Five years ago I wrote about being sixty-one.
Five years is a short time.
Five years is a long time.
Five years is an arbitrary amount of time, like my age.
I’ve been alive for over 24,000 days, living them one day at a time. One moment at a time.
Five years ago I didn’t know what the future held, was unaware of the tsunami of change about to hit my life. Within eight months, I lost my beloved Irish wolfhound, half my thyroid, and my dad, in that order. Then we moved to another state. My community, my support system and my dream home were left behind. Our oldest daughter moved to Portland, Oregon and our youngest to Thailand for six months. I was a mess, wracked by grief I thought I was handling just fine, thank you very much. I felt like a plant yanked out by the roots, left dangling in dirty clumps, limp.
There were signs I wasn’t fine. A major depressive episode in 2016 was one of them. I pulled out of it eventually but when another one threatened to drop me into the abyss, I went back in to counseling.
I’m a retired therapist but I didn’t want to need help. I went in anyway and cried for months, pouring out feelings about the past, my childhood, politics, trauma, feeling like a failure. A sympathetic, unbiased listener is worth EVERYTHING. All that was stuck started to loosen.
Every week I received an assignment. Every week I paid attention and wrote in my journal. I signed up for Pilates classes. As soon as the weather allowed, I went hiking with my dog Hoover, seeking and finding solace in nature. I took two watercolor painting classes at the local art center.
My creative juices began to flow again. I can see now that efforts to create an online coaching business and write two books were not failures. They were learning experiences. I took creative risks. I’m someone who is willing to learn all the time. I’m kinder to myself about my efforts now.
Three weeks ago we started remodeling a large section of our house. We took it all down to the studs and discovered internal structural problems. Every little thing torn apart will be reconstructed, all new, stronger, better than before. It will be the same space but different.
Counseling was my remodeling process. I dismantled my past. I’m coming back together. Like the house, the finishing touches aren’t done yet. I reframed a lot of my negative self-talk, reinforced my boundaries and began again.
As long as I live, I’ll reach for the proverbial Brass Ring. I seek success in my own best form of vitality – exuberant, fully alive and coherent, buzzing with my electric inner power. Undefined by anyone else. Creating what pleases me. Speaking my truth.
This is what 66 looks like.
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
David Bowie, Changes