Have you ever wondered why you react in certain ways to certain situation? I know I am old, well past middle aged, over 60, over the hill, but am I still able to learn new things? So can I change, be able to adapt and to let go? So far I have done this slowly in my widowhood but this is a downhill run so I should be getting faster. I have been thinking over the past six weeks (school holidays so lack of routine activities and plenty of time to think) that I need to make some changes in my life. This is not a New Year's resolution list but hopefully an honest look at how I operate and how that results. My usual solution is "just wait and see" but as I am less than two years off 70 and that means that I don't have that kind of time any more and I need to make changes rather than wait for them to occur naturally.
I have some old friendships which over the years have developed in ways I don't like. But this is with people I see at least once a week so how do I subtly change the way I treat them in order to change the way they treat me? I guess I have changed some of my views through the last 3 years I have been alone and that might be part of the problem. It is hard for our friends when we change. My late husband's highest praise was "she never changes you know". He liked people to be exactly as he expected them to be. He didn't like change, hated unexpected surprises, wasn't the kind of person that was spontaneous by nature. His work life was on call and that was surprise enough so home life and relationships had to be stable. Perhaps because we lived together for 44 years that became my way of operating too.
Now I am single I am not sure that really is the way I need to operate. I need to be less fixed in my ways, my opinions and my outlook on life. The way of routine has always been my saving grace but maybe I need to review that, be ready to add or subtract some of what I have thought of as the essentials of my life? It is said of older men: "he is set in his ways" but ladies we are too. Do you still do the laundry Monday, shop on Tuesday, clean on Wednesdays? I am incline to do that. The routine is not rigid but it is my fall back position. I did that through 12 years as a caregiver, it saved my sanity as it meant certain essentials (laundry particularly) got done and despite the medically induced chaos around us the house was marginally clean, there was food in the cupboard, essentials were available and life had a balance we could live with. As a single person does that routine need to be maintained?
I have some other problems. In some cases I need to change the day I do things. I need to go from: I am not available on Wednesdays to I am free on Wednesdays. It is a physical change to meet a physical need for one thing my need to exercise or to join in a particular activity.. I wish it was easy to toss the days of the week into a basket and just start again but it doesn't seem to be. This means I also need to review my commitments. I need to ask myself: "do I need to do this now?" As I've said before it is the routine that kept me sane, when I didn't know what to do the calendar was there and I went on to wherever it said I needed to do. Do I need to maintain that now?
Being on this site has been good for me. I don't have a lot of widows my own age to relate to though that will change as the years go by. Some of my contemporaries in real life have husbands or wives who are sick now so one day they will be widows or widowers too. So being part of a group like "Born in the 40s or Earlier" means that I am dealing with the thoughts of my contemporaries time wise. "Long Term Illness" means I am talking to people who know what it is like to be tied down by looking after someone over a long period of time, and "Widowed in 2012" means that the people in the group have been widows or widowers a similar length of time to me. So in joining certain groups I defined my contemporaries. I think I do that in real life too. Is this a good or a bad thing I wonder?
Relationships change anyway, people move in and out of my life. My daughter and family have moved closer so I will have more interaction with them, some of my older retired friends are moving, up the country for a quieter life, from a house into a retirement village which means their friendship base is changing and of course older friends are getting frail and are not available to do the things they used to do. That has become obvious in a few of my friendships so if I want to go to the movies with someone I need to find someone else as the lady I used to go with is no longer able to do those kinds of activities which involve climbing stairs. Simple things in life do shake up our world. I know that from when Ray had the strokes all of my world changed so physical disabilities in others also change our ability to operate as we used to. This dear friend can still enjoy a meal out so we do that instead.
I have recently been to the funeral of the last of my mother's old friends in Australia. When my Dad was dying he asked me to stay in contact with the last of his friends and also to keep in contact with my mother's friends as she was not able to due to her Alzheimers. I did what he asked, now they are all gone. Unfortunately I am not in touch with their children in most cases so that part of the journey we shared has come to an end. It is sad in one way as we had a lot of enjoyment with these surrogate aunts and uncles, cousins and their friends., they were a part of my growing up and young womanhood. And now they are all gone. But that's life and will happen in all the generations to come. But it is a sad ending if there is no-one else to remember those people and what it meant to have them in my life. That is another reason I miss my husband, he too shared those memories.
So what lies ahead? I have been saying that for a while now. What does the future hold and to adapt to that future what changes do I need to make in my life? Still working on that one.