“Born to Be Wild”, by Steppenwolf, is indicative of Woodstock, protests, free love and crazy 60’s, right? It seems to me that those experiences (vicariously, or not) should be implanted into our aging Boomer bodies and our memory banks (that may be forgetting a few things here and there). I can still hear the band singing now, and the girl in me wants to jump into chorus, dance around the room and pretend that I’m a vibrant 20 year old again. My! I could Frug, Jerk, Twist, Pony, and make a room come alive. I bet you could, too.
Just one more time, I’d like to hear that motor running and step into adventure, heading for the highway.
However, today I’m feeling 69 1/2, and not so wild. In fact, my rheumatoid arthritis is rampant this week, and I’m walking like Grandpa on the old TV series, The Real McCoys. I’m reminded that aging is not for the weak, the spineless, or the fearful.
I am reminded that life is full circle as chapters are written, memorized, edited, loved, hated, rewritten and oft times, reinvented, if possible.
Last night, alone in my room, except for my friends, MacBook Air and Netflix, I settled in early and began watching a referred movie, “Our Souls at Night”, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Watching it was an exercise of intense introspection and realized realities. Realizations that have sometimes hurt, have sometimes emoted pride, sometimes required forgiveness. Nevertheless, these reality checks were significant enough to make me take serious reflection upon what I think I want, what I really need, and what reality provides.
For example, love. Now, some of you have been married for a very long time. I am sure that you’ve traveled many wonderful miles together, up and down, around and back within 4 or 5 decades together. You have withstood the tests of time; and rightfully, have earned my highest respect! You have endured and chosen to remain within your marriage. It is an awesome feat. But, the big but, is that many of us are not…married, for whatever reasons.
So, what does being single mean to me at age 69 1/2 and what has this got to do with love, needs, wants, and life, adventures and growing older? Being single itself promotes adventure, and can have its advantages, for sure. It’s also many other expletives, as well as: Challenging, Lonely, Unnerving. Being single over 60 can also create critical judgements, can create victimization, always requires unusual spiritual strength, mandates emotional balance and most of all, requires having friends…really good, good friends. And herein lies the jest of my blogging thoughts.
This is where the reality check evolves. The tradeoffs, the compromises in life are numerable and varied. I can’t dance like I used to. Love doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me, either. Yet, what I do have and what reality is providing for me is: Friends.
My friends come from all walks of life; they are all ages, and they are male and female. Without them, I do not know how’d I’d function. They uplift, they tell the truth, they laugh with me and at me, and they sustain me through bad health and euphoric moments. We are authentic and fearless. Each would stand by my side should I call them.
The list isn’t long, this list of really good, good friends. And, none of us are angels or little old ladies or somber men rocking in our chairs at sunset. We meet to hear live music. We talk about each other’s husbands, or boyfriends, girlfriends, or children, or lovers or neighbors or our businesses or the latest trends. We disagree about politics. We watch each other dance. We watch each other delight in grandchildren. We brag to the inth degree. We share in grief. We somberly hold one another when times are tough. Do my friends take the place of love and adventure? No. But they add to my life in ways that can’t be necessarily measured.
My motor is still fortunately running and sometimes I still head for the highway. Seeing Earth, Wind & Fire in concert was a blast! Sometimes I still dance a little, too. Yet, my best adventures now aren’t so elusive. My new adventures are treasuring my memories of my children and family. Honoring my friendships. Unconditional love.
Being alone at night is still hard: The intimacy of sharing the events of the day, or feeling someone hold you while you cuddle…of course, I greatly miss being in love; and that 5:30-7:30 time is THE HARDEST. I miss my family meal preparations, the talk, the chaos. I miss it all.
…and then a friend calls. “Want to share a glass of wine?” ‘Need a ride to Donn’s?” “Just letting you know we sure do appreciate you here at work.” A familiar voice, and I’m back on track. My adventure of life seems stable and nurtured. And isn’t that what we all truly desire? To be loved, nurtured, protected, needed?
Know this. I am not ready to retire into senility or powerless aging rhetoric. My adventures are yet to be seen or known. My soul at night may be lonely, and I surely do want to find that person to share my intimate thoughts again; but my adventures still exist.
I will get my motor running. I will head on down the highway, looking for adventure and whatever comes my way…and Yes! My really good, good friends will enable me to see the world through the eyes of our youthful hearts. They will share adventurous highways of trust, laughter, and tears.
These long and winding roads of life’s adventures will be filled with love, tenderness, and the unknown…but that’s another song:)
Giddyup ya’ll. Go see the Bluebonnets. Eat some Bluebell’s ice cream. Picnic by the rivers.
Live life lovingly,
Texana Lane…headin’ down the highway of life!