It’s been so long since I’ve written. A few days passed, and it was harder to return. I felt like I had to apologize and/or to explain. And as more and more time passed, it just got harder.
There are so many things like that in life.
So, rather than beating myself up for what I’m not accomplishing, a regrettably all-too-familiar pastime, I’m going to just start back.
I found the following passage that I wrote back in August, just a couple of days after I had started back to work. I found it particularly difficult to be around people again; it was a hard transition.
Last week was hard. Wednesday night and Thursday were by far the hardest days I’ve had since mom passed.
On Wednesday night, I was overwhelmed. By my grief. By all the change. By all that must still be done. By all that cannot be done. By my return to work. By loss of control. By fear.
When the tears and trembling started, I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t find a place for myself. I paced. I turned in circles. And breathed. Short and fast. Long and slow. I breathed like I haven’t breathed since labor.
Thankfully, I am in a much better place now. And, I am learning that grieving comes in waves.
I felt like I might drown in this one, but I didn’t. Much like in the ocean, resistance is futile and will only result in being trapped; instead, if I let it wash over me, without resistance, it will take me where I need to go.
Tonight, as I read what I had written two months ago, I was struck by my reference to labor. Birth. Breath. Death. Breath. Rebirth.
Simply put, giving birth to Kai gave birth to a new me. And, so has my mother’s passing.
I’m sure that it has to do with my age as well, and the fact that it was impossible to watch my mother’s decline without considering my own mortality.
Mid-life is not a cliché. Or, at least not just a cliché. It is a shift in vantage point, and a pretty significant one at that.
What inspired me to sit and write tonight was a passage from Joan Anderson’s A Weekend to Change Your Life, a companion to her first novel entitled A Year by the Sea.
She begins with a quote from T. S. Elliot, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” I love that. What if we move beyond the mid-life cliché of the new convertible or young lover? What if the journey begins with the internal landscape? What if instead of trying to recreate youth, we recreate ourselves from the inside out?
She then goes on to say, “…if you have been yearning to find the real you, refresh your sagging spirit, be spontaneous, wild, and even free, enjoy the present, let go of control, recover a broken spirit or retrieve the buried parts of you…change your routine, depart from the norm, question the status quo, and take back some of each day just for you.”
“Change your routine, depart from the norm, question the status quo….” Indeed.
Mid-life seems like the perfect place to let go of “perfect,” some made-up idea of the way things are supposed to be. I’ve spent much too much time “shoulding” on myself.
Contol. Perfection. Illusion.
On this side of the hill, I am learning to tilt my head back, throw my hands in the air, and yell, “WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
It’s as scary as hell sometimes. But, stasis is scarier still. So, I am choosing to figure out how far I can go.