Back in the groove of life
[Taken while posing before my presentation at the DVAEYC Conference in April. Thanks, Sheila!]
Since my return from Israel, I have been busy indeed. It almost feels as if I have had no time to think, reflect, or commune with the inner me. Although, my nights have been turbulent, filled with dreams and vivid images, fitful sleep and waking exhausted to greet the day. So, I guess I must be trying to tell me something.
There was the quick trip to New Orleans as soon as I arrived home from the Middle East. And then, it was right back to work, moving into a new office and taking on different responsibilities, as Chair of my Department, almost immediately. All accompanied by jet-lag.
In between all this, I was interviewed by someone from the Philadelphia Inquirer about what I feel about aging! They even sent a photographer to take pictures of the aging me in my unkempt yard! Of course it was an exciting thought that my words and/or picture might be published in our newspaper. However, thinking about aging in that type of focused manner was even more challenging. And, as some of you who know me might have realized by now – I like a good self reflection challenge! What I discovered was grief. As I spoke about the aging process, I uncovered it as going through different kinds of loss. Losing my youth, physical prowess, and time remaining alive. I identified the stages of denial, anger and acceptance as some of the grieving stages, in myself, for all the necessary life experience losses. It was encouraging to reflect out loud thinking that I have reached the acceptance stage even as I regress from time to time folding back into sometimes denial, regret, and, even, gentle anger with an aching joint or muscle as I try to do things that used to come so easily to me once before.
With acceptance comes a kind of peace I have not known when I was young. It feels deep and deserved. Peace of mind and heart, embracing people and places I might have butted heads with in the past. The kind of peace that finds me more detached, yet more deeply connected, than ever before. I just do not take things so personally any more. I seem more able to understand what belongs to others and which parts become my own responsibility. I seem to have more choices about my attitude than ever before. Indeed, I found as I talked with the interviewer of the Inquirer, that I seem to have befriended my aging process. I am still not sure, however, if I have befriended the idea of dying – yet.
There is simply way too much I want to do. There are many relationships I want to develop further – personal and professional. With family, old and new friends – virtual and real. With my son and husband. Colleagues, editors, students, and administrators. Even with my cat, the birds at the feeder, or chipmunks running through my yard. There's an election to be won. Our Obama to embrace. A world to be changed!
No doubt about it, my recent trip to Israel strengthened and supported me – refueled me for the busy and challenging year ahead.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: You can't come back in!