My smiling, determined, cousin, Carol, said, “Let’s get on with the show!” or words to that effect, on her deathbed. Dying just wasn’t her thang. A constant re-inventor, designer and seize-the-dayer, the notion of being dependent upon others as she wasted away in her plush, pillowy bed, was not on this fighter’s radar. Carol, the hurricane inspiration for this blog, was 68 when she died of pancreatic cancer.
To be forthcoming, Carol and I did not always get along. A decade older than me, she was the sister of my best friend in the world. Jealousy and judgment caused a seismic rift between us, but in the end our mutual stubborn streaks gave way to love and forgiveness.
When it comes down to it, much of what keeps me up at night, turns my hair grey, and prompts me to stuff my face full of unhealthy crap, is utter nonsense. If I tallied up all the days and nights I’ve worried about things and people I can’t control it would easily amount to five years or 1,825 days or 43,800 hours of wasted time.
At 68, Carolyn was too young to die. She had so much to live for. But I suppose everyone feels like that, including my 92-year-old dad who felt certain he’d visit dear old England one last time, but died in the hospital following a nasty infection.
Those loved ones, who ran out of time, fuel me with the passion to change. Starting today with the birth of this blog, I’m going to rededicate my life and focus on the good, not the bad. I need a shift. A Cataclysmic Act III Shift. Because I don’t have six decades to figure this out any more. I’m in the home stretch. Not the end, I hope–and pray. I’m at that place in a race where the thought of giving up crosses your mind, because you are exhausted, but don’t because you’ve worked too damn hard to get to this point..
I see myself with a mile to go. Hopefully I’ll live as long as my dad. But if I don’t, I want to have the best possible quality of Life I can conjure.
Yes, I wish I had more money. And it would be great to be 50 pounds lighter. I wish the marriage thing worked out. Yeah, there’s a lot that could be better. But I’m sitting in my backyard typing on a new laptop (my 8-year-old Mac finally went kaput), enjoying the warm temps and the peace. No grandkiddos. No cooking or cleaning. Just me and my thoughts. Like Anne Morrow Lindbergh in “A Gift From the Sea”. I get to breathe. And rest. And be thankful: For my busy life as a mom, Gma, sister, cousin, teacher, friend and neighbor: To live in a rustic house in California: To have my dear blue heeler, Monet: To be friends with my ex-husband: To be able to vote for the candidate of my choice: To have interesting and deep discussions with my homies: To have health, a job, a home, food on the table, the desire to reflect, and change.
My heart is open. And I hope yours is too. For this will be a corner of the universe where we can have a cup of tea together, a few laughs and, no doubt, tears, as we share the journey. I am convinced, no matter how bad it may seem, Life IZ Good. The Best is Yet to Be. Proclaim it! Shout it from the balcony. I don’t care if you are in your 20s or, like me, been on the planet for six decades. Birthdays don’t define us. Nor do looks. Wrinkles, double chins, pot bellies, are a reflection of life and, in my case, poor choices, physical qualities I don’t intend to face lift away. Because for me to see the goodness in others, I have to see goodness in myself–flaws and all.
So it begins.