I spent last week reviewing not just 2022, but the prior 14 years. The anchor of that review is firmly set in a series of losses that, in looking back, were the foundation of much transformation for me. My mother died in 2008, my husband in 2009, and my beloved cousin in 2011.
These three individuals, along with treasured animal companions, made up the touchstones of my world. When they died, I was left adrift and, it turns out, not as equipped to make my way in the world as I thought I was. Yet, here I am having made it this far and in pretty good shape, if I say so!
Looking back, I find myself tenderly embracing that old self. Out of my journey, I developed new understandings of the differences between “alone” and “lonely”. I struggled to come to terms with my need for approval and my fears and experiences of rejection.
I found ways to negotiate the day-to-day realities of paying bills, taking out the garbage, running a business, and being present for my clients. And I slowly adapted to being unpartnered, and a grown-up. Eventually I came to accept who I was and set about deciding who I wanted to become.
From my vantage point today, I see that many of my circles of friends and colleagues shifted over these years and changed. The levels of interaction ranged from none to intermittent. I was aware of my emotional variability, but not always able to modulate it. I realize I must have left some people wondering just what was going on with me. I know I wondered!
In looking back, I can see just how these past years of the pandemic have been both a burden and a blessing on a personal level. I am more skilled at resting both because I am forced to with long-COVID, and because I am at a time of life where my rhythm is slowing down.
And now I am feeling the stirrings of change.
What’s Going on Here?
I am not sure why I am feeling more present and more focused at the moment, but I am. It is like awakening from a coma. Things have been going on around me for the last 14 years, but I have not been fully participating. I have been in “retreat” mode (by that I mean spiritual retreat, not moving away from confrontation retreat), and I am now emerging.
Emerging is challenging because I am a different person and I am moving at a different pace. If you have ever been on one of those moving walkways at the airport you will understand what I mean.
I have essentially been moved along by some life force over the last 14 years, but I have been standing still. Now I am coming to the end of the walkway. If I don’t prepare for this transition, I will be flung off. If I move too fast, I will hit the ground running and perhaps stumble and fall. Or, if I somehow time it just right, I will safely exit the walkway and assume a steady, forward pace and continue on my journey.
New Beginnings, Indeed!
One of the insights I had during these past 14 years is that there are shared patterns in my lifepath. Much like walking the labyrinth, the pathway is familiar, but at the same time, different. When I pay attention and fix my focus on that which is right in front of me, the patterns emerge and I am offered a new insight. When I raise my focus a bit and see the larger picture, I begin to understand why some things are so familiar, yet leave me options in how I encounter and engage with them.
I Do Have Choice
I have decided that these repetitive points are opportunities for me to choose to do things differently or just continue doing them the way I always have. But here is the key. Just choosing to do things differently is only part of the equation. The other part is paying attention to the outcome.
To sustain new change requires repetition, commitment, and an acceptance that what I am hoping for and/or expecting may turn out to be different from what I expected or wanted. What I am appreciating at this juncture in my life is that I am okay with that. It doesn’t have to be my way or the highway.
Setting the Stage for the New Year
I am not one for making resolutions. Like so many folks, my track record of keeping them is very poor. Instead, this year, I am going to set about seeing possibilities. I think this is a wise place to begin emerging from the pandemic, and it is a good way to prepare for launching myself off this moving walkway.
I must admit, I am somewhat timid about sharing possibilities. I don’t have the boldness I had when I was younger. My confidence has been tempered by time and experience. Still, what persists is some spark of idealism that says, “C’mon girl! Get up and get going!”
It is Possible That . . .
Here is what I know to be true: possibilities are limited only by imagination. What we give ourselves permission to see, think, feel, or attempt may never manifest itself in “reality”, but the act of imagining creates ripples in the universe that eventually connect with a shore.
If I am honest with myself, I put the limits on my imagination. I have inner scripts that tell me “I can never . . .” and “Don’t be ridiculous!”, and, “Are you serious?” And because of these, I may never cross the transept into worlds that could be life-changing.
Happy New Year
Today is the start of a new year. What possibilities lie ahead? It takes a certain level of bravura to even voice some possibilities, at least for me, out of fear that I will either have to do something about making them come to pass or that I will be denied my desire. Still . . .
What is possible for me this year is that I will find new sources of income, new friends and companionship, more peace and compassion, more opportunities to make changes for the better for aging adults in my community, more laughter, and increased capacity for loving myself. There is a possibility that I will increase my physical activity and decrease my girth. There is a possibility for more words to be shared with you. There is a possibility that we will connect at deeper levels and create communities of support and care for one another.
What possibilities lie ahead for you?
4 responses to “New Beginnings; Fond Farewells”
To quote you.. these words, rearranged, spoke to me.
“To sustain new change requires repetition, commitment…” and “…possibilities are limited only by imagination.” Happy 2023!
This reminds me of a Dag Hammerskjold quote: To Love Life and Men as God does for the Sake of their Infinite Possibilities.
I feel as if I am emerging also and it is so uncertain. I’m a timid soul. But our mere coming out renders us butterflies 🦋. So let us fly, buffeted by the winds. We need their directional assistances.
I enjoy your blog a great deal. So I am happy for your new beginnings. I have also had to deal with three losses, husband , Mom and Daughter, all five months apart not quite 2 years ago.. Relationships change, insecurity sets in and grief. Unmeasurable grief. I applaud you in your journey. I hope to come out of the fog soon. in the meantime , as you say , there are many possibilities. The greatest of all would to find a calm an inner peace that allows me to rekindle my joy . Happy new year..