The Relevancy Project Post 3: So, On to the Next Thing
Sometimes I feel I just have to post a particularly compelling snippet from my Relevancy Project research. Here is one from the book I told you about earlier: 50 Things To Do When You Turn 50, a collection of essays edited by Ronnie Sellers.
Garrison Keillor, author and host of A Prairie Home Companion, a long running public radio show writes:
Put the past behind you. This is even easier to do at my age (62) but you can get a start at 50—make a pile of your regrets and put a match to them and let them blow away, the lost loves, the estranged friends, the botched education, the unwritten novel, the neglected guitar, the ruinous investments, the dear friend who committed suicide, the opportunities that sailed away without you—put that in a knapsack full of rocks on the ground and walk away and find something in the here-and-now that absorbs you and take up with that, a garden, a grandchild, a choir, yoga, knitting, amassing a collection of porcelain pigs, political agitation, learning the drop-thumb style of banjo.
Oh, so I’m not the only one dealing with regrets at age 50+? Sometimes it is very meaningful to know that you are not the only one wishing things had turned out differently and coming to the painful realization that there is no opportunity for a do-over at this point. Its tough to come to terms with the fact that certain things you wanted really, really badly in your life just aren’t going to happen.
Maybe it took a character like Mr. Keillor with his sense of humor and turn of phrase that prompted me to look at the situation differently. The visual of stacking a pile of regrets and putting them to the torch is freeing. I can sort of see it, and feel it…watching them go…becoming free.
So what can I find in the here and now? I don’t have a grandchild yet (I still have a teenager at home!) I do yoga, but only halfheartedly. I really want to love knitting like many of my friends do, but it frustrates me. I already have a collection, not of pigs but cows, which started to come my way when I expressed to family and friends that I was amused by the serenity and placid vacuousness of bovines.
But then again…there is this blog, which I love researching and writing…and the new connections I have formed with my awesome partners. There’s also the new writers organization I have joined. And I just replaced the tires of a bike that has been sitting in the garage for I can’t even remember how long, and I recently picked up a map of bike trails in Virginia. And my husband has told me to start getting a bucket list together of places we should visit when we become empty nesters in few years. And I bought a pressure cooker so now a whole new culinary adventure awaits…
You know, there is always something around the corner no matter what the age. My 87 year old mom went into assisted living recently. She studied opera as a young woman and, while she left behind her formal studies to get married and raise our family, she had a stunning voice that graced our lives and our church for years. She stopped singing some time ago as she felt her voice became diminished, despite our protestations otherwise. It was sad…another loss.
However, my daughter, to my unending pride and joy, has inherited my mother’s gift of song, and is now an accomplished vocal student. Mom had lovely piano that she could not take with her, my daughter had a keyboard with a headset that she was outgrowing. So we switched. Now, Mom is interested in brushing up on the piano and has unpacked all her old sheet music, because the keyboard allows her to practice without disturbing others in the close quarters of her new digs. That gift of music is now manifesting itself in a new way, at age 87.
It is never too late to find a new calling or some new adventure. What will yours be?