I went to a singles conference and dance at a local church yesterday. The conference was good, with workshops about communication, gardening, finances, and other things that older singles might be interested in, like applying for Medicare. Lunch was great. I met some interesting men and women and laughed a lot. I went home to rest before the dance, looking forward to the live band. When I arrived at the dance, it was like an orchestra, playing big band stuff, like from the ’40’s. I’m really a rock ‘n roll kinda girl so I was a bit disappointed. There weren’t a lot of people there, but I had a great time. Just stayed for an hour. I love to dance. I smiled and laughed and felt free and energetic.
Today at church I asked one of my friends, whom I had invited to the conference and dance, why she didn’t come. She lost her husband a few months after I lost mine. She said she really wanted to go but whenever she went to contact me, she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. She felt a lot of fear, but realized that she’s just not ready for the single social scene yet. I told her I completely understand. It got me to thinking. Perhaps I’m not ready yet. And perhaps I never will be. That’s OK. I do love to dance, and meet new people, and continue learning, but I’m not interested in or ready to look for a serious relationship right now. This girl just wants to have fun. And what does being ready feel like? I’m not really sure. I’ll just take one day at a time and enjoy what I can. And dance as much as possible.
Talk about live and learn! For the past two weeks I have been teaching classes about values and ethics. I taught nursing students how we make decisions based on personal and professional ethics. Ethics is basically about “doing the right thing” and values are about doing what’s important. Values and ethics guide our behavior. So guess what? Just before I taught the ethics class, I did something unethical. Ugh! At first I didn’t think anything of it, but as the days went by I was more and more uncomfortable with what I had done. I got up my courage and apologized to two of my honest, ethical colleagues. Bummer! It was hard to be brave and communicate clearly what a jerk I had been. They were gracious and understanding. And guess what? Next week I’m teaching a class on… communication! Really. Am I teaching or am I learning? What a great job I have. I learn far more than I teach. Life lessons are sometimes hard but that’s what I’m here for – to live and learn. I often tell my students, “Thanks for being my teacher.”
Last week I had two separate and opposite experiences about death. On Sunday I met with a friend who has been given “weeks” to live. She has the same diagnosis that I had (meningioma). She has three tumors in her brain. They are inoperable and growing rapidly. She is 69 years old and she wants to live until she is 70. She is very determined so she will probably make it to her birthday. Another friend of mine had a heart attack and stroke resulting in blindness, extreme fatigue, and a decreased ability to communicate. I think he is ready to go, but lingers on. We never know what life will bring. When we are ready to go, sometimes we hang around and wonder why, and when we want to live, sometimes death makes an appointment that we cannot reschedule. There are days when I am ready to go, and other days when I want to live here forever. It is dawning on me that living every day to the fullest is a good idea. I say that phrase often, but I don’t really do it. I have some seemingly small decisions to make, like whether to continue working full-time, whether to continue taking a class I don’t really like, when to go to Disneyland, etc. In order to enjoy life to the fullest every day, it seems like I should make these decisions and get on with it. These small decisions often end up making a big difference in how or if I embrace life to the fullest. When my appointment with death arrives, whether I’m ready or not, at the very least I want to say that I did my best to take advantage of opportunities and learn all I could. Live and learn. Live life to the fullest. I gotta stop just saying these cliches and actually do them.
My 13th grandchild, Miles, was born today. He’s the second grandson born after their grandpa died. I like to think Steve had a going away party for them before they came down here to earth. This newest little one was born in Atlanta. There really should be a law against kids moving out of state. I miss watching the grandkids grow and learn. I hope to go meet him in person in December.
Today was one of those big fatigue days. It often hits when I don’t have big plans. Yesterday I helped my son with his business and the fatigue hit in the evening. I still forced myself to shop for clothes (Who wouldn’t? There was a SALE). No church today so I just lounged around mostly, watching our church’s international conference on TV. When the fatigue is strong, I re-commit to going back to part-time work instead of full-time work next year. Then on days I am feeling energetic, I think I can conquer the world! But I’m pretty sure I’ll go back to part-time. I just wanted to prove to myself I can work full-time. And I can, but I also want to have energy to spend with family and friends, and doing it all is not so smart or doable. So next year – back to part-time. That’s assuming my chair person will agree to it of course.
Yesterday when I waited for the train to go home from my son’s business event, I ran into the exact same young man I met on the train last week. What are the odds of that? OK now I’m supposed to say something about synchronicity and “there are not accidents.” But you know that.