Change doesn’t have to be linear to be life changing. The older I get the more I understand that sometimes, my greatest changes have been those I rejected earlier and embraced later. Some have led me into a desert of disappointment while others, which I once rejected, led me to new horizons. Hey, sometimes we’re wrong. We’re human, and personal evolution is a game of Chutes and Ladders.
Yesterday was my 67th birthday. Excuse me while I trip over that number.
WHAT??? Inside, I’m still about 26, while my looks have, happily, paused at about 56. I’m not grey, I’m not wrinkled, and I still can drink my juniors under the table. I’m convinced I’m going to be the last living Boomer Hippie on the planet.
Seems like a noble goal.
I’ve always treated my birthday as my personal New Year’s Day and regarded it as the first day of my year ahead. This year, I feel a change around me and I’m embracing it for all it’s worth!
The past year has been extremely hard, and my overall reaction has been to, first, take care of Nettl, second, take care of my family and, third, put everything else on the back burner. Now that we’re coming out of the cancer tunnel, I’ve recognized that I’ve become exceedingly reclusive and mildly agoraphobic. That will change. It has already changed. It’s my choice for myself and for my mental health.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that caregivers of cancer patients don’t suffer emotional, psychological, and physical trauma. I’ve been through it three times now and I think you can consider me an expert.
So I’m done with all that hermit stuff. It’s not who I really am, and I’ve noticed people have drifted away from me. It’s hard, not because they naturally supported Nettl, but because I allowed myself to become invisible. I’m not judging or blaming myself, because I’ve been down this road before and I know how it is, but I’m here today to say I’m out again, possibly more than I’ve been since around 1992. For 26 years I’ve let cancer put a bushel over my light, but no more. And this has nothing to do with age or anyone, it has to do with my own sense of self-worth. I had little of that when I moved here anyway, and it’s not a part of the country that encourages self-expression. So different from my home state of California. But I’m plugging black into life as of right now, tonight.
As a giggly little affirmation, I’ve turned the Birthday feature in Facebook back on. I know. It’s silly, but I think it’s important. Also, I’ll start having parties again and inviting people over for dinner and wine gatherings. I miss people.
I might even start hosting house concerts.
SK Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge, takes places in late 70s London. Read more at SK Waller SKWaller.com.