Thursday, 26 March 2015

Unprepared


You are prepared for many things when you marry a man 25 years your senior: 
The many variations of the gold-digger/cradle robber jokes. 
Obsessively doing the math in your head: "When I'm 25 he is 50; when I'm 35 he is 60; when I'm 50 he is 75..." - for the rest of your life. 
You wonder if you will ever celebrate your 25th wedding anniversary (50/75 years old)? Yup, there's a good chance. 
What about your 50th wedding anniversary (75/100 years old)? Not impossible, but unlikely. 
You wonder about illness, dementia, Alzheimer's.
You talk regularly about retirement options when most people your age can't even fathom the idea of a pension.
You don't flinch when your other half gets a senior's discount at certain restaurants. 


But one thing you are utterly unprepared for is this: Your husband's friends getting sick and dying. 
In the course of ten days, we have received three phone calls that all started with the ominous words: "I have to tell you something..."
The first call: Richard's cousin: dead at the age of 66, from pancreatic cancer.
The second call: Richard's old friend from Germany: a stroke at the age of 59, currently in the ICU.
The third call: Richard's best friend in Germany: a stroke at the age of 68, currently in the ICU.

Are bad things really coming in threes? It sure seems like it. And it was a shock to my poor husband's system. You see, the thing is that we stop aging in our mind. Most people have a 'real' age and a 'feel' age - as in, Rich may be 60 years old, but he feels like he is 40 (if that). He occasionally mentions to me how bizarre being 60 is to him; it sounds too old, and nothing like him.   

While we are all vaguely aware about our lives having an expiration date, we rarely think about it when we are young. Which is a good thing, because obsessing about it will ruin your day.
But once your friends start dropping like flies, you are forced to confront your own mortality. And that recent triple-whammy has driven home the point: Life is damn short.

I wish I had any profound life lessons to offer to you, but I don't. The usual clich├ęs flitted through my mind: "Life is short" (duh), "Follow your dreams", "Don't sweat the small stuff", etc. And while I wholeheartedly believe in all of these phrases, they didn't seem enough today. Too vague, too cookie-cutter, with no real meaning attached to them.

So I did this: Reminded myself of some facts I find important for my own life:

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. We are born to make them. Stroke #2 (from above) was so afraid to choose the wrong woman and get hurt, he stayed single for the last 30+ years, living alone.  He never got married, never had children, hasn't travelled in years. Don't.be.afraid. 

Fall in love wildly and frequently. Try out new things, find your passions. I fell in love with blogging two years ago, and we are still going strong; my latest love affair is yoga, which is shaping up to be a life-long lover as well. Find out what makes you excited to leap out of bed in the morning, what makes you grin from ear to ear, what makes you feel like super woman!

Stop worrying about numbers already. Likes, followers, the scale, age - stop caring about the frigging numbers! They don't reflect your worth or your value. Judge your life by different values: how you feel, how you make others feel, genuine connections, energy, love.

Forget perfection. Do what gives you joy, even if you do it badly.

Spend more time with the people that matter the most to you. Hang out with those dearest to you, and let them know what they mean to you.

Eat the damn cake. Because, cake.

Be kind. Never forget that.

This list is hopelessly incomplete, but it's a start.
So go out kids, have fun, no regrets, experience as much as you can. Stop caring what other people might think about you, do what makes you laugh out loud, makes your heart swell with joy and your sweet self so excited you can't contain yourself.

What is on your life list?




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19 comments

  1. Total agree with the number thing!!
    -Linds

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  2. I do the number thing all the time. So sorry to hear of your losses, that must be so hard. I shall try not to worry about numbers so much - life is sweet but short

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  3. Sorry for your loss, my condolences to your whole family. It's really weird how these things make us think about our own life too. Cherish one another because, yes, our time is very limited. Keep being the brave kind woman that you are. A send you a big virtual hug!

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  4. My heart goes out to you guys as you fight through this rough patch. My condolences in the loss of Richard's cousin, and I hope that the men in ICU recover and live many happy years to come. These are great lessons and reminders. Cherish every day and don't borrow worry!

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  5. I think this is a good reminder no matter what age you are. It's got to be terrible to get so many calls so close together! So sorry about the timing of everything and losing people who are dear to you. I hope the ones in ICU make a recovery soon!

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  6. Sorry for your loss and the stress this all brings. This is so beautifully said. I especially love "Fall in love wildly and frequently" It is so important to find the things that bring you joy in life. You are right. Life is short and we shouldn't be too afraid to live it.

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  7. I'll be honest, when you first started talking about the age difference between you and your husband, I thought HE was the one who this post would be about - him having a stroke, falling ill, or worse! - and while I'm SO relieved that he (and you!) are both doing alright, I'm really sorry to hear about his friends/family. Prayers <3


    I'm only 21 but I wish it was easier to follow all of your advice. I'm a huge perfectionist. I sweat EVERYTHING. I love working out and eating healthy and usually don't indulge because...well...numbers! I really want to work on just enjoying life more and not worrying if I go a few days between workouts, eat too much dark chocolate, or of course drink too much wine/tea/coffee. <3 Life is for living, not for controlling (words I want to live by!)
    ~ Samantha

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  8. Deep sympathies to you & Richard, that is really tough to get so much depressing news all at once. I love what you wrote! I especially love the numbers paragraph!! These are all such great reminders.

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  9. I have such a tough time with it! Once in a while I need to remind myself of the fact that they don't matter. Hopefully it will sink in eventually.

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  10. Life sure is precious! It's brutal when the reminder comes in the form of friends dying, so we better take it to heart. Thanks!!

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  11. Thank you so much Isabel!! You're so sweet. We knew about our cousin since last August, it wasn't a surprise, but still tragic. The strokes came out of nowhere!
    We don't know how they are doing now, hopefully they will recover.

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  12. "Don't borrow worry", I love that. So true! We are staying positive and hope for the best. Thank you Amy!

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  13. So do we, thanks Amanda! Life is precious and short, and as terrible as these reminders are, it makes us appreciate life so much more.

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  14. Absolutely! We have the choice to focus on the sadness and unfairness of it all, or to celebrate life for all its beauty and magic. If we allow it to happen, it is full of special and amazing moments!

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  15. Oh no, it's not Rich! Sorry if I was misleading with my intro, that wasn't my intention at all. Ugh, I don't even want to think about that possibility, I can't bear the thought.
    I'm far from having mastered the art of not caring about the numbers any more. That's why I need to remind myself once in a while! It's a work in progress, and I'm afraid it will take a lot more time for me to get over that. Well, we yogis like to say the journey is the goal - and one breath at a time.
    Have a ton of fun at home!

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  16. That list = awesome. Some really wonderful reminders. Like, I'm tempted to print it out and put it up on my mirror.

    All the best to you and Richard as you go through this tough times worrying about special people.

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  17. I just found your blog because one of my blog friends liked this post on Bloglovin. I'm so glad she did because I really needed to read this today. Thank you for the reminder!



    I'm sorry about your husband's friends. I hope the ones that can recover, do.

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  18. Thank you so much Erin! I really wrote this list as a reminder for myself, because it's easy to get caught in the same old traps. Gotta remember that life is short and beautiful!

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  19. That's so nice of you to say that, thank you!
    Welcome to my blog, I hope you like it here :-)

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