I recently came across an essay I had written twenty years ago. It was titled “Over the Hill and Proud of It.” In the essay I examined the reality of facing forty. What was I thinking? What was the big deal? Now that I am looking sixty in the face, at forty I was still a youngster and quite clueless. I ended the essay with this conclusion, “We look ahead, not back. We hatch plans, not regrets. The hardest part of the climb is over. We’ve acquired confidence, we temper life’s ups and downs with humor. We delight in our wisdom .We’re over the hill and proud of it. We anticipate all that lies ahead. And it’s going to be quite a ride — remember it’s all downhill from here.”
While most of that still holds true, in retrospect, it has been the last twenty years that have included life’s greatest challenges for me and brought me a deeper wisdom. Believe me, I still had a lot of climbing ahead of me, and those downhill rides were terrifying. There have been delights – a new daughter-in-law, two lovely grandchildren, a couple of nice houses, some great vacations, but there have been obstacles I never imagined at forty. Most of it culminated in 2007, and although I had no idea what was in store, these silent predators were busy plotting against me. First of all, out of the blue, I was hit with terrible social anxiety, which I still deal with today. And then, in 2007, I was diagnosed with both colon cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Talk about anticipating all that lies ahead! Who anticipates a freight train heading for you at 100 miles an hour?! Hopefully, I’ve got the colon cancer on the run, and the research community is hard at work on better drugs for the Parkinson’s, and perhaps, one day, a cure. But in the meantime, I’m the one on the front lines in the battle for my life.
This blog is not meant to be about illness and meds and doctors, or a place for me to whine and bemoan my fate,but rather about staying in focus on the here and now, living the best life you can and keeping control of your own life. For me, keeping it all in perspective is paramount, and my sense of humor is a major lifeline. In addition, there are the three ps – prose, poetry and photography. These are my fortresses, the places I go to stay in focus.. Mix in meditation and the big E (exercise) and I am armed and ready for the fight. You’ll be hearing a lot more about these in the weeks to come..
So, in addition to sharing my experiences with you, I wanted a place to collect my words’ present my photographs and share the crazy thoughts and perspectives that I house in my head, but most especially to have a place to keep it all in focus.