I was having difficulty with my moods. That’s not unusual. I have all kinds of emotional days but sometimes the down ones seem to last a long time.
This latest round, once I identified its origin, had to do with the recurrent theme of age, aging, age-ism, age--- as in mortality.
I agreed to have dinner with one of my college roommates – I say “agreed” because when I’m in one of those moods I typically hang out with just me. Not very good company. I don’t even like myself.
She and I have had so many meals over the years and she always has a nonthreatening, highly intelligent perspective on the world. I can get pretty negative and cynical sometimes. Hate that. Merry, well, she just has that way about her – nothing gets to her so much that she has to lay down.
What I discovered in that evening was her best advice so far. It was a paradigm changer, a scene-stealer. I started to look at my life as something new rather than something old that had gotten stuck. I hadn’t been really thinking about what would work for me at 65. What I was mostly focusing on was how I could continue to be 40 even though I’m not.
This is the gist of what I got.
I can actually do a number of things a day, from errands, to working, to exercising, to napping, to wanding (that one’s for you Betty), to walking my dog, etc. The point is, if I don’t have a project that’s just okay. Resorting to self-flagellation for not being enrolled in a class or some extreme exercise is just not necessary.
And changing the world? Well, I’m not into that anymore. If I can be a happier person, that will change the world, too. Being 65 buys be some free passes. I’ve worked since I was 14 and still have to, can’t retire. I can exhale and I can stop being competitive with myself and my “older friends” who are still Eveready bunnies. They don’t stop.
I’ve never been a person of boundless energy. I was more of a thinker, a reader, a cogitator. Unless I was manic, I would be happy to achieve whatever the current plan and then take a break. I never needed constant stimulation. I guess I always figured there was lots of time to do whatever“that” was – later. That’s part of the problem now- later has to be now. And though that’s true, if I focus only on that, I lose the moment which is really all I have anyway.
So I started to do whatever I felt like, without endless examination and self-criticism. The days have become more fun. More spontaneous. So what if I get up in the morning and think about where I’ll have my dinner. Shallow isn’t the most awful thing to be. – Is it?
And the living alone thing?
Well, that makes a lot of this freedom possible. I don’t need to answer to anyone else – or even ask. I also don’t need to be my own worst enemy anymore, which is what my father told me I was. I can just be me and me is someone quite okay, thank you.