The time of your life …

change

Gulf Coast Underwriters  

Had I not taken the risk of being alone again or had the courage to finally define myself as I knew in my heart I could be … I would not have packed up decades of living into a moving van. I would have never taken that plane to Miami and heaven knows … I would have never rented that awful economy car and driven it on the dreaded I95 to Boca Raton.

If I had not smiled at another woman in a computer class or engaged her friendship, I would have never gone to Parkland Cafe writer’s group, nor found my true voice at last.

If I had not nagged and questioned my daughter about what a “blog” was, or had the nerve to write the first post, I would  have never met Christi Corbett, or joined Writers Digest’s now defunct on line community, and I would have never met PK Hrezo or found a bevy of YA and mixed genre generation X’ers who don’t seem to question so much of life as boomers seem to do.

These last five years have contained some of the most frightening, exciting and confusing changes in my life. In a word … they were a blast!

Changes …

It is true that all we can depend upon in life is that it changes. Yet oddly, it remains much the same as before. Not a repetitious circle or a 180 degree swivel of the compass.

No, I believe our life is lived in spirals that move upward to an unknown end … the same … yet different.

Last summer I experienced tremendous change and upheaval. Being the rooted type, I tend to nest, to settle my roots deep … to avoid major changes at any cost. Yet change came and at a very steep emotional price. The money part wasn’t much fun either.

I stood in front of my little cottage and thought … how can this be? How can I be standing here in front of a place I saw such a long, long time ago in a dream? How can I put the little key in the door and begin over again?

Yet, I have begun again … anew … alone and quite sure that this time, I have found the place where I was meant to be in that long ago dream.

yellowbrickroad

Media Credit

Crossroads …

Baum created the Oz series of stories as allegories of what our life might bring. The most commercially successfully being The Wizzard of Oz with Dorothy, her ruby red slippers, and her trusted traveling companions.

How then did she come to find these trusted sidekicks? As she tried to ask Glenda … what if I come to a—. But before she could ask, Glenda rose in her bubble and left Dorothy at the beginning of the path … to take the first step on the yellow brick road … alone.

What should she do if she comes to a crossroad? And Baum set the lesson of the story, couched it if you will, along the yellow brick road at each crossroad.

What if Dorothy had not stopped to help the Scarecrow? She might never had taken that turn in the road that led her to The Tin Man. And had she not felt compassion for the poor Tin Man and his quest for a heart … they might never have ventured into the forest and found the Cowardly Lion.

What might have happened had I not stopped at the crossroads with its arrows pointing, one to Boca Raton and a packed storage unit, the other to an unknown location and an open carton of yellowing journal notes?

Or the night I stood over those journals about to toss them into the trash and saw the arrow pointing outward? When in one fleeting moment of clarity, I pushed them back into the carton, purchased a computer, and changed the course of my life.

What on earth would I have done with the thousands of stories crammed into the recesses of my brain, stuffed in a battered old suitcase, a tramp steamer trunk or the stacks of old legal pads, had I not let the arrow point to a new day?

best time of your life

Book Credit

August, 1997

The week before I left The City, my usefulness and my youth both waning, I turned to an old friend. She was eighteen years my senior and enjoyed the fantasy that if God had given her a girl it would have been someone like myself who preferred jeans and t-shirts to silk blouses.

Looking at my attire I had to accept she was right.  In the end I had taken all of my culture, training, and her valuable lessons in proper attire, and put them back comfortably into a pair of jeans and skippy sneakers.

Back to the tomboy image, the persona I chose to be.

And although it distressed her, I had already accepted this image gladly. We sat on her terrace sipping vodka martinis. A practice I must admit I no longer enjoyed.  The drink somehow didn’t taste as good … the buzz was gone … and alas … the thrill of being the “bad girl” was also gone.

Her face was still magnificent and she could still stop traffic when she walked across the avenue … but something was new in her eyes. Was it the recognition that our loving friendship was about to come to an abrupt end? Where had I been she asked?  Thinking and packing, I told her.

Can’t you see the time for you is now?

We talked for hours. She told me I was fast approaching … the third and last stage of my life. The third, she promised was a kicker.  In a few hours I was in a cab riding along the East River watching the bridges and the night sky.  “Go out and live the last part of your life. It’s the only one that is just for you.”

Just for me?  I worried. Was there enough time left to roll in the grass again … to ride my bike along the Brooklyn Narrows … take a trolley ride and listen for the merry bells … to take long walks along the ocean or do more than watch as life passed before me in a grand procession?

All change brings us back to ourselves …

Yes, I am again dipping into the primordial pool … warm and milky and new.  Unlike the days of bruised knees, pom-poms and high school dances … of proper dresses and lady like behavior or the sojourn to protests and rebellion.  Now the spiral of my life rises to new heights and the girl in her jeans and loose shirts is finally happy with herself.

I’ve also learned that the best time of your life is the one you are living now.

She is frozen in time … my little lioness … her toothy grin coming back from a photograph … calling out to me.

“Slide down my rain barrel and we’ll be jolly friends forever more.”

Does a jolly friend beckon you to enjoy this time of your life?

Pray tell … are you truly happy with who you are?

 

fOIS In The City

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30 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts

30 responses to “The time of your life …

  1. Wow. It is so true that, “All change brings us back to ourselves …” You can guess about alternate scenarios all day long, but you would not be the person you are today without these choices.

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  2. Wow. It is so true that, “All change brings us back to ourselves …” You can guess about alternate scenarios all day long, but you would not be the person you are today without these choices.

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  3. LIke you, Florence, I have pared away the layers that were not me, added by well-meaning people, to who I was to begin with. But if I hadn’t had to do that, I wouldn’t appreciate who was at the bottom of all that extraneous crap.

    Let’s go out and enjoy! Loving it…

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    • So true, Laura. We need to go through a lot to get back to who we were. Only to realize that all we thought was not needed was part of teaching us who we truly are.

      Hope you are on the mend … we need you fit to forge the way for women’s fiction writers 🙂 Hey, can you bike to book signings?

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  4. This is an exhilarating post! It has so much fire and energy — and truth. In my case I am being re-beckoned — returned to an old crossroads with the chance to take the other fork. How strange and lucky.

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    • Lovely thought, Lindsay. Did you know that in later years Robert Frost also said that he had doubled back and taken the other road? The road not taken often becomes the one we discover when we return to that fork. Thanks 🙂

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  5. Florence, I am moved by your post and your choice to start anew. What pressed upon me most is that in Dorothy’s interactions with the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man, each character, not just Dorothy, was influenced, challenged and changed. We can never truly measure the impact others have on our lives, or the impact we have on theirs.

    The best time of my life is the one I’m living now. Thanks for that prompt, Florence, for I’m in the midst of change.

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    • You are most welcome, Sherry. I think we often discount the effect we have on those around us … those who share our life as we journey down that road.

      I am glad this is the best time for you and look forward to those changes you have hinted at lately … thanks so much for the visit 🙂

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  6. Well, Florence… I want to thank you for your post so that I could read the words: “The best time of my life is the one I’m living now.”
    That says it all for me. I wouldn’t change anything (well, there are some things that I wish had gone differently, but I’m not big on regrets – they suck the life right out of me) because everything that happened brought me to where I am today and it’s a good place, I think. I still wonder “what if” I’d done this or that differently, where would I be today; but when I sit back and realize how good my life is right now, why would I really want to change anything?
    Patti

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    • Thanks so much, Patti. Yes regrets will suck the life out of today. Those backward glances can eat up our todays. Isn’t it grand that we came to this time of our life and all found each other as well? How sad my life would be without so many of my on line buddies to give me inspiration and encouragement 🙂

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  7. christicorbett

    I’m honored to be your friend, and I’m so glad we met!

    Christi Corbett

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  8. vicki batman

    Hi, Florence. To answer your question… When I went to college, I finally became who I was meant to be. In childhood, I was who my parents wanted me to be. It was stifling. But they got four good girls from it. Ten years ago, I began writing, not the poetry of my youth, but stories filled with love and hope and friendship. I embrace who I am now, but know, I’ll morph into another phase because that’s what we do. Grow, live, change.

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    • Vicki, I love that “I embrace who I am now, but know, I’ll morph into another phase because that’s what we do. Grow, live, change.” Oh, so well put. Yes, we do grow, live and change. Thanks so much 🙂

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  9. annerallen

    Beautiful. It’s so true that “the best time of your life is the one you are living now.”

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  10. Just finished reading your post when my laptop froze then crashed. (I know you can relate) It’s two months old, I did the drill still couldn’t get it to shut down or reboot. Kind of freaked, jumped in the car to take it to the apple genius. Who ran a diagnostic and did fix it. But the point is. I freaked but I didnt’ get angry or threaten tho throw it out the window.. I was pretty sure I hadn’t lost any of the chapter I was working on. I just thought yeah,what Florence said. I’m glad I’m here, cranky laptop and all.

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  11. “I believe our life is lived in spirals that move upward to an unknown end … the same … yet different”–some of the truest words I’ve ever read. Thanks for another beautiful post!!

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  12. We all have those moments of crossroads in our lives and what path we choose…oh the wonders that we might find…about ourselves.

    This was a lovely post but then I expect that of you.

    As for your question? I’m very comfortable with the wise and seasoned woman my life and its experiences have molded of me. I may not like the restrictions at the moment but I will grow from dealing with them.

    Because I’ve taken the roads and made the choices I have. So yes, unlike other decades like 20s or 30s, I love this moment in time.

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  13. I love this: “Go out and live the last part of your life. It’s the only one that is just for you.” Youth is great. The years we raised our children were wonderful. But there’s a freedom that comes with age, isn’t there, Florence, and I’m right there with you. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sheila … she was a tremendous influence on me for many years. I also love the freedom this time brings me … the guilt free time of my life. Glad to have you walking along the same road with me, my good friend 🙂

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  14. Beautiful, Florence!

    I almost didn’t comment because I’ve been off loop (and without internet access) for over a week.

    SO glad I did.

    One of things I heard and embraced while visiting California?

    Build your life around WHO YOU ARE and not WHO OTHERS EXPECT YOU TO BE. You should never have to escape your life to be happy.

    Me? When this house sells and we downsize, I’ll have my own Minnie Winnie and a Jeep to pull behind it. I’m a traveling gal and want to write in many settings, from my taproot in PA, to mountain hide-a-ways, to ocean vistas, to wherever adventure takes me.

    LOVE this peek into your story and your rockin’ future!

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    • Gloria … boy do I know what being knocked off the net for days on end feels like … Yuck.

      So glad you got over here and much appreciation for your kind words. I think the image of you traveling the road and writing as you go is so perfect. Travel and write and love the life. We will both have a rockin’ future. Thanks 🙂

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