“The Secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”
I’m a woman in my 40’s going through major life changes. (I know, very cliché. This is the age where life changes are supposed to happen. I guess that is why clichés become cliché! For some odd reason, I always thought I would be different from every other woman this age.)
Back to my major life changes…
Our beautiful and talented children are all grown up. They have flung themselves out of the nest and are proving to be quite capable of nicely managing their own lives. When you are in the midst of wiping noses and sticky fingers, helping with shoes and jackets, and insisting on holding hands while crossing the street-you can never really imagine that your little ones will someday become adults who can keep themselves fed and alive!! But, one day you blink and all your kids are over 20. (How in the world did that happen?)
Our family, like everyone else we know, is becoming adept at dealing with “interesting” financial occurrences. We’ve spent the past few years trudging through upheaval in house & home. (Moving under stress is not for the faint of heart!) We’ve had to give up a treasured four-legged fur-kid, and have recently gained a wonderful new one. We’ve blundered our way through the frightening quicksand of major illness and are slowly winding our way up the road of recovery. Our world, both global and personal, has changed almost out of recognition. It all feels very surreal in the moments I actually pause to consider…How did I get here?
I really am not sure what the heck happened. I know this isn’t how I’d planned my life, and I freely admit, I am a planner and have been accused of being a bit of a control freak. One day it finally dawned on me that maybe I didn’t have to try to manage everything…in fact, COULDNT steer and manipulate all of life’s crazy twists and turns to my own satisfaction. I sat back and realized that, though totally unforeseen, some of these bizarre changes were…dare I even say it? Will I tempt the gods or fate by speaking it out loud?…some of these changes were GOOD!
Looking at it all differently, after removing the stress of what I thought I wanted (and not getting it), the most important ingredients were still present in my life. My husband and I were still very much together. We had been hand-in-hand through the underworld together and still liked each other! The kids were (and are) amazing, healthy, and annoyingly happy without too much parental intervention. Ok…those key items were accounted for and somehow I started breathing easier just realizing those two simple facts.
I revamped my perspective a bit further and instead of viewing my ongoing changes as a crazy roller coaster ride on which I was white-knuckling my way through the upside down turns; I made the conscious choice to view my life events as a metamorphosis…a time of transformation. I chose to reclaim my excitement and do away with my panic. It has been, and promises to continue to be, one hell of a ride…but flash back 20 years or so…I used to LOVE roller-coasters! I wondered why life had changed that girl who loved the thrill.
This change in perspective makes me think ~ maybe “handling things like an adult”, (planning, plotting, trying to avoid all potential dangers, always capable, always serious with our minds on the end result) ~ maybe this isn’t always the best or only way to navigate life’s hairpin curves. Of course, at times that mind-set is needed, but perhaps a good, healthy dose of so-called childlike wonder would be a welcome change. Instead of, “Oh no….NOW what are we going to do?”, we could experience, “Wow! This is totally unexpected, and really kind of cool and exciting!”
We as adults, lost in all our responsibilities and details of our grand life plans, often lose our sense of adventure and slide down to rest comfortably under the delusion that we are the ones in charge. (Reality check time!)
Someone up there obviously has a plan for me…much different than the one I was blindly putting together for myself. Who am I to say that my way was going to be so much better? I can be upset, scared, sad, freaked out, and downright P.O-ed at seeing all my carefully thought out plans disintegrate into flaming mounds of chaos. (and believe me, I have been all of the above!)
But there are times now when I honestly savor the keen edge of excitement in the simple not knowing. It truly is a childlike wonder I remember from decades ago. My parents did the worrying…not me. I was free to muse over the thrill of “What next?” Because in a kid’s world…anything is possible. Anything can happen, and most usually does!
The years 2011 and 2012 were hands down zingers, and I am proud that I survived them. I may not have gotten through them as gracefully or calmly as I would have liked, but hey, I’m still here and that’s really all that needs to be said. (I wear the label “Chronic Bad-Ass” proudly!)
Chronic Badass n. /kraw-nik bad-ass/
1. An individual with a health challenge, whom challenges it right back. One who is not defeated by the physical difficulty that getting out of bed each morning presents.
2. A person who faces an abnormal amount of physical challenge, obstacles and hindrances, but is not hindered in spirit or strength.
3. Someone who remains kick-ass while their health kicks their ass. 4. A chronically courageous, painfully resilient, infectious optimist.
* definition and more info can be found on nfectiousoptimism.blogspot.com/2011/05/definition-of-chronic-badass_13.html
2013 has been an interesting year so far, not scary and horrible…interesting. I’m interested in what is going to happen next. I’m intrigued by the many bends and curves in my personal path that I can’t see beyond. I really have no idea what is coming next!
Every once in a while I do slip back into old habits and the need to control kicks in…but I am determined to make childlike wonder and curiosity a part of this new life. I give myself a mental shake and rethink my perspective.
I find that all sorts of new things are shining through in my art as well. A new twist is being revealed in my paintings. (As long as I don’t freak out and fight it, and don’t try to confine my talents to the “old Theresa’s” way of doing things.) I try to remember to let the new me flow through my brush …then it somehow all seems to work out in a colorful and complex new way.
Looking forward to sharing some fantastical new pieces with you soon!
photo and quote courtesy of: Sun Gazing