backyard into a wasteland. The answer I came up with is that I am still alive, and therefore want to make the most of what I have and become the best version of myself that I can be. I guess we humans never stop wanting to learn and grow. So, here I go. Stay tuned.