Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Beginning

I thought today how my life has changed over the years. It's sad in a way that when we reach our fifties and beyond we tend to start looking back more than we look forward. Maybe we are afraid of what the future holds and maybe we're just to aware how quickly these years behind us now have passed. I keep reminding myself that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow or even the heartbeat after this one. Life keeps reminding me of that, too. Too many people that I've known and loved have passed on too soon. Their hasty departures make me even more aware of how I should be living my life each day to the fullest....but sadly, I don't. 

My favorite time of life was certainly my mid-thirties. I'd taken a winding path to a career that had suddenly taken off with me on board. I felt most of the time like someone else was steering and I was just holding on for dear life but it was a fun and wonderful ride into new territories of adventure. 

My mother was still alive then and oh so many others who have since left us. I miss them all to some degree but my mother's death left a hole in my heart that has never quite healed even after nearly twenty years have separated me from that initial blow. It was like a being sucker punched  because death stuns the survivors that way; perhaps that's the only way we can bear the grief. Otherwise the pain would certainly be so horrible raw and unbearable that it certainly would kill us instantly or at least destroy our souls. That time of feeling like one of the walking dead, moving amonst but separate from the rest of humanity, eventually passes when the pain has lessened enough to actually allow you to make it through each day. 

When my mother died, my ambition and drive died as well. I lost my will to live and for a very long time afterward just managed to survive. Perhaps that is why they call us survivors whenever we go through any major challenge in life because some days the best you can do is to put on mask and put one foot in front of the other. We play at life and pretend that everything is as it should be but it takes a very long time before it actually is.
 
Now, I am fifty-three and my goal for this year is to get my life back. I know that I will never be thirty-four again but hopefully, I can regain some of my enthusiasm and hope. Life is useless without hope even if death is waiting a heartbeat away.

I've let myself go over the last twenty years. I've let every aspect of my life go: my body, my career, my house, and my family and friendships.

 The body is overweight and so out of shape that walking to the mailbox and back seems a difficult chore. My goal for this year is to start slowly into an exercise program so that I won't get burnt out within the first few weeks. And also, to not diet but just concentrate on fresh and healthy food for a while. I'll start chronicling here on Monday, my plan and progress. Having to give account to someone, even if it is just the faceless humanity of the internet, will force me to be more accountable to myself.

The house, oooh the house! Nine years ago, we started remodeling. We tore down paneling and tore up carpet. I bought paint and supplies. We took out a home equity lone to pay for it. Then my father-in-law got very sick. He languished in a nursing home for twelve months and my husband stayed with him every single night of that long, painful year before he passed away on New Years day. In that year, our house just kept getting more and more cluttered. I attempted to fix and paint myself but managed to only make a bigger mess as I moved from room to room and never accomplished anything but adding to the chaos. Now, not only does our house look like a warehouse with boxes and blanketed furniture stacked to the ceiling in what use to be the living and dining rooms but other problems have occurred: cracked foundation, tumbling down porch, broken windows, flooded basement, garage ceiling falling down, aging animals who don't have the control they use to over their bodily functions, and leaky roof which caused wall damage in two rooms. Only the roof has been fixed and it sometimes feels as if the entire house and my life is tumbling down around me. I work at home you see and for the last twenty years, I've become more and more of a hermit. Actually, I think of myself more as a hobbit since I hide out here, huddled in my bedroom, the only room with any order or charm left to it, as if it were my sanctuary. So, my goal for the next month is to clean up the mess, room by room, until I get to the point where I can actually start to paint and repair again. Then over the rest of the year, I hope to work room by room restoring my house to not only live-ability but also a home again. 

I'll skip over the career for a moment because I think the state of my house has so much to do with the way I've neglected friends and family over the last ten years or so. We use to entertain and we use to have lots of friends. So many of our friends lived out of town and in other states and I use to call our home, the half-way-house, because we were half way between all of our friends in cold Northern states and that warm Florida sunshine. Most of them would stop off here for at least a day or two on their way South and their way back home. It was so much fun and something that both my husband and I enjoyed. Now, I don't even let anyone in the door. In fact, I try to keep them out of the drive so that they can't see the overgrown yard, the tumbling down porch or the over flowing garage. It's a mess. So, my goal to spend more time with family and friends and concentrate more energy on them really goes hand in hand with getting my house fixed up. Not only will I have a home I'm proud to invite people into again but I'll also have a better energy and happier outlook once my surroundings are again warm and inviting.

So, I skipped the career and saved it to last. Twenty years ago, I was successful. I'm an artist by the way and the fact that I was able to make my living in a creative way is a bit of a miracle in itself. I won't go into all of the details of the career's downslide but it had a lot to do with my own burn out. I'll tell more about all of that later since it has effected all areas of my life as well. Actually, I think my main goal for this year will be to regain the balance which has been missing from my life for so long. My career goals I'll go into in later posts in more detail but mainly, I'm laying out a marketing strategy for myself. I've never been a very good sales person but it is time I start selling myself and believing in myself again. 

So, there we are and here I am. Let's see if I can get myself moving forward again over the next few months. And, if you've happened upon this blog by accident or design, you are most welcome to follow me on the journey. 

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