What We Imagine vs. What Really Happens

When we manifest our visions they often turn out to be different than what we pictured but we still get the spiritual lessons that we are supposed to have.

Advertisements

The pictures we have of what we are going to create are never the same as what actually happens. We play with a future vision that is a fantasy and then when it starts to take form we are surprised at what it really looks like. You can say this about all of life’s milestones like marriage, child birth, a new job, a new project, a new relationship and a new home. We believe that it is definitely “going to be better” than the last time. I was sure I would be be a better mother with my second baby and do things completely differently. What I didn’t anticipate was that he was a completely different human being that required a whole new set of parenting skills. Approaching new experiences in life is really about spiritual unfoldment. Painful lessons might lie ahead mixed with the joy and tears. Life is never perfect. We know that from experience and we can never imagine the things that end up coming our way.

I’ve been envisioning this move to AZ for a year now. It started last February. I made several trips there to explore all the possibilities. Eventually though, I had to make a decision about where to start. First I found a program for my son so that he was taken care of. I sent him off to AZ first. He is very brave! Now I’m taking the next step in that journey which is to put my toes in the water. It is harder to get myself out there than it was to send my son. Settling him into his adult autism program last January was so much more complicated than I ever imagined. Figuring out how to get his things out there was the biggest challenge of all. Now it’s my turn to  go through that “birth”.

When I was younger I just took the plunge foolishly into new experiences because you can get away with that when you’re young. Now, after a lifetime of mistakes (and some very bad experiences with change) I have learned that you have to do this step by step and not destroy what you have already created. There is always good in our “now”. There will even be better things in our future. That doesn’t mean that we can ever avoid the pitfalls, wrong turns, mistakes and unexpected catastrophes. One thing I have learned though is that I have to keep the movement going forward or else I start to spiral down. So when you get discouraged with anything, just remember to keep moving forward. As one therapist said to me “just put one foot in front of the other”. That was the best advice I ever received.

#change, #moving, #transitions, #movingcrosscountry

Trajectory

How can we change the trajectory of our life’s decisions? What can we still do today that will undue the damage from past decisions that we might regret? Conversely, what can we change today that will take us onto a new trajectory ending at a better place.

This is one of my favorite words in the English language. Trajectory.

tra·jec·to·ry
trəˈjekt(ə)rē/
noun
1.
the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces.
“the missile’s trajectory was preset”
synonyms: course, path, route, track, line, orbit
“the missile’s trajectory”

The reason I love this word is that it describes how we make decisions that lead us on a journey to an endpoint.

Or we decide to get off of that trajectory and take a different course of action.

Or by taking a different course of action we can reach the end point faster.

At “this stage of life”, between 50 and 70 years old, how can we change the trajectory of our life’s decisions? What can we still do today that will undue the damage from past decisions that we might regret? Conversely, what can we change today that will take us onto a new trajectory ending at a better place.

There is also this other reality in life. Things often don’t go according to plan. We have some control but not total control. No matter how hard we try, life can interfere with our plans. I googled the saying, “Man Plans and God Laughs”, to see where it came from. I was led to this Yiddish Proverb:

“Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht”.
Man plans and God laughs.
English equivalent; Man proposes, God disposes.

We can try to take control over our lives. By doing that we start out on a healthier track. Then something unexpected happens and we are thrown off course. Reality steps in and we have some challenges in order to keep going on the same trajectory. This is the conundrum and it is what makes life so interesting. We can choose how we will react to those challenges and whether or not we will let them interfere.How often have you said or a friend said, “I was doing so well, I was on course and then….”. We are frequently thrown off course, by a crisis, a break in routine (like a trip), an injury and other unexpected curve balls. It’s important to be resilient enough to get back on course whenever possible.

All we can do is to try to set up new trajectories for our lives as needed and expect that things won’t always go according to plan. When everything seems to go seamlessly we can be grateful. I am often sidetracked from my goals. There are so many distractions and staying motivated can be challenging. If we remember what our original idea was and where we thought we would end up then this image of a curved line from point A to point B might help us stay on track or get back to the original goal. Reaching goals doesn’t always equate with happiness. The excitement is in choosing the goal and working on it. There might be one moment where we feel a peak emotion (ie. reaching a goal weight, winning an award, getting a medal, etc) but all the rest is just daily life. The way we choose to use our time is somewhat up to us.

Younger people have many years to experiment with this. At our more advanced age we have hopefully come to know ourselves better. We know whether we are good at this or not and where our weaknesses and strengths lie. Some move through life wanting immediate gratification without a thought as to what the consequences are. Then there are those at the other extreme who might be overly cautious and don’t allow themselves to enjoy life or to take any risks at all. Knowing where you are on that spectrum helps. You don’t need to change and become a different person, instead you can respect how and who you are and work from there. Most goals stem from a desire to be happier once they are achieved. What goals did you set up in the past and reach? Did those achievements make you happier with your life? What can you learn about yourself from the successful ventures and the unsuccessful ones? What have you been really good at? What did you enjoy the most about those journeys?

You can use this image of a curved line stemming from the decisions you make now to help create your future.

There is nothing useful about saying “I used to be…”

Many of us in this age bracket can fall into the trap of living in the past. “I used to be able to do that”, I often say. Or “I was married once way back when”. Or the ones I am most known for are “I used to be a dancer; I used to be a figure skater; I used to be fit; I used to be active; I used to live in NYC”. I guess the only things that those statements are good for are to divert the attention away from how awful and boring I have become as I passed 55 and am hovering around the pending and looming Six Oh. I will hold onto 59 as long as I can because who in the world wants to be in their 60s?

I met a woman in CO who wrote a book about how wonderful her life was after menopause. She says the “pounds came pouring off” and her marriage ended leaving her to really find her true self. Well that is all well and good for her but Menopause is about the worst thing I have ever experienced. In many ways it has been the beginning of the end for me. The drop in Serotonin levels made me more depressed than I was before, my weight soared without provocation and losing the pounds seems near impossible now. The fatigue has been immobilizing at times and well…if you want me to put a positive spin on Menopause, I won’t. No one ever told us the truth about this. I wish I had known some facts. I turn to Jane Fonda for my information about this later phase of life.

But we travel through the phases of our lives with ourselves. There may be some of the same people in our life that were there in the past and some may havec drifted off, but one thing is always consistent. We are still here with ourself. That can be a good thing if you can see good qualities in yourself. I rather prefer my own company to anyone else’s so it works for me. I think I’m a hoot to be with. I make myself laugh.

But back to the topic, as I look at this fit young women at the gym doing these very complex things with machines and weights, I think “I was like that too at that age”. Or “I was just like that once”, but I am not anything like that anymore. There is a moment of remorse and then I quickly recover, because what is the point of living in the past? It cannot move you forward at all. I have to set a baseline now for where I am in all areas of my life and then work from there. There really is no other way. It’s nice to know that I was once so much better but I honestly can’t say I was happier because of that.

What was the happiest time in your life? For me, besides the day I held my first born son after an excruciating birth, it was a particular day when I was 17. I had achieved success in many areas of my life and had reached many of my goals after always being the underachiever. It was a night when I was ice dancing and had tested in  front of judges and had passed all of the tests. I was being praised by the judges and had reached a goal weight after much work. I had learned that nothing comes without effort and if you do the work it always pays off. It was a lesson for life that served me well in terms of achieving. But at this stage of life, how important are goals and achievements to us? I don’t have an answer to that. I’m sure it varies from person to person. Those who were particularly goal oriented throughout their lives probably continue to be. For me, there it’s taken a back seat to just enjoying the day. My priorities are changing. I am able to take moments to appreciate the very smallest things like my cat staring out the back sliders as she breathes in a little fresh air through the screen. It is this unseasonably warm weather in the northeast while also looking at trees turning to indescribable colors in the yellow and orange families. It’s appreciating being cancer free in this moment until someone tells me otherwise. It’s having choices and options that I never had before. There are some pleasant sensations while staying in the moment. It doesn’t have to be all bad.

 

 

Let me be real

Here is my story up to this time in life. I write for the 50-70 year old set. I hope my story helps someone else.

When I was younger I did a lot of writing, took writing classes and have always enjoyed writing throughout my life. I thought I “knew my voice” on paper but now I realize that I am searching for my voice. The voice that I had in that freshman year course at Ithaca College in 1976 is not my voice anymore. I remember her. I’m not her anymore. The essence is there but life experiences have changed me. She was in love. I am not.

I think it would be better if I just share with you what my current situation is and how this stage of life is affecting me. At first, when I started this blog I thought I would come from a professional angle. Then I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to say at all or the audience that I wanted to reach. I just want to share my story and see if it helps anyone or if it touches someone in any way.

I am 59. there I said it. Some say “no need to tell your age or to keep repeating your age to yourself”. But I think it’s relevant here because I’m right in the middle of the 50-70 year old range. The 50s went by so fast. I was young at 50. I was young at 52, but something happened around 53 that I had never anticipated. My body began to really fall apart. I had taken good care of it. I had eaten healthy foods, and had been pretty athletic throughout my life. Because of all of my athletic pursuits, my body began to strike back. I had multiple injuries, illness, balance issues. Lots of work ups at the doctor’s office. The main issues have been breast cancer in 2013 and Lyme Disease in 2016.

I have been a single mother since 1992 when my kids were 1 and 3 years old. That has taken its toll too. On top of that, my youngest son, now 26 is autistic and my older son, 28, has had his share of mental health challenges as well. For many years I worked 2 and 3 jobs and tried to juggle their multiple special needs at school,  and at the many doctor’s appointments. There were therapists, psychiatrists, geneticists and endocrinologists for the kids. It was really hard. Looking back, it was impossible to achieve what I was trying to achieve, which was…perfection?

It wasn’t a fun life. It was quite the opposite and yet I managed to make it very meaningful and full of great memories in spite of it all. Post divorce, I found a spiritual path that helped me to stay on track and to not give up hope. I became extremely involved in that path and spent hours at the spiritual center at classes as well as teaching and guiding others while also being guided and helped in tremendous ways. We went to seminars all over the country and I managed to get to these several times/year. It saved my life, literally, and helped me to keep going.

Then 2010 happened. Life turned upside down again. But then I put the pieces together. I relocated to a new state. I got licensed in that state in my field. I found work. I bought a townhouse. Life was pretty good for awhile. I lost both parents in 3 years with lots of drama and turmoil associated with each death. My son got married and moved away. He graduated from college and grad school between then and now and has been in his field of work for 3 years.

Where am I today, you ask? It’s the end of 2016 and I’m anticipating a move across the country. I wanted this blog to be about that. I wanted to share my journey with you, the reader and to hear about yours too. Like everyone else I feel disconnected and seek more connection in my life. I want to be part of a community but cannot find a community that I want to be part of. I sort of fit in one place but “not really”. I kind of fit “there” but “not really there either”. My mother used to say I was the “princess and the pea” and I think that is so accurate. I can never really get comfortable and I can feel the tiniest pea at the bottom of my mattress which would keep me awake all night. I am hypersensitive and have learned to appreciate that about myself. My intuition is not my enemy but I’ve learned to keep my inner thoughts quiet because I can rarely get agreement from others but I am right sometimes. Not always. It’s better not to have opinions about others’ situations and to remain neutral. As for my own, it’s best to follow my gut. I am often right about what I need to do for me.