It seems as though every day brings more surprises in my life.
You go through life with expecting stability in your daily activities, and you actually look forward to the sameness of it all.
But, when something happens that changes the ordinary, we are forced to step back and reassess the definition of living an “ordinary” life.
In my case, Angela’s passing was a life altering experience, and it forced me to have to change my perception of how I go about living my life. I have spoken many times about the changes large and small, that are inflicted upon you when you lose your partner and life companion. Two years later and I’m still in a kind of self-imposed limbo; treading water, so to speak, afraid and unmotivated to move in any new direction.
This is the challenge for me to accept and figure out — how to go to the next place and yet still keep connected to the past that I love so much.
It happens to many of us, and we all need to find the best responses and changes that make our lives comfortable and fulfilling.
But, I find that the changes go beyond accommodating my newly imposed singleness, an acceptance of the new status of “me” rather than “we.”
I have found, as have many others, that you need to fess up to the idea of carving out your new identity, especially as you age. So when I speak of challenges, they come in all forms and sizes; in places that you expect to find them, and in the most unexpected places as well.
For instance, having to make all the decisions without consulting with your significant other, or seeking another opinion. Or looking up at the roof and realizing that the shingles seem loose — what to do?
There are countless other little ways — figuring out the menu for the week, or not, depending on how much motivation you can muster. Deciding what to watch on TV can be perplexing. Do you seek out the more original programs, or do you just watch the top three network offerings? I sometimes opt for the choice that is least troublesome.
My son Matt gave me a system called Calvo for Father’s Day that incorporates all the remote manipulating into one simple activity. He knows how much I hate to sit before the TV with two instruments in my hands, trying to coordinate the transition from one system to another. Thanks Matt!
But, I actually realize that we all have to do some of these things as we grow older and perhaps grow less agile as well. The ordinariness of our lives has to change.
Think of how often we have had to decide when to check the AC or the heating system, and whether we have actually done it as a precautionary measure, or waited until it needed a technician.
In my case, so many of these things tend to become more burdensome when they’re done alone. It’s a little like growing up and becoming an adult for a second time in your life. You become an adult... and then you become an older adult. It doesn’t necessarily get easier just because you did it once before, when you were 21.
It’s not really a complaint, just an acknowledgement that life is never what you expect it to be - it’s usually not according to a “this is life as you get older” manual that you pick up with your prescription at the pharmacy. Then again, life is what you make of it, right?
In the end, it is up to us to figure it out. We need to decide how to move on, to be productive, to make a happy place for ourselves, alone or with someone you love or care about.