Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Life Waiting For Us When Things Go Sideways

It's easy to casually accept that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  People say it often and yet, still tend to go with life like there's going to be 50 more years.  Working long hours and spending weekends mowing lawns and doing yard work or house repairs.  Trying to climb the corporate ladder to make more money, to have a retirement fund, to put the kids through college, to have "stuff" - all with the plan that they can enjoy life when they retire.

When people reach "mid-life" there is frequently the increased awareness of one's mortality and so, we see people starting to live more freely, creating and checking things off of their "bucket lists" and throwing more and more caution to the wind.  Onlookers who haven't reached that awareness yet often dub others as having a mid-life "crisis" and in some sense look down upon them for behaving like teens again and/or shirking their adult responsibilities.

These scenarios can be difficult to navigate.  Working hard to "make" a life, accepting our impermanence, living - in and of itself.  None of it is easy.

I've said before that I was lucky at the age of 25 to have my "crisis" and be slapped in the face with the reality and honesty of my own mortality.  I immediately started living the life I knew I needed to.  Travel.  Adventures.  Whatever the hell I wanted.  Some, pretty big for me.  Some, just smaller day-to-day items.

I've wanted to see the world since I can remember.  When asked where I'd like to travel to, I say "everywhere."  I want to see everything.  I want to experience different cultures.  See how other people live.  When I was in high school, I came across a picture of Guam in a magazine.  It was beautiful. I cut it out and carried with me everywhere.  To this day, I can still visualize that picture in my mind's eye.  When I joined the Air Force, I was determined to be stationed there.  That never happened.

Seeing the world has remained my goal.  Until recently.  While I would love to see it all and check item after item off from my original "Life List" - a new reality has set in.  The reality that many of those boxes aren't going to get checked.  The reality that I need to re-write that list.  This is a harsh reality.  Possibly one of the most harsh I've had to accept.

This is a space in my life where I can no longer be blindly optimistic and have my head in the clouds. Others, trying to be helpful, say things like "you never know" or "don't give up on that" or the "this is you, you can and usually do anything you set your mind to" ... while I love them dearly for trying ... It's time be honest and realistic ...

Travel to anywhere "exotic" has to come off the list.  My compromised immune system won't allow for it.  I can't afford to get sick, tax my immunity, add more strain on my heart and chance taking long times to recover.  Lately, anytime I go back home to PA, I end up dealing with a cold or sinus issues that can take me up to a month to recover from.  Travel to other places may be worse.

Any travel via plane that is much beyond four hours per leg is a no-go these days.  I need to be able to spread out and shift and move to keep the aches and pains at manageable levels.  Not to mention the "bugs" one can pick up via air travel and then there's how the air pressures affect the body.

There are so many great things I love about traveling and yet, these days, so many things that make it difficult and force me to evaluate which trips are worth everything that goes into it?

Just planning for an impromptu trip to Hopkins this week to address new kidney issues, poses a whole lot of questions and planning.  Will I fly?  While that's faster, it's unknown how long I will need to be in Maryland, so, is it just easier to be comfortable in my own car than to chance having a rental car that's not suitable for me?

That's just a trip "up the road".  The more I mull over the dreams and plans I had for my life, the more I am becoming aware that there's a lot that's just not going to happen.  The more health issues that continue to pop onto the radar, the more I realize, I don't get much of a say in this aspect.  The more and more things seem to go sideways, the more I have to reconsider it all.  Some things will just have to be a certain way and I will have to accept that.  

Accepting that is a challenge.  Weighing the risks versus the benefits.  Deciding what things to just let go of.  What things can I leave this life having NOT done and be OK with?  How do I re-evaluate? How do I prioritize?  What new, more simple and attainable items do I add to the list?  How do I go from "I'm going to do it all!" to THIS?

Trying to be my best yogini self and walk the path, be in the moment, not compare, not judge, etc. brings about more questions than answers.

If I look at things in this specific moment, I know I have lived a good life.  I'm happy with what I've done, what I've seen, what I am doing.  If I look to the future, that changes a tad.

So, for today Citizen Cope is stuck on repeat in my brain, there's lots of introspection, trying to move forward the best I know how and a whole lotta WTF???

And, for once ... I'm NOT OK with that.