This week's Sunday Scribble ( which finally started emerging today) stunned me. Since my mother's death in October I've had unexpected reactions that I was completely unprepared for. I've discovered that, for me in any event, it takes the removal of one of my major purposes in life to discover how much of myself I've given away. I don't claim this as necessarily a bad thing; it just is the way it is. Between work, child-rearing, and later concentrating on mom's needs after dad's death and then her own failing health, I find that I left precious little time for me. Most of my decisions were made based on other people's needs so much so that I can't figure out easily what the heck it is I want or need.
Tuesday I woke up and felt such a terrible lump in my throat that I could hardly breathe. I had lunch with my dear friend Biene and clustered all of my anxieties on the paper placemat before me. Frantically the words appeared - stress, poor future health, weight, lack of focus, lack of discipline, sadness, confusion, old ingrained habits, poor self-treatment, loneliness, lack of purpose, desire to make up for lost time FAST, feeling the encroachment of my own years, fatigue and more fatigue, the desire to run away . . . Wednesday wasn't much better. I left for lunch and went looking for Don who was at his usual lunch spot. I talked. He listened. Then he gave his usual good and detached piece of advise - "Just take one thing at a time". My conclusion? Make a list. How can I keep all the stuff under control if I don't make a list? At least I'll have something to focus on.
Thursday - a.m.
While there are still matters that require my attention and will require my attention for a while, I have enough open space in my life now that I find myself reflecting on all the times that I made decisions based on the needs of others and then I read Lili's entry this morning at her lovely Indigo Pear blog. If ever there was something that was speaking for me, it was this beautifully written piece about life changes. This is certainly happening to me.
I look at the structure what I am writing and it's as disjointed as I've been feeling for the past three days. Those cliche questions - who am I, where am I going, what do I want to do, how do I get there - are rattling around in my head madly. I picture myself swirling in the center of a storm of frantic, demanding, attention grabbing aspects that create nothing but chaos. The inner noise that has hit me since the kids have grown, with retirement looming, and most especially pushed along by mom's passing have imposed an inner racket that makes it almost impossible to breathe at times. There is absolutely nothing "required" of me anymore. All of my choices have been chosen based on the needs of others and suddenly I find myself in the driver's seat of an out of control train.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a train engineer. Decades later I read a story about a woman who actually accomplished this seemingly unreachable goal. She was the first. Twenty-five years ago I walked into a smelly man's man sort of gym. Everything was so powder puff back in the late 70's. I wanted something serious. The owner laughed me out of there. Trains? Frills-free gyms? What was I thinking? Smart, I think now. I just didn't know what to do next. There wasn't a support system. Other women might have been asking similar questions but I didn't know any of them. I watched life go by as I dreamed of things I would like to do and ended up just sitting back and watching the scenery pass by.
I was told from an early age that I was a daydreamer. I was a late bloomer and a daydreamer. It always seemed such a negative thing. I wonder now what I might have been like if that young dreamer had been encouraged to make dreams reality? Well, now I have a chance to answer that question and frankly, it scares the shit out of me. And being scare shitless might be the best thing for me at this stage of my life. Saturday is my birthday. I turn 59. If I live to my mother's age, I have less than 30 years left. What a sobering thought. It's definitely past time I stopped being a passenger in my life and learn to drive train.