What I Do
I write. I began writing a few years ago as a way to work through a lifestyle change. I had retired a bit early and found myself in a quandary, not sure what to do next, looking for greater meaning than I found in my daily life and plagued with an irritating feeling that something important was missing. I wondered if this was all there was. I had accomplished that for which I set out and had nothing more on the horizon. It was my winter of discontent, so I did what every 59 year old woman struggling with angst and anxiety does; I went into therapy. My therapist was wonderful. She was a no BS, straight talking, marvel of a woman, who simply told me it was all up to me. So, I best get on with it.
Well, for me, getting on with it meant getting up every morning at 4 00 am and writing it out. Bit by bit, page by page, my mind brought forth my answers. I was being set free and given the heaviest responsibility of my life, to create a life for myself; not for someone else, not for the benefit of another, just for me. That was, as close as I could tell, an impossible task. I'd never done that before. But it literally came down to do it or die, a slow, protracted, mind numbing, soul crushing, one foot in front of the other, end of life that would go on far too long to tolerate. So, I chose to do it.
I struck out into every direction at once. If it seemed interesting I did it. If it was fun, I was up for it. If the music played, I danced. And all the while I wrote. Every morning, I wrote about what was on my mind and what came flowing out of my fingertips was an insight. I was doing this differently than anyone I knew. I was recreating myself, living my life more fully than I ever expected and I was loving it. But I was also setting out on a path that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. There were some big decisions to be made and they were all mine to make. The twists and turns made it hard to see what was coming next and I had to bolster my courage to not turn back and retreat into my old comfort.
As I shared what I wrote with other women, I heard my story being told back to me. There was a whole generation of us who didn't want to age as our mothers had, who refuse to be saddled with convention and told we had to give up anything because we were getting older. We were going to move into the years beyond youth, vital and strong, independent and out loud. We planned to live life in big bites and show the world who we are. And, who we are is a new kind of women living a new kind of life.
And now, what I do is write about us. I bring our stories forward, I tell my own story as it unfolds and I pose some interesting questions about what we might do next. I hope you enjoy my work, and if you do, I hope you will share it with other women. We need to stick together, lift each other up and be proud of who we've become.