Thursday, March 21, 2013

Symbols of who we once were

Over the years I have sorted through my belongings and made decisions about what I should keep and what I should move along.  I have always believed that if I no longer needed something that it's a good thing to let go of it and allow it to go to a new home.  There seems to be no good reason to keep something I no longer use.  But as I have gotten older and this chronic illness has taken its toll on my body it has become more and more difficult to let go of certain belongings.  This recent move to a home with less storage than my previous home has presented the dilemma of purging more belongings than I was prepared for.  I have come to realise there are things that I cling to despite the fact I haven't used them in 6 years.  Even the 5 year test seems to be a little long.  If I haven't used something in 5 years it's unlikely I will ever use it again.  So why on earth am I so reluctant to part with these things that have no obvious use?  I haven't used my cross country skis in 6 years and I'm living in a place where suitable snow is not generally available.  Due to my health status it is unlikely I will ever ski again.  That's a stark reality for me.  So do I just accept that reality, sell my skis and move on?

I have always been so rooted in reality and I learn life's lessons from my life experiences and then keep moving forward.  It just seems that spending too much time reminiscing leaves people stuck in the past, which prevents them from enjoying the present and creating new life memories.  But when the future may not hold new adventures and physical decline is the expectation, what provides that quality of life that keeps moving us forward?  If I let go of my skis is that a statement of defeat?  Those skis are symbols for me.  They symbolize a time when I was able to overcome this illness in an act of personal rebellion and rise beyond its limitations and feel normal again for at least a short time.  Of course I always paid the price for the level of activity and effort required while cross country skiing, but it kept me sane and grounded . . . and hopeful.  But this day is a new day for me and going cross country skiing is no longer an option for me.  To let go of a symbol of a more vigorous time creates a sense of grief.  But isn't that something we all experience if we are lucky enough
to grow older even if chronic illness is not part of the scenario?  I guess for me I didn't expect to have this level of impairment at age 60.  I always envisioned myself as having a high level of vital energy.  After I got sick 20 years ago I thought I would overcome this illness that marches on, but despite my best efforts this illness continues to get the best of me.

But life is a dynamic process and there are always ups and downs to navigate during this journey.  This move has created a set back for me and this shall pass as it always does and I will see some better days.  Meanwhile, grieving has its place, but I have never wanted to stay in that mode for long.  Focusing on what I can no longer do leaves me stuck in a bad place; I must focus on what I can do and accept the new reality of my life.  Living for the present moment and building new life adventures based on what I am able to do will set me free and bring me new joys.  So tomorrow I plan to travel on the Verde Canyon Railroad for a wilderness experience and I plan on taking some photos to share with you.  I can no longer go hiking and camping in the wilderness so I am pampering myself with a train ride instead.  And I'm am selling my skis.  Where ever you are in life it's important to enjoy the ride.  Blessings to you on your personal journey!
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