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The key to the future



Sometimes when I watch the news I know how well off I am, but sometimes I want more out of life than I currently have. I know compared to others I have many blessings but from time to time I still want more than I have. I have just read an article about lowering your expectations of life, from time to time I know we all have to do that.  I will be 70 on Sunday and I think those "O" Birthdays make you think about life, where you are now and where you want to be.  I am good at over analyzing life, always have been, so I have to make a conscious effort not to do that.  That way I get to sleep at night instead of laying in bed thinking "what if this, what if that". I think as a woman on her own, at my age and with my family scattered all over the place it is inevitable to feel lonely, to feel isolated and sometimes a little disappointed in life but that is because I did start off with high expectations of what it meant to be retired.  And of course Ray featured in all of that.


So I need to go back to taking one day at a time, not expecting too much and enjoying whatever comes my way.  I need to have an attitude of gratitude as we used to say. Not easy for me to do that as of course I realise time is running out, that good body I used to have has aged and I am slower getting around so I did want to do some traveling before I get too old to do so. The travel company I use keeps sending me information on cheap flights but again it would be planning for one and most probably visiting relations who I saw two years ago.  I am not sure I want to go back to England again, certainly not this year anyway.  I may still do it, but with winter closing in ( we have a cold wind blowing here today) I am not so inclined to leave my home. I don't want to go on long drives alone, however scenic they might be, I don't want to cruise alone, basically leave home for any length of time to see the Pacific Islands or anywhere else right now. I get the feeling this isn't my time for traveling.  I will probably buck up from this but the travel posters in the booking offices don't seem to have an attraction for me.  Maybe that is just winter talking and come Spring I will change my mind again.


I know  I need to drop the "poor me" attitude which leads back to me grieving for what might have been and instead I need to make the most of the time I have. I need to cling to things that are enduring, solid, made to last.  Things that in time I can pass on to others. It is good to have things to pass on, whether it is the wisdom born of pain that we share here, the family history stories that I share with my children, the  things I have learned over a lifetime some of which I share with other widows.  I also need to declutter my house, how many mugs does a woman living on her own need? I need to pass on to others things I no longer use or need. Whether it is second hand or not, if it is usable it needs to be passed on to someone else who can use it.  We live in a throw away society and even though we know that is not sustainable we go on using resources thinking that they will never run out. We are encouraged these days to recylcle rather than send things to landfill and I need to see what I have that can be re-used.


I think in this stage of my widowhood I am looking for the key to a new world. I don't know what that would look like.  It might look like downsizing, a lot of people seem to be doing that.  I have older friends from Lions and the other groups I belong to who are doing that right now.  Packing up their large four bedroom houses and transferring into two bedroom houses on one floor that they can live in even if they become disabled by age or other circumstances. Some of them are moving closer to family, others settling for a retirement village close to where they live now. Of course some of them are in their 80s and are already disabled in some way and this is a necessity now but others are still active and see a retirement village as somewhere they can use as a base for their travels so that would be what I would think too.  Without pets and other things holding me back like my hundreds of plants in pots to be watered I could be away more often.  No-one wants to come home to dead plants which is what I did last time I was away for more than ten days. My next door neighbour does keep an eye on my house but watering pot plants is not his strong point. 


This is the house that Ray built onto all those years ago.  It probably has more sentimental value than actual value.  I wonder if I will resent having to give it up.  I said when Ray died that I would be out of here within two years and maybe I should have been but here I am still in the familiar setting that we raised our kids in. When I look around I see the wear and tear of many years, faded carpet, wals that could use a coat of paint.  The handyman who came in to fix the light switches said it seemed a very 60s house and that is true.  I don't really have the energy or the incentive to do anything about that.  What worries me is that sometimes I wonder if I am keeping it this way in case the family come home.  I know that will seem a strange thought to some of you but some will understand that way of thinking.  The toys are still here from the grandchildren growing up, the beds are still here in case some of the family members or friends from the past need to be put up for the night, yet I have few visitors. When I look around it is in some ways as if the decades have not passed.  So leaving here would be like leaving family history markers.  I just hate the thought.


I get over all of this by keeping busy.  I have a head cold at the moment so I am staying home for a few days.  Doing that of course gives me too much time to think so I will make sure I go out somewhere tomorrow.  It is nice to spend some time in the garden or out on the front verandah but too much time alone is never good for me. I can read or watch old movies, I have knitting to do as a friend has given me wool to knit her a scarf but all the time I am unoccupied I sit thinking, thinking thinking. And not always in a constructive way.  This is when I most miss the company of my family and my old close friends, those who knew me best.  Now the couple friends are off on yet another trip around Australia or leaving to go to warmer climes further north and I am feeling left out of all of that.  It is as I am always saying a couples world, only a few older folk travel alone, with the distances we travel here in Australia it is safer that way.


I don't know what the key to the future is so all I can do is what I have been doing which is to take life as it comes, one day at a time. I am so luck to have found this site and others where I have made friends and companions for the journey. Anything that brings us together with others is a blessing. But if I live a day at a time and count my blessings I am not doing too badly.  I still have food on the table, the roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in and extra covers to pile on as the temperature drops like it did last night.  Okay, I do not have all I want but mostly have what I need.  I have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks to the Blog Community and those who post on the Forums for reminding me of that.




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Thank you sue for your post we got me to thinking and the first time reading through it there were a couple of things that I thought that could lead into a good poem so now of course I have to go back and reread it and make notes but I really appreciate your blogs and we don't know what the future brings and I to live my life one day at a time and vectors times when I live in an hour at a time I am only constricted by time a few times a month my support group meetings doctors appointments my therapist I'm still se my volunteer work the two poetry clubs that I'm running at the senior centers the rest of my time I joke that I bide my time until I go to places unknown yet unknown to me I make my decision once I get on the bus be well my friend stay strong and happy upcoming birthday

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Thank you Jay , for your comments and your birthday wishes.  I know you do a lot of volunteering and what you do means a lot of people have some happier days too. In this life there are not enough people make that effort so thank you for what you do for others.

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Sue, lovely blog very deep no insightful, at least you can look into yourself and see the truth. I could tell you all about what worked for me when my late wife passed, but that would be my story and would not be yours. So I have little advice, out one piece i will pass on. I have noticed as I age my focus on what is fun and what is important has narrowed. I sense that whatever I would like to do I need to get on with it, and whatever no longer seems important to forget it, do not dwell on it anymore and get on with what is important whatever that is. Good luck in the search.

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Advanced happy birthday, Sue!


You are so loved; and it's important that you find some fun things to do, after dedicating your life to providing care for others.   Have you received info related to the Red Hat Society yet?  Can you go for road trips with friends that are vacationing while still in Australia?  Here, on this small Island, we get a lot of tourists, but Islanders are now getting into "staycations" instead of vacations away.  It's amazing to live in a small area, and realize you haven't seen it all yet....


{{{{{{Sue}}}}}}  Cyber hugs for you; you're so great, Sue, that I wish I could send you more!  (Lin)

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 What you are doing and still doing, out of the kindness of your heart, by far, is very selfless.  The fact that you are sharing your experiences that you had gone through is very helpful to so many others that are struck by stroke.  I know that staying here is something that you aren't required to do but the love and compassion you have for helping others puts you in a league of my utmost respect and admire. Enjoy everyday and I wish nothing but love and kindness in your life  :biggrin: 

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