experience

Staying in Focus: LIfe is the Journey

Daily Prompt: JourneyIMG_9657

We all on a journey because life is the greatest journey we will ever take.. Where we began and where we end is not the focus of life, but the journey through it is. What have I learned in my 60 year journey through life so far? I’ve learned that there will be joy as surely a there will be tears. There will be success  and there  will be failure. There will be moments of fear and acts of heroism. There will be days when I think  I’ve  had just about all I can take,  and days so beautiful I never want to see  them  end. I’ve learned that my life experience is up to me. I can make choices and I can make changes. The journey is not always  a straight line from beginning to end.  Sideroads and hidden paths sometimes confuse my progression, other times lead me to new experiences that help me grow.

Take my Parkinson’s disease, for instance. Never that one coming. A bit of a roadblock,  it has become my constant  companion for six years now, and  it has, of course,caused me to make some changes in the direction I was going on my journey before PD. As John Lennon so wisely observed, Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. My advice is  make plans, but make them out of silly putty,  so they can stretch in whatever direction your journey requires. PD may have slowed me  down, but my journey continues and I am moving forward.

Let me add that the journey will  provide opportunities for mystery and promise, challenge and  despair, triumph and heartbreak. Life is not a journey for the timid or the weak. It is a journey of discovery, of finding a way past the roadblocks, meeting the challenges,  finding the opportunities to be magnificent.  Discovering who you are and what you are capable of achieving  is the quest of the journey.

I try to take my journey one step at a time, not so intent on trying to see what is coming that I miss what is, right now.  If I am mindful, when my journey is complete, I will have the memories of a life well-lived; if not, I’ll be filled with regret for all those lost opportunities to make my life matter , to embrace my journey. no matter where it leads or how it challenges me. I intend to complete my journey with no regrets.

So, perhaps, I will see you out there on the road,. Our journeys intersect and mix with others constantly. May your journey be just what you need it to be. may you be what your journey needs you to be – magnificent.

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Staying in Focus

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.