Thank you…

I really appreciate all the care and support while I’ve been having my existential melt down. It helped a lot to write it down, it helped a lot to “hear” what you all had to say, your experiences, your take on it.

It actually helped me figure it out.

Five years ago I saw the handwriting on the wall. My job was being “outsourced” to another department at the university and no one was going to tell us. There were five of us who had 3 year contracts to teach Business Communication. I had a year left. I had every intention of finishing my contact before retiring, but I ended up without the choice. An “under-the-table” deal was made and, since no one went to the union to complain until I did at the last minute, it was, essentially, a fait accompli. But in English. Looking at most of my income gone, I had to retire and leave. OK. Psychologically I was ready. Physically? I was already showing signs of the hip arthritis I had remedied in 2018.

My move to Colorado was great. I’m happy to be back, but it was a little freaky that — though a native — I didn’t know how to live here any more. It all came back, but there was a long period of adjusting both to retirement and life in a very small town I’d only visited once.

This blog helped me a lot as did the one I wrote specially about my move. That blog is gone, but it was good for me to write.

The first thing I did when I moved here was get an Airdyne. I knew I was overweight and in terrible physical condition. I wanted to be able to hike in the mountains and do things I wasn’t able to do. I wasn’t me, but I’d had to work so much the last few years I lived in California that there was nothing in my life but driving, teaching and all the things connected with teaching — grading, prepping, meetings, etc. When I finally moved into my house, the dogs and I began walking on the golf course and going 1/2 mile was difficult for me (and for Mindy T. Dog ❤ ) but we got better. The Airdyne was good, I did get in better shape, I was able to do yoga again (meaning getting down onto and up from the floor) and I did lose a little weight.

Still, the struggle to regain my body took so much longer than I imagined it could. I didn’t even realize until the end of 2017 WHAT my mobility problem was. Then came the search for a surgeon.

Meanwhile, I wrote. I arrived in Colorado with a work in progress, The Brothers Path. In 2017 I finished an important book — My Everest which is about my time in California hiking with my dogs. It was a total labor of love to put that book together. Then I sucked it up and finished The Price which was very difficult to write for numerous reasons I’ve already written about. The surgery worked and my pre-op training and post-op training have returned to me a body with abilities I haven’t had in a decade. I still can’t run. Maybe I won’t ever run — I do try, though.

I’m grateful and lucky. But at this point in time there is also the feeling that another shoe WILL fall. I will be 67 this coming Monday.

We always say we want to have no regrets, but I don’t think anyone can reach this point in life without regrets. I’m surprised at what mine are. I wrote about that, and last night a friend said, “Lots of people say they want to write books but they never do. You’ve written 3 (actually 6 1/2 but who’s counting?)…can’t you look at writing them the way you look at all your hikes? You never thought about point B; you just went.” He is absolutely right. That’s exactly how I can look at my books and writing itself. Everything, maybe.

This morning I read Cara Sue Achterberg’s blog post, on “My Life in Paragraphs.” She writes about how she and her husband are figuring out together what they want the next step in their lives to be. They’re about to be “empty-nesters” and they’re addressing this question with colored Post-It Notes on which they each write something they want in their future or want their future to be. Cara ultimately asks, “What do you want?” and my first thought was, “A marriage like yours, but that ship has sailed.” ❤

As I read, I thought about the different transitions — the late-40’s transition and the late-60’s transition. I didn’t notice the late 40’s one because the usual late 40’s physical stuff happened to me a lot earlier. Looking back, the time between 47 and 54 were really great years for me and, thankfully, most of the time I knew it. Physical debility and a bad love relationship set the “tone” for the next decade, neither of which I could possibly have seen coming. I thought, “I had the house I wanted. I lived in the mountains. I had great dogs. I hiked with awesome human companions, too. I had the job I wanted. I had all I wanted and then…”

It’s always a balancing act between what we want and what we get, I guess.

Yesterday I wanted Cross Country Skis. I texted the local outdoor store — Kristi Mountain Sports — and asked the appropriate questions. Today I got an answer. As it happens, I had written things down on a Post-It note.

Basically, what Kristi Mountain Sports has for sale is exactly what I want.

Today I want $550. It’s right there! It’s even on a Post-It Note! 😀 But I also want to know that if I buy the skis (which means more debt until the tax refund) I’ll actually use them. I have this big white dog and she doesn’t ski.

Anyway, I realized that I if I were to continue with the Post-It Notes, that what I want is a new adventure. I feel a little nervous even saying that — let alone committing it to an actual Post-It Note — because the universe might go, “You want adventure? Ha! I’ll give you adventure.” No, universe, this time let me find my own. ❤

19 thoughts on “Thank you…

  1. Thank you for sharing, it sounds like you are more in control of your life than you were. Reading about your health made me realise I need to address mine. It’s easy to sit about not doing things after taking voluntary redundancy. I’ve been in a bit of a blue period over Christmas. Illness and aches. I’m not getting younger but I think I’ll try and get fitter. Thank you x

  2. Commit it to the post it note! And then keep going and use up the whole pad of post it notes! 67 is young- you’ve got lots of adventures ahead of you, especially now that you have that bionic hip! I love reading what’s in your heart and always appreciate your authentic writing voice!

  3. I feel the same way about the tripod I want. I know what I need, know what I want, am NOT sure I’ll use it even if I get it and anyway, I can’t afford it. It will have to wait.

    You are much more in search of new experiences than I am. For me, just having a husband who can HEAR me is a huge thing. Something got BETTER. At our age, nothing gets better. Sometimes it doesn’t get worst, but better? That’s unheard of — so for me, that’s the most amazing thing of the decade. Garry can HEAR.

    But we aren’t expecting anything especially exciting or new. It might happen anyway. You never know. I have great hopes for you and skiing, though. And you just reminded me I need to make an appointment to get our taxes done (AARP does them for free down at the Senior Center). I keep hoping it’ll be more … enough to DO something. If we had some money, there are a lot of things I would like to do, but … well …

    Hey, we’re getting $90 (together) more from SS — and we are ONLY paying $60 more for Medicare! So we are going to have AN EXTRA $30/month! If I save it for a year, maybe I can get the chimney fixed.

    I’ve stopped planning. Stuff happens. Sometimes it’s good, but without money, there’s no point in planning. We’re not going on vacation or buying anything. We got a new car, but we are paying the same thing we were paying for the old one. If it had cost more, we wouldn’t have a new car.

    Do you have one of those “free or very cheap” trade/swap things locally? We have a couple here and that’s how most of us get things we can’t afford. We get used washers and dryers, furniture … and sometimes, we get stuff free if we have a truck and can just take it away. You never know. There may be exactly the skis you want out there, looking for a home. Rescue skis?

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