The other day, I took a long walk with my friend Anne. It was a beautiful morning in Montecito and we walked along the water and we marveled at the scenery and how lucky we were. I especially appreciated it because I hadn’t been able to walk very far after my dumb dancing /walking exercise accident. We did a loop, where we walked along the beach, around the cemetery and eventually through Montecito and then back to my condo. It was probably two and a half miles, maybe three. As we came around to the main street, which is Coast Village Road, a women about forty flew by me in her running shorts, running shoes, arms akimbo, doing her morning run. All of a sudden, a vision crossed my mind and I could see the picture very clearly.
I was in New York. I was in my forties and had just separated from my then husband. I had sublet an apartment and I was lonely as hell. It sounded glamorous on paper. I was dating. I had a couple of friends that were great to me. We went to Elaine’s all the time in her hey day, but still, everything was strange. My kids weren’t there, nor my friends and I would come home every day, much to my horror, to a pink satin couch! I had painted for many years and was scheduled for two exhibits in New York. It should have been a very exciting time for me but I had made a very huge life changing decision and it was hard. All I could think of was "What have I done?"
The only thing that kept me sane was running. I ran for my life (it seemed) every day. I ran around the park, I ran on Madison Avenue, I ran wherever and whenever I could. One day, I went flying past a little hunched over older lady. I came to a stoplight and kept running in place as she slowly walked up to the same stoplight. She looked me up and down and said to me, not unkindly, “I used to be you”. At that time in my life, I thought to myself, I doubt she had been a runner. She had probably always been slow and older. I wish I could find her, forty years later and tell her I was sorry I had doubted her. Of course, she had been young once and had probably ran marathons. How on earth would I know or ever guess that one day, I would not be running, and would be gloriously happy to walk around this loop. How could I have guessed that? In my mind's eye I was never going to be older and would certainly not be curtailed in anything I liked to do. Who Knew?? Not me.
So when that young woman flew by me on Coast Village Road, I almost said to her "I used to be you”, but I doubt she would have believed me!!!!!
One of the benefits of growing older, we get aha moments and suddenly, it all begins to make sense.
I GET UP EVERY MORNING DETERMINED TO BOTH CHANGE THE WORLD AND HAVE ONE HELL OF A GOOD TIME. SOMETIMES THIS MAKES PLANNING MY DAY DIFFICULT.
How did he know? Everyday I wake up with that dilemma. I know I really can't change the world but I can try to inspire. And where I used to have "one hell of a good time" now I spend my days with my version of "changing the world." If I get one email or letter telling me I'm helping someone in any way I'm happy. But what happened to the "one hell of a good time" and the girl that had it. I miss it and her.
By choice, my life is much more serious now. I write blogs and columns. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy writing them, but it's not uproarious! It's not a hike, tennis, a massage and a shot of tequila. No, after I was diagnosed with cancer, I changed and my life changed with me. I felt it was my responsibility to give back because I have been so fortunate. I still feel that way, but I'm ready to have that good stuff too. I'm announcing that I want full belly laughs and would like to start hiking again (after a year long injury). I want to sip rosé at Cinquante Cinq in Saint-Tropez. I want to see our gang in Capri and jump into the sea again off a beautiful boat. We missed this year, hopefully next year. I want to get into a car with my husband and dog and just drive. I don't care where we go as long as we find someplace new. I'm speaking in Santa Barbara on June 27th and then I hope we take off.
Bob and I just came back from Chicago visiting our granddaughter at Northwestern University. Last month we visited our grandson in Santa Clara. Yes, I admit airports are awful, but there were moments in Chicago and Santa Clara, Bob and I, in a new town and new restaurant, found that old magic again. All I could think of is we have to get out and make more adventures for ourselves. They are not going to come to us.
At our age life is full of unexpected sadness and losses. We have to search and find the fun. It's there. I saw it in Chicago!
Our children and grandchildren are very busy with their own lives and adventures. Its fun to watch them do their thing especially, the grandchildren. They are doing such fabulous things in the next few months. There was a time in life where we couldn't wait for their vacations so we could grab them and take off. Now its time to figure out our own new adventures. I don't know about you but at home I find it very easy to do a little excercise in the morning, do some writing, do some errands and by 4:00 pm were napping and then watching the news. I love my speaking and writing, but I think while we can (and that is an important part of it) we should have the best time we can possibly imagine. We all deserve it.
I'm on it E.B.!
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