56 to 60: The road reveals itself

Four weeks into the slog Lifelongnewyorker is realizing … well, a bunch of things that don’t have a lot to do with this 60 to 60 initiative.  But they have to do with life, and figuring out what we’re about, and so I’ll report them here.

It’s been a hard week. 

But there’s been some progress to report:

 

Objective 1: Do at least one new thing every week.

Mr. NYer loves music.  Last week I proposed that we start something new: the Lockwood Boogie (Lockwood is the name of our street).  The principle was simple: Mr. NYer would create a playlist of dance music.  After dinner every night, he would play one song from the queue and we would dance in the living room.  Exercise and bonding.  What could be better.  On Wednesday, we began with The Locomotion.  Thursday brought Aretha and Respect.  Anyone spying us through the French doors would think we were slightly insane, but the three minutes or so of post-dinner dance brought a little exercise, and a lot of joy, into our lives.  Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Objective 2: Exercise. Regularly.

Got to the gym three times and stayed with the planking.  Think love handles are diminishing but probably should have a caliper.

Objective 3: Confront the negative.

Yikes!  A tough week at work had me in full immersion mode, and sometimes that meant waking with what can only be described as an anger hangover.  But it’s a soul suck, really, really, really.  One of my colleagues, Big Wig Lawyer, told me today about her own decision to “live in the good.”  I won’t go into the whole explanation, but the general idea is that we can choose to live according to our values and ideals and not play in the dark lands of our souls — or those of our colleagues and bosses. 

Objective 4: Cook at least one meal each week.

Pizza last week.  Off at a work retreat this weekend, but will cook soon.  Asking a colleague for some authentic southern recipes.

As for the hard week, well, the message is that growing old is not the same as growing wise.  Or maybe it’s that growing old does not guarantee that you won’t have the self-doubt, conflict and soul-searching that you had as a younger person.  Being a certain age doesn’t guarantee you know all the answers or that you have resolved all the issues you seem to have been born with.  What gives?  I did a Myers Briggs self-assessment and, not surprisingly, don’t entirely like the results.  I’m the type that “exudes confidence,” and I’ve learned, from college to this very day, that “exuding confidence” is a distinct turn off for some folks. 

I learned this today while at a company retreat.  Because of this retreat, I missed going to my newest grand-nephew’s Christening, which also happened to be my sister’s wedding anniversary.  I have seven grand nieces and nephews, and have not been to all of their baptisms … after all, I’m in Alabama and they are over a thousand miles away.  My son attended this one, and we joked that he had our proxy and represented Mr. NYer and myself.

But I woke up this morning acutely aware that I was not with the people whom I care most about in this world.  Mr. NYer was home in Alabama while I was at a hotel in Georgia.  Our son, who lives in Brooklyn, NY, was staying with my sister in New Jersey.  Both sisters, together with their husbands, children, and grandchildren, were assembling in New Jersey for the event.  And I missed them all, terribly.

At the same time I thought about the friendships I’d built over 50 years growing up in New York. Some of them dated back as far as 5th grade.  I’d gathered others up over the years teaching, working at the local newspaper, participating in community theater.  They are, literally, irreplaceable. And I’m feeling even more tender about them because of news that one of them has died.  I read it on Facebook, and will hear about the wake and funeral there as well.

I’ve been in Alabama for four years and have a nice circle of acquaintances, but few close friends.  And today, perhaps for the first time in four years — don’t ask why — I realize how much I miss my friends and my family.  They are not fungible, or easy to replace. 

And so, the road to 60 seems different this week.  Maybe it’s less about who I am, and more about who I value. 

 

 

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6 Responses

  1. The last part of this entry is by far the most important realization you can have on this journey. Start using those frequent flyer miles for more spur-of-the-moment visits!

    • I know. My infrequent trips rarely include enough time for friends. But you might mention to Mr Dynamo that it’s warmer here. Great time to visit.

      • There are three people living here, all of whom are on academic calendars, none of whom have the same spring break!!! My brother is building a home in Charlotte…a possible half way point?

  2. Realizing who and what are important to us is a real part of aging. Being far away from those whats and who’s can be troublesome….even not being away from most friends and family I find myself not being where I should be at times…..but it’s not only up to you, we should make the effort to visit you as well! And seriously we do talk about it all the time, we just can never seem to find the right time to do it.
    Sending you love!

  3. Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for the inspiration about how to live at work…if I can do that even for one staff meeting, I will be a lot happier!

    Madeleine

    I choose to live according to my values and ideals and not play in the dark lands of my soul — or the dark lands of the souls of my colleagues and bosses…..

    ________________________________

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