My little piece of Paradise -at the harbor
I have not posted an awful lot of creativity lately because I have not been accomplishing much lately. I thought I might offer a brief explanation about why my posts have been less creatively original than usual of late. I have considered writing this post for awhile but kept hemming and hawing about it - it's about life and aging - not about creating anything - or reading anything! I have been having lots of conversations with myself and I have been doodle-ing in paint, felt and cloth - but nothing very perfect or concrete. Nothing to post about or brag about. I appreciate those of you who stop by faithfully to have look and I want, very much, to be able to offer some fun, creative posts again! I'll be able to do that soon I think!
When I was younger my plan for aging was to do it gracefully. Oh, I always knew that I might try to force back time by vainly hanging onto my hair color - Mother began going gray at 21 and it seems that red hair often does that. I always planned that I would have energy enough to go around - though not, perhaps, the egocentric energy of my 20's when I could play at night and be up and get to work on time none the worse for wear. I have always liked daydreaming so I figured that I would slow down a bit at some point and spend more time in that favored pursuit - along with my beloved habit of napping!
I have now gotten to the point when I look in the mirror and wonder who the person staring back at me is. When I was 45, not that very long ago, I was in the best shape of my life - running distance, lifting weights, chasing happiness; finding happiness and a new freedom to explore my life more creatively than I had been able to while I was on the 'short track' to a career. The funny thing about that career is that, although I truly loved it, when I got up the ladder a ways I found that I preferred a lower step so that I could have art in my life again rather than larger pay check. About 8 years ago or so my back began to tell me that I was no longer the youngster that I had once been. Back pain, these days, is almost a cliche - and so I almost hoped it would be that for me. I had always prided myself on being relatively strong and thought nothing of moving furniture about or hefting large bags of soil or fabrics. I would ache that night but be over it the next day.
Recently - over that last several years- the pain has become much worse; much more insistent - it never stops- and much more debilitating. I have been forced to discover that it is not a cliche pain but something more concrete that that. One doctor told me that I had fibromyalgia, severe osteoarthritis and several herniated discs. Well, medication for fibro seemed to do nothing and, eventually, I just stopped taking it. I actually felt better without it! My back and neck pain were becoming more severe; keeping me up at night and graying down my days, restricting what I could manage to achieve in a day. Recently, I saw a neurosurgeon who does not think that I have fibromyalgia but does think that I have major issues in both my lumbar and cervical spine areas. It appears that I will, more than likely, require two surgeries over time - tomorrow I will hear more and perhaps have a timeline. I will be ecstatic if there is a chance that I can go back to being, more often than not at least, pain free.
Dealing with this issue has led me to thinking more about aging. I totally 'get' how some older people who are plagued by chronic discomfort may come to the point that they question what there is to keep going for. I have become much more empathetic about people with pain issues. Pain is insidious - people can't see it- so they can't imagine that you are not a hypochondriac or slacker. It has taken my friends awhile to understand that when I say I don't think I can manage doing something or going somewhere - I really mean it. Pain has no look of illness - you look the same, more or less, as always. Pain is subjective and, if you have not be there and done that, I don't think that anyone can really "get it". I have been fairly lucky I suppose in that my doctor's have not thought that I was exaggerating - all in all - with one notable exception (a doctor who 'sized me up' without having a single look at my file) I have been well treated. Many people are not as lucky.
Tomorrow I will know more about what my near future holds and I am hopeful to be able to plan on getting my mojo back - I want to play and paint and sew and felt and journal with abandon. I want 'me' back again. I want to once again be able to look in the mirror and accept aging as gracefully as I had once thought I would. Age is a good thing really and I am grateful to be here. The only bad thing is pain - and hopefully I can lose a good measure of that!
The good thing is that when I can get into a creative flow it takes my mind away from the pain. My paints, felts and fabrics have never held as much meaning and pleasure for me - I just don't produce as much that's worthy of sharing right now - but I am having a heck of a good time experimenting! I know I will have some good stuff to share with you soon!
We all go on this journey of aging, if we are lucky - and I think that there are a lots of issues we all face in the process. Few of us speak of the process though - it's boring, and, at times trite, but it is a reality. I would love to hear your thoughts on aging. Do you embrace it? Do you fight it? Does it bother you? Make you happy or sad? What are some of your thoughts? Thanks for sharing!
ps: if anyone has had back surgery I would love to hear your story about it.