Truth be told: I have been wallowing for a while. Caught up in the muck and mire of life, focused on what is missing instead of giving thanks for what I have. No work, no money, bronchitis that turned into pneumonia—and six months later, still have some lingering congestion, a BAD winter onslaught, abject loneliness, depending on my daughter’s gracious financial help, on and on. It all came to a head between my birthday and Mother’s Day—four miserable days of asking myself, “What’s the point?” I figured I’d go on a “farewell” tour for a year to see people I loved and missed one last time and then I’d call it a day. And then I got over myself on Monday, May 13th.
Since then, I have been meditating. Listening to binaural beats (revelatory in their healing!). Eating mindfully as I crossed a milestone after nearly three decades of longing to see a different number on the scale (success!). Purging and packing, faced with the reality that I need to unsettle myself because I have 15 more years on a mortgage and I don’t want to worry about EVERY. SINGLE. DIME. EVER. AGAIN. Especially not until I am 81!
It is also sobering to unsettle myself. In my 66 years, this is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. After 15 years, I still love my home. I love its layout. I love the eclectic way it is furnished and all the treasures either given or found on some shopping adventure. I love the way it welcomes guests—and the quiet in their wake. I love the memories my daughter and I have made here, even though she has been little more than a guest since she left for college in 2008 (her many possessions that remain, belying that fact). I love my neighbors, kind and friendly. As the harshness of our short, but brutal winter melted into memory, I was reminded of just how beautiful my adopted state truly is as irises, daffodils and tulips emerged around the neighborhood. I will miss watching the maple outside my breakfast nook window spring into her verdant headdress every year. I will miss the blooming of my hydrangeas embracing the northeast corner, because even though I had never planted a thing in my life, I somehow managed to put them in the perfect spot in the yard where their pom-pom heads flourish. I will miss the scent of the lavender bush as I pull into the garage. The northwest is a seasonal wonder.
I have grown weary of worrying and complaining (and even wearier of reading about the sad plight of millennials). ENOUGH already. For them and me. Life is tough. Life is a miracle. Life has astounding highs and soul-crushing lows. For each and every one of us. Every generation. Every single human on this planet wakes up either excited to take on the day or in despair at what lies ahead. We get to choose the way we face the day, regardless of our present state of being—broke or cashing our lottery check. Between May 9th and May 13th, NOTHING really changed in the larger scheme of things. Except me. Except my attitude. You know what? Things started to improve along with my attitude adjustment. It always does. As soon as I change my attitude, life seems to tilt toward joy. Living in the moment, remembering to be grateful for my blessings instead of focusing on my hardships with every labored breath, changed everything—even though some of those changes have been infinitesimal.
I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for lessons learned. I am grateful to be part of the ebb and flow of life. I am grateful that no matter how hard things might be in any given moment, there is always a rebirth—like my beloved maple and the hydrangeas—bare and gray during winter’s harshness, but filled with color, life and movement in the bright blue of spring skies. I do not know what my future holds, or where life’s adventure will take me next, but I am intensely grateful for Now. Now that I am awake and aware and alive. You are too.