As I approach my fifty-sixth birthday (Dear God, this means I will actually be walking through my fifty-seventh year!) I find myself reviewing the “where I have been” and looking with great delight to “where I still have not visited.” And, as I bend my mind and spirit to this wandering and pondering, I realize that for me, I must continue to keep a “yes” attitude going for this adventure of living to keep going.
I walked into my fifties knowing that life as I knew it was over. A long-term marriage was done and the future that I had so long “assumed” would just happen was a leaking snow globe of lost dreams. Stunned and sputtering, I wept for my youth and sorrowed for a young girl’s smashed picket fence.
Once I had wiped my face, cleared a somewhat worry-lined brow and had taken stock, I realized that I had a “going-this-alone” opportunity–though it did sometimes feel rather more like a slap in the head. It was “make it” or” break it” time. I could say “Yes” and walk through the door leading to the rest of my days or I could say “No” and cower in a corner of disappointment and self-pity.
Through experiences humbling and hilarious and with the help of friends and total strangers, I learned to square my shoulders, straighten a sometimes-drooping back and to march on. I learned to say “Yes” to things new and different, frightening and foreign. And that “Yes” became “Yes, I will” and then it became “Yes, I can!” And now it is “Oh, yes, what’s next?”
Of course, there are times when I hunker down, hug into myself and want to simply hold the line. But, holding the line takes a lot of effort and all I get is the same old, same old stuff going on. The zip and the zing, the “Oh my God, ain’t life grand?” begins to wane and I begin to wallow. Life begins to pale, I begin to pale and things feel paltry and half-measured.
This “hunkering and holding close” only occurs, though, when I start saying “No” to the invitation and challenge of living; when I slam the door on that “finger of fate” that beckons me to join the game, to walk a bit on the wild side, to do things not yet done, to push the envelope.
It is in these dimmer-view moments that I remember there has to be the “Yes!”–the “Oh, my, let’s do this thing!” “Yes” is doing this living full-tilt and it is what makes the whole shebang such a marvelous adventure. It is only in this whole-hearted “Yes” that I find the joy of living and I see my life-welcoming wink and my bring-it-on smile reflected back to me as I go about my day.