There are transitions and then...there are transitions. The transition from elementary school to high school is, in hindsight, not as big as it seemed back then. Nor is the transition from age 69 to 70. However, life is full of many kinds of transitions. Becoming a quadriplegic after being an athlete (or not) demands adjustments that are beyond the imaginations of most of us. Moving from being a single person to being a married person, though exciting and joy-filled, is also a large change in our lives...one that demands a daily commitment. Moving into retirement years is big, but for many/most of us it is eventually, if not immediately, a positive experience. Then there is the transition of living without someone you love deeply. These transitions from being a joyfully married person to being a widow/er or from being the parent of a happy toddler to losing that toddler to an accident or disease are about as difficult as transitions can get. Finally there is the transition we call aging which, if you think about it, starts the minute we are born, but which we don't think much about until we get into our 70s or even 80s.
From our Galena, Illinois Bed and Breakfast.....
At 74, I do not think of myself as old even though my body does not cooperate the way it did twenty years ago. Yes, there was a day when I could easily run three miles every morning. And it seems like yesterday that Bill and I hiked to 11,500 feet in the San Juan Mountains of the Rockies without even the slightest question of whether or not we could do it.
....to our acres and acres of peaceful Wisconsin woods, meadows, and creeks complete with deer, birds, and yes, even wild turkey.
I remember our frequent 50 mile bicycle rides and doing yard work all day without an ache or a pain the next morning. I never thought about the possibility of falling but that was before I fell a few times in the last couple of years and broke some bones or tore a ligament. And then there was a day when names did not allude me...and when endless energy was mine, all mine.
Those days of endless energy are pretty much gone now. I tire more easily and find myself taking naps almost daily. I tend to chalk this energy drain up to the last stress-filled 9 years of my life; a life of care giving, watching Bill die slowly, the exhaustion and grief following Bill's death and the adjustment to life without him. But frankly, age does play its part in this also.
On the flip side I continue to have hope that I will regain energy and health and that eventually joy will visit my life more often. I look forward to the day when my watercolor paintings can be called art and when the pile of unread books sitting next to my chair are added to the shelves full of those I have read and enjoyed. I look forward to the day when being alone on a given evening feels OK...not great...but OK.
Related to: acceptance, general grief, life changes, transition