Reflection, Acceptance and …

Isn’t this stage of life really about acceptance and reflection? If it’s also about something else you can fill in the blanks. I find that as I approach my 60th birthday my energy is dropping and my physical abilities are much less than they were 40 years ago. Not everyone experiences this. Many say they are feeling as good or better than they did in their 20s. That isn’t the case for me. I was an extremely active child and adult. I never thought of myself or my life that way but now that I’ve lived a little and met people who live more simple lives, I realize that I packed a lot in to each day for the majority of my life. Maybe now I’m paying the price for that or maybe this is a temporary lull in my energy because of the move. I’m not sure.

There is so much to reflect on! I guess that’s a blessing. I realize that I’ve been in relationship with each place that I lived in. Now I’m in a new relationship and it’s with Tucson. I had a 3 year relationship with Tokyo. I had an on and off again relationship with NYC from 1978 until 2010 until I finally had had enough and left. I had a 5 year relationship with Boston that changed the trajectory of my life, and 7 years in CT.  Now I’m in this new relationship with Tucson. I’m in that fetal stage where you ask, “will I stay here?”, “is this going to be long term and permanent?” “what is my level of commitment to making this work?”. I’ve never been one to stay in a bad situation. I admire people who do though, because leaving isn’t always the answer either. Connecticut was always a transitional place for me. I thought I might make a life there but deep in my heart I knew that was impossible. Now I wonder if Tucson is “the one”.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know my new friend, Tucson. I’ve explored the most attractive parts of it, I’ve experienced the very frustrating aspects of living here (but no place is perfect). The good has to outweigh the bad for something to work. So far it does. I am on a “sabbatical” of sorts. This is my “Eat, Pray, Love”. Others can do it so why can’t I?

If I compare my life with others in my age group I will be miserable all the time. I don’t have those good family memories that I imagine they do. I had struggles as a working, single mom and 2 sons with special needs. I never had the family support that many others seem to have or the coparenting that some are lucky to create after divorce, but I’ve learned to be self sufficient as a result. I appreciate how far I have come in my life when I look at where I started. I would have to say I’ve accomplished a lot. There is this question of my health and not knowing what the universe has in store for me in the future.  Therefore, I make the most of now and I am grateful that I can still do what I’m able to do. It’s very hard to accept that I can’t do more than that, especially since I was such a physically active and fit person for so many years. When I attempted to become that again I had one injury after another until I got the message, “you can’t do those things anymore, your body just won’t allow it”. Some can, but I can’t, it’s very hard for me to accept.  Accepting our own limitations is important to succeed at aging (if there is such a thing).

I am fortunate to be able to have some time right now to reflect. I hope that my energy returns soon but I don’t know if it will. It might be a sign that something’s wrong with me or it might just be exhaustion from doing so much to put this move together for 2 years. If you’re contemplating such a move, beware, it isn’t easy! For me it’s been complex and much more expensive than I anticipated. There were probably easier and cheaper ways to do it, but I did it the way I did it, and I am still in the thick of it. I still have half of my things stored back in CT. I am only half way moved in. I own a condo that I’m renting out back “home”. I realize from all the past experiences that I had with moving, that this is just the earliest stage of starting a new life in a new place. I’ve acquired more patience over the years and I’ve learned to be realistic about what it takes to build a relationship even if it’s with a place instead of with a person. I choose solitude and that is what I treasure the most right now. That could change. Each of us is different, what’s important to you isn’t necessarily what I’m seeking and visa versa. It’s important to know what makes you tick and what kind of environment you can thrive in, I’m still searching for that, but I may have gotten it right this time, we’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Author: Debbie Simon-14

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been in practice for 30 years. I combine years of experience in medical and psychiatric settings with a little bit of humor to come up with ideas for this blog. I lived in Brooklyn and NYC most of my adult life and raised my 2 sons there. From 1989-1992 I lived as an expat in Tokyo, Japan. I moved to CT in 2010 and after 6 years here I have decided to move west to a warmer climate. My interest in "this stage of life" stems from an observation that there is a lack of research and information on this developmental stage. Since baby boomers have always set the pace for future generations, the value of our lives between 50 and 70 years of age is just starting to gain some attention. Many clients in this age group who I've worked with in recent years have experienced agism in the work place, lay offs, foreclosures of their homes and financial concerns for the future. The retirement that our parents may have enjoyed is becoming a thing of the past. My hope is that this blog might strike a chord for some who are making their way through this leg of the journey with the same resilience, positivity and grit that they got through all of life's challenges with.

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