I have been thinking about life and how sometimes life seems so easy and at other times quite the opposite. I know this is the normal rhythm of things. It is just how life is. When we are going through tough times ourselves, I think it is easier than when we are watching someone we love go through them. I have been trying very hard to give up stressing over things I can’t control.
How many times has someone said to you, “Stop worrying about it. It is out of your control. Let it go.” ? Once we are past a certain age, we all know this is what we should do. Knowing it does not always help. When someone you care about is going through a tough time, it is hard to let it go even when we know that all we can do is lend emotional support.
I am frequently reminded that if we look at our lives and the situations we go through, as the years pass and we get older and wiser, with a positive attitude, then things often have a positive outcome. If we dwell on the negative, it seems to only create a lot more negativity. People are always telling me how strong I am…how positive, even when things are tough. I do believe this is true of the person I am now. But I was not always like this. It took a lot of work.
Trying to teach others, especially those much younger than us, that looking at the positives will create more positivity, is very difficult. I think this is a lesson one has to learn on one’s own. We can only gently guide those we care about.
I have also been pondering the issue of sincerity and true friendship once again. Sometimes people are so adept at wearing their “masks” that it is almost impossible to know the masks are there at all. We all wear “masks” to some extent…we put on the “parent” mask or the “lover” mask or the “self-assured” mask. There are so many other masks we all wear, or have worn, in our lives. I don’t think that wearing masks is always a bad thing. Sometimes it protects us from being hurt. Sometimes it gives us the confidence we need in certain situations.
When the mask becomes the reality for the person wearing it, but in a negative sense, it can be terrible, especially if people believe that the masked person is the “real” thing. I have recently had an experience where I learned that someone I considered a friend is really not a very nice person. Maybe that is not quite accurate. I think this person has become a hollow image of who he/she used to be. When someone has worn a mask for so long, sometimes it is who they believe they are. As long as that does not affect them or the people they interact with in a negative way, then…who cares. But when it hurts people, it’s time to figure out who they really are.
I have also seen what happens when people are “Promisers”. What is a Promiser? It is a person who promises to do things and then never follows through. These people can also be very detrimental to others. If we trust them and they never follow through, then it is time to get them out of our lives. How many times is too many for broken promises and empty words? I don’t have an answer for that. Maybe the answer is that when the impact of those broken promises causes us harm, it is time to disassociate yourself from the “Promiser”. It can be difficult to do this, as it causes the friendship to end, but do we need these people in our lives? I don’t think so.
Another thing that has had my little brain working so hard lately is the issue of getting to an age when many of my friends are getting terminal diseases. The whole idea of people I care about dying is getting to me. It is horrible when a young person dies. It is just as horrible (for me anyway) when an older person dies. I recently realized that I am not ready for my friends to die. Like I have a choice!!! I am sure they feel the same way. I have had some very interesting discussions over the past few months with people about how they feel regarding their own immortality. Most of them, like me, are not afraid of dying. We just aren’t ready…regardless of our age.
I remember my mother telling me in her late 70’s that she was “ready” to die. She had been a widow since her very early 50’s (as have I) and she said she was lonely and had done everything she wanted to do. She didn’t die for many more years and I am so glad that she stuck around. I remember how I felt when she told me she was ready. I couldn’t believe that anyone who was not terminally ill or severely depressed would be ready. I had so many things I still wanted to do then. And now, many years later, I have even more things I want to do. I am not sure that I will do all the things I want to do or go to all the places I would like to see, but I am certainly trying.
I do not sit around and contemplate death often, but as so many of my friends now are considerably older than I am, I sometimes think about how sad I would be to lose them. I see them doing new things, going to new places (the ones who are still able to do so) learning new skills and LIVING lives that are meaningful to them. We ALL need to remember that we should never put off doing the things we want to do.
I walk, a lot. I now also dance, a lot. I am doing everything I can to live a healthy life…to keep fit and keep my physical and mental health the best it can be. My four-year-old granddaughter asked me a few weeks ago, “Grandma, will you be alive to come to my wedding?”. At first I didn’t know how to answer that. If she had asked if I would be at her wedding I would have told her that I wouldn’t miss it! But that isn’t how she asked the question. So we did a little math activity (she is a math wizard…ess). I explained that we would do some subtraction…she is 4…I am 70…there is 66 years between us. When I told her that if she got married at 2o I would be 86, she told me that seemed VERY old. Then she asked if she should get married before 20. I laughed out loud but told her NO! I told her that 20 way too young to get married.
Will I be around when my wonderful grandchildren get married? I have no clue. But I am damn well going to do everything in my power to make that happen.
Now, on this sometimes grey and rainy and sometimes sunny Sunday, I am going to stop all this pondering and read my book.