Saturday, April 30, 2016

Taking a hard look at myself

I was looking through the new issue of Bon Appetit tonight and found a recipe that sounded good to me. Can’t remember exactly what it was but it involved tomatoes—it may have been the statement that a salad doesn’t have to have lettuce, a sentiment I agree with. I grew up on tossed salad and love the blue cheese one Jordan makes us, but in general I’m tired of salads with everything but the kitchen sink. So I was thinking tomatoes, blue cheese, cuke, and avocado—and then remembered Christian doesn’t like tomatoes, doesn’t really like to have to pick them out of his salad.

My mind followed a thread. I live alone, but when our great move is accomplished—still looks like a long way off—I’ll be eating with my local family, and it’s foolish of me to add recipes to my appalling collection that Christian won’t like. Somehow that made me take a hard look at the fact that my lifestyle will be changing forever. I expect it to be great but it’s still a great unknown. What if I don’t like my tiny quarters? What if I can’t fit everything in that I can’t bear to part with? What if I’m lonely back there (I’ll still have my precious dog)? Afraid? I actually expect it to be a wonderful change and am excited about it, but it’s still a great unknown—and there’s a lot of upheaval and work to be done before it’s accomplished.

And then a thought I’ve pushed to the back of my life came to the front. I’m going to my own cottage, not assisted living, not an awful nursing home like we sent my mom to. But it’s still the end of an era in my life … and time to confront my own mortality. I really don’t want to believe I’m 77 with limited mobility and various other aches, pains, and problems that come with aging. If I can barely get around by myself now, how can I live to my mid-90s, which is my goal. I can’t get around well enough to get out in the world, which would keep me younger—and less anxious. I want to see my grandkids grow up. I love my life, blessed with family, dog, friends, home, career—I don’t want any of it to change. And yet I feel it might. It’s that great unknown again.

I belong to a small online group of very supportive writers, and the message I’m getting from them is that I am a strong, capable woman and need to stop running myself down. I’m going to take that as a mantra. Along with my walking mantra, which is “Heel, toe, I can do this.”

Meanwhile, nice day today. Went to lunch with Subie and Phil, then to a frame shop to order frames for two pieces of art that became book covers and my good friend, Barbara Whitehead, was kind enough to give them to me. A quality frame shop always results in sticker shock and this did. Then to Staples where I bought a new keyboard because once again I spilled wine on mine and killed it. Now it’s almost nine, and Jacob has just arrived for the night having been to a TCU baseball game and dinner with friends.

For tonight, my world is pretty much in order. I’ll take the great unknown a day at a time as it comes. Breathe in calm, breathe out anxiety.


Randy Eickhoff said...

I have been thinking about this coming situation with you and the cottage ever since you told me about it, Judy. Given that I'm 70 and have been "out to pasture" for the past 16 years, I imagine the day isn't too far off when my daughter will decide it's time to shove the old man into/onto a back burner somewhere. I like this idea of yours, however, with the cottage behind the main house and think it has possibilities here. After all, I do have a barn that could be easily converted. (Originally built for an owner who wanted a "hobby shop" where he could build furniture.) Hmmm

Judy Alter said...

Randy, I think I made this decision myself or at least we arrived at it mutually, so I don't feel like I'm being put out to pasture. Quite the opposite--I feel like I'm being cared for. Your barn sounds ideal. Our remodeling will be expensive but it's a bargain compared to several years in assisted living.