Fall is here and the first sign of winter around the corner is a Freeze Warning. Cover your plants, unhook your hoses and get out your sweaters. I have just returned from a Mediterranean cruise with warm, almost hot weather for the entire sail. ( Incredible experience!) And now home again I get this “freeze warning”. Tired beyond tired, jet lagged and trying to fit myself back into my Fort Collins world, I don’t need to hear about minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A first freeze seems to be the fulcrum on a teeter totter between summer and fall-and the weight has shifted. My best friend and traveling companion, Susan, and I had some aha moments on our trip. Something has shifted, we are experiencing a change in our balance point.
Frost: a covering of minute ice crystals on a cold surface; also : ice particles formed from gas .
Stop. Reconsider, refigure, reboot, re-think, re-examine and renew. Change is in the crisp Fall air. Who am I and how do I want my life to be? My birthday is the end of this month and Tyler’s birthday is this week. I am Tyler’s Mom today, but I am certainly not the Mom who gave birth to Tyler. Judith Viorst wrote a book called Necessary Losses in which she talks about the losses we all face in the course of our lives. Loss of dreams, loss of roles, and loss of youth are necessary losses as we age. Denying that we have experienced a loss means we also deny ourselves the opportunity to grow into a new reality.
So back to “The Old Women and the Sea” —apologies to Mr Hemingway! We took many shore excursions in Greece and Italy and I saw many places and sites and monuments that I have dreamed about seeing my whole life. Pompeii, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Rome, Athens and the Acropolis were just some of the places we visited. We came, we saw and were almost conquered by crowds, lines and whispers (malfunctioning listening devices). Our days were full and our nights were filled with wonderful shows in the ship theater. I felt very frustrated trying to order coffee in Greece and Italy and finally figured out that the problem was mine—Starbucks be damned! When in Rome…. Resistance is futile. I became very aware of my lost youth as I was physically challenged by fatigue and lack of stamina. Living the dream of this once in a lifetime trip meant that new dreams would need to be dreamed.
Facing losses is all about letting go of what we have so that we may be open to receiving what is new. Holding on to old roles and beliefs about ourselves is like dragging a bag full of stinky trash behind us. Being between what was and what will be requires patience and guts. I don’t want to do anymore vacations that are more hectic than my daily life and I am coming to accept I am “older” and have less stamina. What I can’t do or what I don’t want to do is not my focus going forward. Possibilities are not endless, but there are possibilities waiting for me.