I was at my bookclub last evening discussing, among many things, the human connection to other humans and it’s importance (Book: Being Mortal, Atul Gawande) ~ but I’ve been having an internal dialogue for a couple of months now about building stronger connections to my family, about what it is that – in the scheme of life – is really important.
It’s all sprung from several sources: my sister moving, being surrounded by fragility & dying and thinking more about what I want to do with my life…the remainder of my life. This is not a conversation where you might make a decision like buying a new front door. It’s a conversation where the decision is more like going on a camping trip this summer. Because, things change and you know next summer you might want something different.
I had decided that I was going to put in approximately one more year at my job (for which I appreciate only for the income) and then quit and hike the AT for six months or so. After that I have no plan. I’m hoping that one ‘comes to me’ like an epiphany while I’m starving and beating the crap out of my body during the ‘adventure’ I’m planning. But who knows, ~maybe by the time I’ve isolated myself for six months I’ll emerge from the woods and find we are now living in a censored ‘state’, there is no freedom of the press or equal rights or civil rights and it won’t matter that I don’t have a job because women won’t be allowed to work and middle-aged single women without the benefit of a
n owner husband will be rounded up into work camps. I’ll at least be glad to have had one last adventure before my incarceration.
But, back to connections…
I’ve been restless all my life while putting what I want on hold…Now I am over 50 and my desires have changed for many reasons. I’m trying to resign myself to the life I have now and in the more immediate future versus the one had dreamed of and some of that effort is realizing what is really important. Dreams are important and fulfilling those dreams but it’s not possible for everyone ~ so what do we do to turn the disappointment into triumph?
My children are all I have (especially now that my sister is a day-away by car) and we are a multi-generational family one one home. It works but it would work better if the home had a slightly different design. So the fork in the road is: spend money on reconstructing the existing property or find a new property that is more suitable? And the further crux is: I’m the owner and would be on the new property due to the financial constraints of the rest of the family; do I want to put myself in a position of more debt where I had hoped to be ‘free’ of debt in a couple more years?
This has been a difficult position for me ~ as anyone can imagine. But…I’m coming to realize that, because my family is most important to me and I’m not likely “going anywhere”, it might be in my personal best interests to invest in a new property (or renovating the existing) despite the financial burden this would impose. The long-range plan is that the rest of the family absorb the costs over time and I’d gradually relinquish the financial obligation to them.
Legacy has not even been in my peripheral thinking and I’m not sure (as I mentioned at my bookclub) that it’s all that important to most ‘average’ people. I think what most of us truly want ~ especially in our ‘declining’ years and at our ‘end’ ~ is an authentic and loving connection to our family and close friends. Knowing that we’ve done our best to love and care for those close to us and that they appreciate it and love us in return is ultimately what is important. It won’t be how much money we’ve made, out status in our career or community, how much globe-trotting we’ve done or celebrity. I really believe each individual, on their deathbed (as I’ve noticed), just wants the peace of mind of their intimate connection(s) to other human beings. That is my version of a “legacy” ~ that I’ve shown my children and grandchildren that they are the most important part of my life and I would hope they’d ‘carry on’ that legacy in their lives.
Daily Prompt: Connection.