Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Lost It Somewhere Along the Way

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.

26 comments:

Sarah Lulu said...

Living a purposeful life is so important I agree.

At your time of life you have much opportunity to seek out a new fulfilling reason to be ...

Many people and organisations would welcome you ...

Take a chance on this new chapter....

I know several 75 year olds who focus less on themselves and more on what they can give now than they have ever before. xx

Friko said...

Oh Tabor, you and me both.

Peruby said...

Now I realize what my sister is going through. She has been very restless since she retired. Her husband can kick back and relax. She feels as though she needs her wheels to keep turning.

I am sorry that you lost that part of you. Here's hoping that new adventures and a new aspect of you develop like a beautiful butterfly.

Friko said...

I just checked your blog for an email address. As there isn't one, I'll just say again that this is a stage in life many go through, including me.
I don't want to go into details here, but I am finding help; nothing heavy, nothing too involved, but help with coming to a better understanding of what is happening.

kenju said...

I know exactly what you mean, and even though I am still working part-time, I have experienced some of those feelings. BUT....if you truly had NO purpose to being here, you wouldn't be here. As long as we are alive, we have a purpose - even if we can't see what it is.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. I've been feeling that way myself the past year or so. I find it hard to get motivated to do things which I used to love to do. I think part of the problem is that when we were working we had a limited amount of time in which to accomplish things - now it seems as if nothing is important anymore - there is always tomorrow. I am seriously thinking of following Friko's path - I want to feel in control again - perhaps tomorrow (lol).
I discovered your blog a while back but have not been able to comment - for some reason blogger refuses to accept my password - hence this being Anonymous.
CarlaHR

colleen said...

I feel the sadness too but, for me, it isn't because I don't think what I'm doing now is not important/dymanic. I think we start grieving the loss of ourselves, whether it be focused around the loss of career, looks, or abilities, in order to start the letting go process in preparation for death. I think we are letting go of our egos (how we see ourselves) and that is hard work, as we begin the process of become non-physical. I am struck by how little this is talked about and I appreciate when someone taps into it and can articulate it in some way. It seems so taboo to say there is a sadness with aging, as if it is a negative, rather than a message to learn from . Thanks for sharing this.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I was born when my mother was 42--- My father was 53... All of my grandparents were already dead. NOW--that I am 68, both of my parents are gone and also both of my brothers. I am the only one left in my immediate family... That is very sad for me at times. But--life goes on and we all make the best of the days we have. That certainly doesn't mean that we don't miss those people whom we have loved so dearly. We DO.

I now have a good friend --who is my age-- with breast cancer which has gone to her bones.. That is almost harder for me than losing my parents.. God Bless my friend Susan and what she is going through.

Great post, Tabor... Makes us all THINK of times past, times present and times in the future.
Hugs,
Betsy

Celia said...

Your post could have come out of my journal. I'm not anyone's go-to person or problem solver anymore including me. Sometimes re-blooming process needs a little nudge. I've made an appointment with a counselor whose specialty is life transitions, women's life transitions. I truly believe the answer is out there just hard to get at sometimes.

Maggie said...

I agree, I miss those times of great accomplishment, and that's why I live like I live. Depression always lurks just over there, but I find I can give back, create, do something new while learning....that works well for today to dispel the ogres.

My two big projects for the year were one blue quilt....and the poems and writings that go with it, and I have finished the chap book. My doing both these works have stirred others on to doing something far larger. And too, I'm entering that chapbook in small contests that will stir me to far larger things. Sometimes all we can do is get stirred....which is better than mashed or grated. :)

Bonnie said...

Courageous of you to so clearly name what so many of us try to ignore. Some of us ignore it by immersing ourselves in busyness and distractions, but 'the cloud' as you name it, will wait to be recognized, named and attended to.

It is a significant loss and one that has to be mourned. The good news is that mourning should not be an indefinite or unending process. It should abate the same as the mourning of the loss of a loved one.

Then it is encumbant upon us to ask the following question: Given that my youth is behind me, how will I proceed from here with my life? Once thru the mourning we can see that we have the choice to embrace life as it is ... even with joy.

Honour your grief - it is important.

Freda said...

But don't forget you do important "work" through your blog, Tabor. You remind us of how important it is to be there to be adviser, someone who cares, an encourager and above all to be honest enough to admit to the dark times we all share as we get older. Thank you and Every Blessing

One Woman's Journey said...

Tabor, I read what you shared and am at loss for words to share.
I have felt all your words. A few years ago even somewhat depressed.
At the moment with a new lifestyle
and very busy - not much time to think on the things you shared.
So I wonder - am I happy. I think because of being older then you, having so much responsibility and unhappiness in the past - that I finally feel like I have freedom to really be me. I use to think I had to dress a certain way, join, volunteer, go to functions, date, I presented an image that was not at the core of my heart, and on and on. At the moment I am content to write, take picture, garden, family, my enjoyments and there really is no time left for anything else. I cannot dwell on "what if". But it does come to mind - sickness and can I live the lifestyle that I am living now. Death for me will come when it is suppose to and I hope quickly. We live and we die and what is next might be exciting! Then maybe I am off the wall.

Cerulean Bill said...

Making a difference makes a difference, doesn't it?

Jingle said...

I agree.

Dave King said...

I can relate to some of that: the seeing of parents and other close relatives in myself has developed apace since retirement. I say something and I hear my father or my brother saying it with just that inflection. I don't recognise the smoke cloud, though I am more obsessed with impending death - in y writing, for example. For me as for Wallace Stevens, poetry has largely replaced religion.

Darlene said...

I have always been very pragmatic and that has helped me through the changing circumstances in my life. I accept that which I cannot change and move on.

It never gets better physically, but you find you can still do things; other things, of course, but you can find different outlets for fulfillment.

You are always necessary to someone and that gives a purpose to your life.

Pauline said...

ah but you do important things just by being who you are - you never know what influence you will have with the slightest utterance or a small kind act...

Brighid said...

Thank you for this post. I've been feeling this way thru the last year and it has really been frustrating. I'm in need of a purposeful life, soon...

Hilary said...

Truthfully and well-expressed. It seems to be a common thread among many of us. Volunteering might help. Coming to terms with the changes would too. And sharing what you know, as you do, is very helpful.

PattiKen said...

Tabor, when I read this, I felt as though you had been following me around for 60 years or so. I read the other comments here, and I see that I am not alone.

This woman has something to say about all this: Joan Anderson. Her books are well worth reading.

I know that nagging little thing is there, but I don't think it stems from the same root as yours. While I enjoyed parenting and working, I don't miss doing those things. But it's there, and I'm pondering.

sandy, from gardenpath said...

I read this post a few days ago, andI I have been thinking on it.

Did you ever think of writing a book? You are obviously a good writer with a lot to offer.

Just a thought!

thewildhare said...

I sit here, adoring you. Thinking about the inspiration you give, the honesty you share. I hope that I have some to remind me, always, that at any age, at any moment, you don't know the impact you have in this world, the gifts that you give in every second that seems less to you than it may be to others.

Some would say that young people have little to give, as they don't have enough experience.

Some would say that older people who need to create their own focus have little to give.

Witness. ---> http://thewildhare.blogspot.com/2009/04/story-we-need-to-keep.html

Beverly said...

Just doing some catch up reading. Since I retire in 3 months, I may be writin' you a letter for help....

Anonymous said...

So so true your assessment of our retirement situation and latter life living - I only thought today that I seem to be reacting differently towards doing things to how used to when younger, with more sort of enthusiasm, as if winding down preparing to gradually leave this world, even though 67. Have run the depression and boredom course since my early 30s even though have had two successful sons now in their 40s and doing OK! Marion in Hampshire England Thanks to all of you for your honest comments this evening.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I am certainly in agreement about your description of "a death." I think both men and women in their early retirement years go through this. It is like the rug of life is pulled out from underneath you and you sit there wondering why. Everything has changed -- health, endurance, social position, and losses. Getting acquinted with this rather sudden turn of events in one's life takes a strong constitution, lots of reading, and meditating. Those long walks you speak of are part of the solution of adjusting to this new "old" age. I am glad you discussed your personal feelings about this disorientation of aging. It seems that this period of adjustment is not talked about very much. thanks -- barbara