While I like to think I am an upbeat and optimistic person, most people would probably describe me as a little too straight-forward, sometimes condescending and often too honest with everyone including myself. But honesty is the best policy if you want to know where you are standing in the chaos. Thus, I have to be open about something I lost...and may never find again.
I do not think we are dishonest with ourselves purposely. I think it is rarely a bad habit. I think we are dishonest with ourselves because we see ourselves through the huge thick fog of the life we have lived. The cacophony of memories distracts and clouds any sharp view we could hope to have of who we really are at any one time. We end up swatting at flies and eventually just shrug off any hope for the clarity we were looking for.
In our early thirties we catch a refection of ourselves and for a second think we see an aunt or uncle or parent. Gosh do we really look that old and that adult? When did that happen? Well, of course, now we are adults. That had to be.
Then in our 40's we are no longer the center of attention in the room. Our jokes are old school or our attention span is too short because of our heavy schedule. It seems all the fun action is happening elsewhere at the other table.
By my 50's I didn't really care so much about myself because I was focused on kids that were moving out into the world. I was focused on saving money for the long years ahead. I was focused on ailing parents and my responsibilities to them. I was focused on expensive changes in lifestyles due to loved ones' college or health issues. I was focused on trying to get a promotion to cover those expenses.
Then as I entered the 60's came the big change. I was retired, had lots of free time, was financially secure. I could once again focus on myself. But I looked through my transparent self to see a nagging smoke cloud hanging just off my shoulder that I had been ignoring for quite some time. When I admitted it was there I also had to admit that it was some depression, some sadness. But I could not identify why? My life now was pretty much OK. Sure I missed loved ones that had passed on, I missed the closeness of various family members...but...what was this?
Some would tell me it is impending death. It is the fear of the end of life. No. That is not it. I realized the other day that it was a death. The death of that vital and energetic woman who was an active mother, wife, career person. That women who was responsible for changes being made. That women that spoke out with solutions at meetings. That women who remembered everything and forgot nothing.
I guess I am sad because she is gone. She has left behind a faded replicate. I am still here but with nothing truly important to do anymore. Introspection is a lovely walk, ...but when you get back home it is also nice to have something important to take care of. Art and hobbies are gentle distractions, but it would be nice to once again accomplish something that helps others change their lives. I miss that. I mourn for that.