Letting go of old letters or in my case, old journals is not always easy. I’ve been trying to decide what direction I want to take with my Blog. I met with someone from my writer’s group last week and I mentioned that I make no money on my Blog, probably because it is about what I WANT to write and not what everyone wants to read. He said (and I’m sure he didn’t mean to upset me) that if I were going to just write for myself, I might as well just write in a diary (or journal). While I was out running/walking the other day a light bulb went off in my head—write what you know. OK, I know a lot, and I DO write about it, but I’m not “successful” in the way I want to be. Then I thought, “OK, why not take those gut-wrenching, insane, journals you used to keep (just to keep me sane) when I was out there”. That sounded like the answer—yes, people could relate to that and this will keep their interest. All my recent writing and journaling is done on my computer, but years ago, everything was hand-written in notebooks. So, I pulled them out from the top of my closet and started reading. Wow, what a revelation—some of it is so crazy and ridiculous that I literally want to just chuck it. I found myself saying, “Oh, pleeeeeese!” There is something to be said for looking back fondly at old times, but my old times were horrible and I do not even recognize the person I was then. They say “youth is wasted on the young” and I believe it. What a waste my life was and thank God I matured. It is almost as if these heart-felt words penned by me (when I was 18 through about 30) were from a different person, and they were in a way. There is no resemblance from that pathetic, lost soul that I was then to the woman that I have become. Yes, lots of those feelings are still the same, but the way I handle life has changed. It is called maturity and wisdom; and I’d like to believe that I have acquired some amount of both throughout the years. In some ways it is helpful to re-read these journals because it shows the transformation that has taken place, and it keeps my “memory green” as they say. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to revisit those years and the answer is a resounding NO. The question is if I want to throw the books away or keep them for my grandchildren to discover. I’m leaning toward the former. I could not have even considered that a few years ago and that is evidence of personal growth. I have had lots of hard times in recent years from extreme physical debilitation to unbelievable heartache with my child, but I could never imagine myself using the same coping mechanisms that I employed back then. Life is life and I still “journal” for my own sanity, but I have changed and I now know I am ready to let the past go.
Every so often, I find myself getting impatient with someone ambling across the street with a cane. It’s so easy to forget that less than a year and a half ago, that was me. Sometimes when I quickly get up from a seat, and stride very briskly to the other side of the room for something, I find it amazing. Unlike most people who are not impaired, I am acutely aware of how well I simply “walk” and never take it for granted. I know that just plain “walking” without losing balance, fear of falling, or having to hang onto the walls is a gift. Sometimes I become aware that my feet, belly, legs, and back are no longer numb and tingling. I look at my right leg, which was withered as if I had polio, and see a nice, plump muscular leg again. I know that not having my crutch parked beside my bed for help in the middle of the night, is something I never thought I would experience again. Just like anything, it is human nature to not appreciate what you have until you lose it. Things that I thought I would never do again, such as running (a run/walk now) I am doing. I was a prisoner to my disability, never being able to just pick up and go, and I will be forever grateful for that miracle bestowed upon me. OK, if I had not persevered and kept insisting that something was wrong with me, and not just accepted a life of an invalid, I would not have had that “miracle.” So, it all went together and my tenacity was in itself, divine intervention, I believe. When I remember to practice gratitude and appreciation for how I was literally given my life back from the brink, I have a better day. When I focus on the same old petty, annoying, neurotic insecurities (which I will probably never totally lose) I am lost. I know that I have been given a daily reprieve and there are no guarantees in life, but for now, my life is infinitely better than it was, and I cannot forget that.
I have finally gotten the courage to move forward in my life. But, why is it that people look at me as if I had lost my mind when I tell them I have quit my job? Most people’s responses are, “What will you do?”, as if I only know how to do one thing. When I see clients in the massage room, they always ask me, “So how long have you been doing this?” Maybe I’m just being hypersensitive, but I often wonder if I get asked that because I am obviously the oldest therapist there, or they are just curious. When I explain to people that I am reconnecting with the creative me–the one I put on the back burner for so many years while I earned a living, I am met with a blank look. At that time, it was a necessity, but that time is over and I am ready to embark on a new life adventure. I want to thrive, not merely survive. People should not be defined by their occupation, because there is often so much more. I spent 4 years chasing after “success” in massage and measuring it by how many “regular” clients I had. I just could never compete with the more popular therapists and always felt inferior. Then when I came home, my creativity was zero because it had been sucked dry. The next day, I would repeat the same thing, and the next, and the next, only to be back on Monday doing it all over. Why do people not understand this?