"In what seems like a cruel trick of timing, women often find themselves letting go of their daughters around the same time they must let go of their identities as younger women."
~Sue Monk Kidd
Traveling with Pomegranates
So that's where I've been this last year. I know, 47 isn't so old, but I prepare for things in advance. And 47 is a halfway mark. At least I hope it is. I've been raising children for 25 years. A gazillion packed lunches, scraped knees and science projects. Most of that time I've been a single mother and the pace and work has been relentless. It's no wonder when things came to a screeching halt I lost my mojo. I "took to the couch" for most of the winter, and into the early spring. No crying, really. No wailing. Comfortably numb sums it up perfectly. A re-defining must be taking place, I think.
But I couldn't wallow on my comfy couch forever. I had to move. Force myself to sit up and put one leg over the side and then the other leg. I needed to plant my feet firmly on the floor and pull myself up. And then what? Every possibility I could come up with was met with a half-ass shrug and a "meh". I didn't feel like stringing three words together. Or reading a book. Mostly, I watched mindless, bad reality shows of the "Real Housewives of..." variety. Really bad. But somehow, those plastic, loud-mouthed, fake-tanned drama queens made me feel a little better. They have everything money can buy and still so unhappy. And they don't even know it, for the most part. After awhile, I googled "low energy" and decided I must be in need of B complex. One day my daughter came home from school and found me in my usual spot on the couch, an open bottle of B Complex lying on the floor surrounded by Lindt chocolate truffle wrappers. She looked worried, asked if I was okay. Again with the half-ass shrug and "meh".
I had to do something. I had to move. I needed to ease myself back into the land of the living. So I rolled my bike out of the garage, filled my water bottle, strapped my iphone to the handle bars, turned on my tunes and plugged in my earbuds.
Slowly, a little more daily, I began to shake away the numbness. There is just something about riding my bike that makes me so happy and strong. I love the crunch of big, fat Magnolia leaves under my tires. And when it rains, there's nothing like riding through puddles and feeling the water from the back tire spray onto my back. The world is teeming with life. People watering their front lawns smile and wave. Squirrels dart in and out of the street. Babies being pushed around in strollers give me the biggest grins as I ride by, like I'm a miracle on wheels. My heart starts pumping and my muscles sing. I feel the warmth of the sun and my music is always in the background. Each day I look forward to my bike ride like a new adventure.
What I'm learning as I ease into this next phase of my life is really simple. Although a trip to Italy, Eat, Pray, Love style, would be nice to shake off my mid-life blues, or a shiny new convertible or a new career, I really just need to move. To be present. To be grateful. To challenge myself.
To take one day at a time as the gift that it is and make it my adventure. Even if that adventure is nothing more than a bike ride around my neighborhood. It's all in the perspective. And age? It really is just a number.