How do I move along in life when the wind of time breathes heavily at my back? It pushes my journey down an unexplored dirt road…waiting for my footprints to mark upon the untouched ground before me. I walk this road with a full pack upon my back that carries the treasure of yesterday within its zippered pockets. Once more I yearn to look back on before, filled with the good, the bad and the amazing…memories that flash as quickly as the blink of my eye. I try to grab ahold of them and a few slip into view and make me smile. That bittersweet smile of knowing that yesterday will always be with me but spent like the end of the day- with a beautiful sunset. Something I will always reflect upon.
Yesterday, a time when I looked ahead toward tomorrow with a desire to reach there before today arrives. Yesterday, a time when I thought this chance at change would ever reach my door. But now I hear it knocking… and as I consider answering…I wait.
It is difficult to step into the unknown…exciting yes, but difficult to leave that which is known and familiar. I wish to celebrate this time in my life and I will do so with a cup of sweet, fruity wine and my heart full of times that I will forever cherish. I believe our life journey makes us who we are and who we will be. My sincerest wish is that my past footprints leave something for others to follow upon. I hope those to be made are created with a dance of gratitude. So now I will answer that door… well hello retirement.
The winds of change. I hear them in the distance…coming my way. I tell myself that I am ready. I am prepared for what life is blowing towards my back. Grounding my feet upon the earth, centering myself..I prepare. This is not one of those times when I am caught unaware and find myself in the middle of the storm-feeling lost and alone. I remind myself that we all feel the winds of change, walking forward and bracing ourselves as we journey into the cold battering the push and pull upon our hearts and soul. Heads down as not to feel the brash sting fully upon our face, we must gather determination and optimism that there is hope after the storm…time and time again.
Yet I admit I am never fully ready to have my life,past and present, tugged here and there by some unseen forces of nature. Change is hard, change is scary and change can be damn difficult. But this is not solely about me…this story is about my father and his courage to face the storm of change and ride the waves with patience and an attitude of acceptance that makes me humble. After fifty-eight years of living in his home, my father has moved into senior apartment living. Fifty-eight years of family, marriage and children and grandchildren. Alas this has been tremendously difficult at times with a taste of bittersweet moments and memories. But he has weathered the swirling tornado of confusion and displacement and walked forward determined to make his future full. And I am proud of him.
We cleared the years of books and mementos and simple material things that no longer have a purpose or function. Cardboard boxes and bubble wrap surround those things too dear to part with in hopes of finding a place for them in our tomorrows. I found many memories came back in a torrent of emotion that nearly subdued me as I recalled my life in this place called home. The waves of emotion knocked me off my feet as I reminded myself to keep my head above the waters and tread ahead. Home…much more than four walls and a roof. This space welcomed untold family gatherings as well as many gracious times of pure childhood happiness and laughter. Home…where even on the darkest of days- a light would shine.
Yes change is in the air. The winds of change have blown ashore. Whirling all around me and my father and my family. Rather quickly I am brought back to the present. Pulled from the sublime memories that I tend to cling to and into the world of today. I watch a man of many years as he boldly faces what life brings and marches ahead. I sigh…I am that little girl again running to catch up to hold his hand…wanting not to get lost.
My new best friends are with me everyday. They support me like none other and they are ready in a moment’s notice. I sincerely do not know what I would do without them. Well I do know, I would be walking around blind most of my day. I would not be able to read my work notes or answer to a text message with any semblance of intelligence. My knitting would be worse than it is and my cooking skills…oh boy, lets not even go there. Those lovely readers that I must have at my beck and call. The ones that fit so well on the bottom third of my nose. I remember when I was young, I did not understand why anyone would wear them perched in such a silly way. Now, I have found the answer. How else can I look clearly ten feet away while still able to see three feet in front of me. I make the best of it by buying colored frames of blue, animal print and striped browns. I tell the world that this is a fashion statement while I know the truth. This is middle age and I am smack dab stuck in it. Again I sigh, as I tell myself change is good.
Ok, I know that change is good but there are always exceptions. I put aging in this debarment category, right at the top of the list. I wake up each day to new wonders as I have never known before. My heels burn as my feet hit the floor and my ankles strain like I had run a mile or two. I sigh, I cautiously shift from foot to foot. I have learned the walk yet I am not proud of it. So there are days I grit my teeth and plow ahead forcing myself to fully endure the pain. It is an act of defiance against this unwelcome reminder of my age and change.
I can’t forget to mention one more area where aging has crept into my life. Rather- I do forget. I forget where I am going when I enter the room. I forget where my car is parked in the vast lot, and I forget to take my list with me. The list I made so I would not forget. And there are even days (gasp) that I forget to take one of my best friends with me. I shudder. I panic. And I go to the store to buy a new pair.
Life is good. Change is good. But would somebody please make an exception- for me.