I thought I was invincible! Some time ago one of my grandsons assured me that I was certainly invincible. The aging process was for everyone else and I would skip through the years as youthful and robust as I always thought I was. Now as my 80th birthday looms closer and closer, the feeling of invincibility has not completely left me, but I have found some distinct holes in my logic. Yes, we find that inside we feel so young, but sometimes the body reminds us of all the years that we’ve experienced and we need to reset the navigation.
Recently I have had a big wake up call. I am having to accept that my two sisters are now in nursing homes. My big sister Brenda, who has looked after her wild younger sister with such big sister zeal, recently transitioned to a nursing home. As I watch her becoming frailer, the urgency of connection is real. There were years when we didn’t see each other, sometimes because of distance and other times when we let ideological differences separate us. Now it all seems inconsequential and I look forward to each precious moment we can spend together.
There is a certain amount of sadness and almost guilt when I watch the frailty of both my younger and older sisters. I am grateful for the tools I have been given to navigate a life that has been full of challenges but also amazing adventures. I am glad that I have been a risk taker, and whilst some of my risk-taking exploits have resulted in what appeared to be disastrous results, there was always great learning involved.
My kids once wryly told me that they would write on my epitaph, “She meant well.” Yep, I know where they are coming from, but I prefer something like, “Here lies Lyn. She was always willing to take a risk.”
It is almost a year since I wrote a blog and it has been a year of intense learning. Whilst I have been extremely fortunate to be working on an ongoing project, I knew I was undergoing one of the biggest transitions of my life and I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out. I watched a beautiful python on my deck emerging from its old skin, exposing a shiny bright new one and I felt it was a message to me. Something was happening and for the first time I realised that I didn’t need to talk to anyone about it.
But now as I prepare to visit my ‘big’ sister in the nursing home, I am realising the importance of making the most of each moment. This is a time to not only hang onto what is precious and nurturing but to also face the fact that I have wasted a great deal of time on some lost causes – even if I did ‘mean well’. Now it has become more and more important when contemplating doing anything, I say to myself, “For the sake of what?” .For the sake of what do I push myself to keep doing tasks when a good book is beckoning? For the sake of what do I keep learning – apart from the fact another grandson told me not long ago that when I stop learning I will die. Not a bad incentive. I am aware that my time here is short and there is still stuff to do. That is what keeps me going.
In the past year I have gained a new loving relationship – totally unexpected and moved north to the beautiful Sunny Coast. We never know what is around the corner and I have learnt the hard way that we can turn negatives into positives. This also is what keeps me going. I acknowledge that I am not invincible as I navigate this next version of myself.