Falling down the stairs two weeks ago has turned out to be a life changing event. I knew I was getting old, after all the URL you used to get here is DOFBILL, for Doddering Old Fart. I have been using it for several years. But, friends, this last excursion down the stairs hurt. It still hurts. I started physical therapy again for balance work. I haven’t been able to get motivated for doing anything. Getting here to the coffee shop to write took until noon today. I am usually here by 9:00 AM. All I want to do is lay in bed and watch U Tube videos.
I did manage to work with the painters the other day. Our new stretch of fence looks good. However, I dropped the tote tray full of painting tools and they all spilled. They are still on the floor. I talked to to Carol about all this, and she wisely figured out what is going on with me.
I am in mourning. I guess I should have figured it out by myself, but I was too numb. I retired in 2011, I sold the motorcycle. I knew I was more and more limited physically, but this fall brought it all home. At 74 years, I am old.
This was reinforced yesterday when I went for my three year endoscopy/colostomy. I got chewed out by the doctor for not following the rules. No caffein, no chocolate (!), no booze (I had already quit a year and a half ago), no spicy food, on and on. I told Carol if I can’t have spicy Mexican food, life isn’t worth living. What a stupid remark, as she not-so-gently pointed out.
I have limitations, have had them for years. I just had never gotten to the acceptance phase. Bouncing down the stairs feet first brought it all home. In John Mellencamp’s Jack and Diane, he sings “Oh,yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”. That line has had residency in my head for two weeks.
Well, the thrill is not gone. Some of the thrills, however, are gone. No mountain climbing. No motorcycling. No more solo four wheeling trips where I could stay stuck for a week before anyone came along. I have to let go of risky stuff. The odds have changed. I am an old man.
After mourning comes acceptance. I am in that process now. The sages say the task of elders is looking inward. I am doing Insight Meditation for that reason. My meditations do take me inward, but much of the time I am thinking about outer stuff. In fact the best inner work I do is at the keyboard. A good writing session sets the stage for good meditations.
Not all the outer world things have to go. I can still get into nature. The sunrise is still there. The Japanese Beetle season is about over. I still have a life. So, what’s the big deal already? There is my sense of humor, and it is intact. Part of me knows it is all right. If I can still make bad puns and turn phrases upside down I still love life. Carol would probably be happier if I had a more conventional sense of humor.
I haven’t mentioned the most important thing in my life. The people. Starting with Carol, my soul mate and the everlasting love of my life. All we do, all we are, and those morning cuddles. Her children, who have become my children as well. All our friends. The poignancy of losing friends. The memories. Yes I can let go and still live fully.