I’m not ready.
I’m sixty-two years old and do consider myself to be smart enough, capable enough, thoughtful enough, but there is still that lingering moment. That flash of time between the second that my ears hear and my mind revs up into motion. And I think . . . I’m not ready. I’m just not.
And I don’t know when I will be.
I’m hoping it will be when I’m sixty-two and a couple months, which is right around the corner. Or when the winter turns to spring. Or spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter. Or I’m thinking it might be when someone taps me on the shoulder in some way and says in a loud firm voice, “You, Deb, are ready.” But, I know the latter is not what will be happening. It’s just a wild dream of mine.
My children, four of the biggest blessings in my life and all grown, call me on a regular basis and share with me their life trials and tribulations as happens in most families. Some chats are routine . . . about the day’s or week’s activities. Cooking and recipes. How to chip ice quickly off of a windshield. Where to buy the best and cheapest phone plans. Some conversations are slightly more involved. What to do when the roof leaks during a polar vortex. The best way to volunteer to help the homeless in our community. How much is enough in a future college fund. (Slightly less than a million and way more than a hundred thousand, I say??????)
And then there are the big convos, the thinkers, the tête-à-têtes that are truly involved. What to do when faced with situations that have no clear cut right answer and may in fact have two right answers. How to handle family dilemmas that are so complex that even deep thought doesn’t reach the crux of the matter. What to do during moments of great sadness, tremendous illness, or frightening financial hardships. Those types of most challenging conversations are the ones that often leave me believing that I am not ready.
You know . . .my mom and my dad always seemed ready.
I could call them with the most perplexing, disastrous, complex state of affairs and the two of them would always be able to rattle off some piece of advise that spoke to me. I realize that most of the time my parents just listened and let me prattle on and on until I found my path, but they were good at that part. In fact, they were great at it.
House falling down? Here’s a solution. Don’t have enough money? Here’s a plan. Children are out of control. How about these ideas. And on it went from one conversation to the next. My parents were my greatest confidants through it all.
My parents actually seemed skilled at it. It was like they had sat on some team sideline, learned a lot, and when it was game time, they were the best first string ever. They never ever let me down that I can remember. Sadly my parents, God rest their souls, are no longer with me here on earth, my mom being gone much longer than my dad. Both have moved on. Like most of us, I still think about picking up that telephone and dialing 1-800-helpmeplease, but that is just not the way the world works.
Now in my world, I am not exactly on my own. In terms of family, I am lucky enough to have three wonderfully wise aunts – Norma, Pat, and Susan, and one equally wonderfully wise uncle – David. And I have often enough touched base with them and gleaned the words of wisdom I needed to push me forward. They have lived longer than I, seen more than me, and are wickedly smart about what it takes to live a good and caring life. I know that each of them will happily and willingly avail themselves to me if and when I need them. As family they have always provided me with a safety net beyond what words can express. In the end, however, I think it is my time to put my big girl pants on and be ready by myself. I think? And in thinking about being at the ready, I’ve concluded that perhaps I will never feel like I am, with the stress on the word feel. That actually no one does and that is the key.
It has taken me a long time, but I have finally realized that the world is filled with opportunities to doubt, to question myself, to see so many paths and not know exactly which one to take. It is full of moments that challenge me in ways that can thrust me backwards, but usually inch me forward to new and exciting places. The world has been a great big unknown from the moment that I have launched until this moment, and that is what brings the crazy-fun and adventure into it.
And I have resources!
I have the wisest of family members and a bevy of close trusted friends who often offer thoughts and ideas to me and for me. Plus, there is a world of folks who provide guidance through art, music, literature and beyond, lest I forget the power of a piece of poetry or a song from the 70s or a painting by a world famous artist. Then there is nature that is a huge door to peaceful, clear moments of thought. A walk through the snow, a sighting of spring’s first flowers, a sunrise to a sunset, nature never lets me down if I take a moment to look at it.
So it’s done. I’m not ready. I’m really not ready, and I have no plans to ever be ready. At least those are my thoughts for today.
Onward I go!!