Sometimes you have to stop being afraid. Afraid of what other people will think, what other people will say. Life is for joy and risk and love and all-out-in-your-face enthusiasm. And letting go of fear is a huge step. Fear of loving, fear of laughing, fear of being authentic.
I’ve been afraid of posting this blog post for months…I wrote it last year during Laurie Foley’s class, Blog More/Stress Less. It’s a short little thing, and one of my first tries, but I wrote it with joy and giggles, and it’s all true.
So…fear of it being to personal, too intimate…who cares! I’ve been absolutely silly! And anyway, I think you will all think it’s lovely.
I’m dedicating this to my beautiful, strong-as-a-rock, rock-star husband! He is my perfect-for-me spouse that I intend to spend at least another 23 years with as his wife.
Let’s start somewhere in the middle of the original post…
Even so – we were both a little worried about what our life would be like as empty nesters this past fall…our son is such a huge part of our life and our joy.
I can tell you emphatically, it’s been fun, scary, surprising – and we see a delightful future.
One of our ‘delights’ has evolved over the last couple of months…We seem to have more time in the morning, and there is no one else in the house but us…so Tim frequently would ask if I wanted to shower with him. Well, of COURSE not! “Our shower is smaaalllll, I need to shave my leggggs, I like the water hottttter”…I would whine all the reasons this would not work.
But then one day I said ok. This was not about sex (shower is Waaaayyyy Too Smallllll)…this was about physically connecting.
Hmmmm….that was nice!
Maybe I would do that again. It did set a nice tone to the day, making a sweet connection, and having your back washed is quite a luxury!
Then I saw where it would really come in handy.
I was trying to entice my husband to exercise more to reduce his cholesterol. It was tough to get him going, but he was trying. One day he asked if I wanted to take a shower with him, and I got the brilliant idea to say ‘no exercise, no shower!’ He was ON the stairclimber. Ha Ha!!! The bait! I found the bait…
So now, many mornings of the week, he will be on his stair climber and I’ll be on the elliptical, and then we’ll take a shower and start our day. The surprise is that I’m the one who is running to the elliptical on the days he gets started early so that I’ll be finished in time to get in the shower with him! We raise our oxytocin levels, we laugh, sometimes talk business, sometimes it’s just a ‘quickie’ shower because of schedules…but a lovely start to the day…making a lovely connection stronger.
And besides, he gives great back…. 😉
Sometimes remodeling can be difficult.
Especially if you are attached to the old design.
But sometimes you have to change things, update them, breathe life into the well-used.
This usually means being uncomfortable for a bit…living with uproar. And in the process, you let go of that which no longer enhances your way of living, but you keep the memories and the momentos…and the wisdom gained.
This is especially true of life.
Life really was perfect for so many years! Your life ‘decor’ and ‘floor plan’ served great purpose, and the style was a match for your way of living. You were a full-time mom. AND a wife, volunteer, small business-owner, entrepreneur. You worked part time, full time. You ran the home. You worked the classroom with other parent volunteers. You lead the PTA. You ran the carpool. You lived your bliss.
Then life – and change – happens.
Your oldest child, or youngest child, or only child goes off to college.
Your parents fall ill, or one parent passes on leaving a gaping hole in the life of your living parent, or you have become your parent’s caregiver.
You think about your marriage/partnership and wonder if it’s strong enough – or if there is enough joy between the two of you – or if you have enough left in common to survive an empty(ing) nest or the struggle of ailing parents.
And then, on top of all that, you look in the mirror. You stare…or look away quickly…the years keep marching on, yes, but now you see the blatant signs every time you look at yourself as you smile to disguise any sagging.
I read somewhere that Shakespeare’s plays were all 5-act plays. I love this metaphor for life and our different stages of ages.
Act One – Birth until around 18 to 25.
Act Two – 18 to 25 until about 45 or 50.
Act Three – 45/50 until about 70 or 75.
Act Four – 70/75 until your death.
Act Five – the final transition.
(note…these are my age ranges…opinion only! your experience may vary 😉
I’m in Act 3, a place where so many of my friends, acquaintances, relatives, and colleagues are.
This is not about mortality, really, but we now know we are not invincible.
And for many of us, for the first time in a very, very long time – if ever – this act can be directed totally by our own hand…or as close to that as is humanly possible when you love and cherish other intimates in your life, and you want to honor their desires or your own moral obligations.
A re-modeling, re-building, re-newing.
IF you allow it to be.
So why does this phase, this ‘Act 3,’ often feel like it can bring you to your knees, sometimes stopping you dead in your tracks – you can find yourself doing everything possible to distract yourself…shopping, eating, drinking, surfing (the internet) – wasting precious time…YOUR time.
It took me a little more than a year of grief and sadness and “WTF!?” (mixed in with delight and discovery) to realize this truly is a very exciting time in my life. I know some of those ‘awful’ feelings will come back again because feelings are meant to flow through our lives, coming and going…guiding.
But there were times when there seemed to me no flow at all…I felt totally stuck.
A quiet home. Stretching out before me like this for years and years to come. As I asked when I first had an inkling of this coming, I was asking again…”Now what?”
And I’m delighted to report that the answer was ‘Remodel!’ Of course. Not in a distracted way, but a loving, nurturing way.
I’m excited about remodeling this nest – not my actual house, though there is some of that – but as a statement of what I want my life to look like now.
In FACT, I’ve already begun!
The grief, sadness, and loneliness were preparation and initiation.
Sometimes, it felt like hazing!
Luckily, there has been other prep and initiation! The re-discovering of my husband and the joy of our ‘coupled’ relationship; the realization that there are actually things I like about who I am and how I am now that I don’t have the ‘full-time mom’ hat on; the fact that I adore my son as much as ever…and am more proud of him than ever; and that I really am the boss of me (always was) and have freedom that is so big it is a bit scary…
Putting myself first?! It’s almost making me giddy.
I’m even ready to face this aging process with my eyes wide open and a willingness to experiment with new things, new adventures, and nurturing my soul and body in order to meet the challenge as best I can…
How to deal with sagging skin, lower libido, higher blood sugar and bigger love handles!?
How to let go of old anger, worries, or habits that no longer serve us?
How to treat ourselves well, emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
How do we and our partners/spouses continue or re-ignite our love affair?
How can we put ourselves first with the obligations of paying bills, kids still at home, needy parents, and work…
How can we NOT?
As one friend put it, “…it’s time to fill the years with exciting opportunities and spoiling ourselves in the process…we are definitely deserving.”
We ARE deserving!
Are you somewhere in this process?
Are you ready to remodel?
Act Three is bound to be Sensational.
(Join me in this conversation! I’m scheduling a weekly call so that we can all get in the conversation.
This will not be a recorded call, so that we can be open and honest and vulnerable, and most of all supportive of each other through these changes. We can share worries, and experiences and tips on ways to enhance our ‘remodeling. ‘
Msg me at deb(at)wholewellnessliving(.)com, and I will send you the days, times, and number for the first month.