I’m hoping it’s just a phase, but for a while now I’ve been caught up short on more than one occasion with thoughts like “this is probably the last couch I’ll ever buy, or bed, or refrigerator or car… or whatever”. It’s kind of creepy, and it’s been dragging me down. I felt it again when my hubby joined the ranks of the formerly employed. My first thought – this was his last “real” job. It’s morbid and I know it’s not productive at all, but suddenly the road ahead seems much shorter and I KNOW WHERE IT ENDS. Am I the only one who has started to see each bend in the road as a possible dead end? I started this blog as a place to take out my thoughts for examination and they’re not all positive or pretty. Fortunately, I do not dwell here, but the view from 60+ is very different from 30 or even 50. I guess the good news is that the perspective might be better. I’m hoping to find a wider view. I’m looking for the learning here. All this sudden awareness of mortality. Mine and others. What’s the point… and I’m sure there is one. Just maybe by finding understanding, I’ll gain acceptance. Que sera, sera is the attitude I’m looking to cultivate. Grabbing the damn gusto for what is happening right now each day, each moment and savoring it. The trick for me is to not hold on so tight to the wheel. I’ve got my map and my compass and my need to control and oh yah, my worry. When what I really need is to loosen up, ride out the curves and quit worrying about the bends, or ends, or cul-de-sacs. I cannot control the Road of Life. It really is about the journey and I have a hard time remembering that.
When you start selling pieces of your life on Ebay, it really makes you think about the things we hold so dear. Why the heck was it so important to collect salt and pepper shakers for instance? Shakers that neither salt nor pepper touched. Why does my husband still own his bowling ball from 1974? Interesting, since he has moved across the country and up and around the west coast lugging said bowling ball that weighs 14 pounds and he NEVER has bowled since I’ve known him. What deep meaning is buried on the back shelf in the storage room with that dusty bowling ball and its decaying leatherette bag? I’m pretty sure that we humans are the only species that collect and save large quantities of useless stuff that somehow help us define who we are in this life. It makes us feel good. We like to look at it and touch it and occasionally dust it and show it to other people who ooh and aah over it and then it goes back on the shelf and we forget we have it until it’s time to move and pack it up (again!) or we tire of it and become enamored with some other entirely useless things that we start to collect and then it goes into a box on the shelf in the storage room to make space for the new stuff we have to have. Really? What the heck are we doing here? I’m not willing to spend more money to see a professional to tell me the answer to that question, but it is definitely something to roll around in my mind on some long, dark night when sleep eludes…or when I’m dusting.
These days, with the benefit of Antiques Roadshow and online garage sales like Ebay, we’re all hoping that the ugly painting or the $2 vase will be worth millions and fill in the gaping whole in our slipshod retirement plan. We’re also supplementing that plan with lottery tickets, but that’s another post entirely.
Which brings me to my hubby’s latest adventure in collecting. Selling it all on Ebay. Yep, literally overnight, he made a giant U turn and before you can say “what the ?”, he says “everything goes”. That’s where the backpack and rollie idea came in. Selling on Ebay is a new adventure in putting a real dollar value on your precious, priceless possessions. Oops! Paid $75.00 … highest bidder on Ebay – $.99 + shipping. The fur trade era collection is going first. Sales are brisk! Prices are up from that first 99 cent sale. Who knew people would start a bidding war on used trapper-ware?
Yes, we could spend a whole lot of time here. Only need to pack my flip flops, some SPF 45, sun glasses and a good book. I could park my butt in one of those dock chairs and dream the afternoon away. I definitely see this spot in our retirement future.
Retirement scares me. The idea of living on a small fixed income for an indefinite period of time in an unknown world keeps me planning to work until I keel over. My hubby “Big Dog” and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary a month before I blow out the candles on my 65th birthday cake. He was married very happily for 32 years and I was a mostly single mom of two. Somehow neither of us were wise enough to feather our nest for a softer landing into our golden years. Ours will be the brass years, but that’s ok. I’ve been stashing as much away as I can and I haven’t been able to picture living the good life without the benefit of two good paychecks. And now, without warning, we’re down to one income. I had not planned on this and so I indulged in a moment or ten of panic. How the hell were we going to do it? worry. worry. worry. Sigh. worry. worry. Really BIG SIGH. Well my little pitty party lasted about an hour. That’s when I got my note from the Universe. I walked out to pick up the mail and there it sat, addressed to me. Actually, what I got was a lovely card with a $250 check in it. It came out of the blue. No one owed me money. It wasn’t a refund or a rebate and I hadn’t won Publisher’s Clearing House. It was a thank you for a referral I had given two years ago.
I’m happy to say that our financial situation is really still pretty ok and the $250 is not going to change my life financially, but the true gift this friend gave me was the reminder that we are always taken care of. That good stuff happens when you least expect it. That everything I really need is available to me if I’m open to seeing and accepting it. I am grateful for the unexpected windfall of $250. The timing was perfect as was the thoughtful gesture of this friend. It was a beautiful and timely reminder to expect a miracle and be very grateful when you receive it.
And I’m treating myself to a spa day with my gift. Life is Good!
It’s Words Matter Week here in Portland. An idea created and organized by a group called The Joy Team. I love their message of positive energy and spreading joy in a very visible way. Often you’ll see their messages on big yellow billboards along the roads and highways in the Portland area. How cool is that? A group of Joy Team kids got together and created a video and it got me thinking. Words do matter. We become what we think and what we speak. What words do I need to keep in my life and bring out daily as inspiration? Words that encourage growth and spirit. What words do I replay over and over in my head that keep me stuck and afraid? And, what words do I speak that support and spread my sometimes negative and fearful thoughts? How often do I think or say “that won’t work” or “it’ll never happen”, or “I’m too old, I missed my chance to do ________”? I call it being realistic, but at what point does realistic mean unwilling to be anything other than safe?
So, in celebration of words matter week, I’ve decided to explore my words – the top 5 words that support my negative/fear-based thinking and the top 5 that inspire me and make me feel good. How have these words and the images and emotions I attach to them, created the person I am? Which words have become heavy baggage that need to get tossed? Pack or toss? For sure I’m keeping YES! and BRILLIANT. Maybe MONEY goes. I’m tired of thinking about it, worry about it, trying to make more of it, feeling a lack of it, holding on to tightly to it…yep. Toss.
This week I had lunch with two amazing women. Both women are creative, energetic, intelligent, worldly, well traveled, well read and from my perspective, lead most unusual lives. I find their stories endlessly fascinating and I find myself feeling less than in their presence. I invited Ingrid and Lois to lunch because they are definitely role models for creating the life you want to live and then doing it, no matter age, financial circumstances, health, past or present challenges. They might not agree, but I believe they live fearlessly and although I am the same age as Ingrid and four years older than Lois, I want to be just like them when I finally grow up. Ingrid is writing a book about Runes and Lois is looking to buy a small motor home so she can drive across the US with her dog and her cat to celebrate her 60th year. I was so inspired by their energy, their can do attitude, their enthusiasm. I had forgotten the energy force that is created when women come together. Wow. It was just what I had been so desperately needing. I lit up. I came alive again. The idea for this blog was born. Thank you Ingrid and Lois for the gift you gave me and for the delicious Indian lunch.
I’m sixty three and my husband is 65. Today he officially retired. Not by choice, at least his choice. But, even if the Universe has chosen on his behalf, he seems to be happy. He’s been talking about selling everything, retiring and traveling for several months. This from a man who has not been too far from his own backyard. I’ve smiled and mocked him silently as I’ve heard him repeat hundreds of times now “If it doesn’t fit in the backpack and rollie I’m selling it.” He’s decided we’re going to become citizens of the world. I thought maybe his cheese was slipping of the cracker, but it finally came to me that in many ways the old guy is right and maybe I should listen this time.
The backpack and rollie is really a good metaphor for life and all the baggage we accumulate, both the real stuff and the emotional stuff we carry around. What’s really important goes into the rollie bag and all the old unnecessary crap… just let it go. I know, so much easier said than done. However, I’ve decided to jump on the bus to wherever and embrace the possibilities of being a citizen of the world and all that might mean.
What would I keep? How much stuff can you fit into a couple of carry on bags anyway? I’m about to find out. This blog is my exploration of my experience in letting go of the old, and at a time when it appears I’m becoming “old” myself, letting go in search of finding new joyful adventures. Green lights and full speed ahead!