Spring Break in Italy

Part of my recent mid-life crisis was to sit myself down and figure out how to live my life more intentionally. By that I mean, figure out what it is that I really want - NOW!! and find a way to do it , get it, be it. I'm not advocating being selfish- I'm coming out of that 20 year long tunnel known as "mommy-dom" wherein I totally gave up every personal desire and need, including sleep, adult food, and clean fashionable clothing, all subverted for the common good known as "parenting children". Like many folk at mid-life, I am trying to figure out the next chapter. I can't really handle the sports, archaeology and other physically taxing hobbies of my youth. I can still paint but for some reason am having trouble getting back into it.

I subscribe to a wide variety of blogs, some of which focus on clearing out the clutter- of one's house, one's mind, one's life. The goal is to focus and enjoy - not to live a Spartan existence, but to be deliberate in one's choices. These blogs inspire me to figure out what is important, and to not waste time on the unimportant.  Life really came into perspective for me with the death of my parents recently, who both passed away before 80. If I follow the trend, I have fewer than 30 years left.....maybe only 20-25 good ones. Think how fast the previous 20 years just whizzed by; I'm not being morbid, just wanted to live what I've got left to the fullest. I write a lot about bucket list ideas here in my blog, but that's because as a mom, I feel I've lost myself somewhere.....and on auto-pilot in my life. I was still driving the 9 mpg minivan long after the kids had their own cars. Why?  I had loved poodles all my life but hadn't owned one since a child. Why? I love to travel but hadn't taken advantage of the fact that I have a captive audience of willing, eager students and those educational tour companies exist that send the teacher for free once 6 students have paid. Why have I not put a trip together years ago? My favorite color is blue, but I was living in a home decorated in red and rust, and it was dark and depressing. Why?

I believe that we are who we chose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You've got to save yourself. Nobody is going to give you anything. You've got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don't get it. So don't give up on your dreams.

OK, so this is a somewhat overly dramatic inspirational quote I got from pinterest. It's aggressive tone probably says more about me than I care to admit.....But who cares? It speaks to me, and I keep a copy of it by my computer and look at it and think about it, every day. Why wait till retirement to live my life, buy a new car, take that trip I always wanted, redecorate the house (throw out the chewed on, dog-pee-stained furniture...never could figure out why old folk redecorated. Always thought when I was young, "Why bother? Your life is almost over." Now I know. It's bc you cherish the dream of being able to sit down on a sofa that is not crunchy with food stains.) Carpe Diem, as Robin Williams says in "The Dead Poets Society". I might die tomorrow. Nearly everyone knows someone who spent their entire lives waiting for retirement, only to die or develop a limiting health problem shortly after the official retirement date, and to have wasted their entire life , waiting to retire - to do the fun things. This is not a new theme; it's as old as time. PBS and corny old movies have a lock on this topic, with two aging stars experiencing love among the ruins. How cute.

I am serious, however, and was driven to action by my therapist who said to me, "What is it that you want?" So I sat down and made a list: 1) I wanted a new beach cruiser bicycle - a nice one . Had no money, so I thought and thought.....and remembered a ziplock sandwich bag of broken 14k and 18k jewelry I'd been saving, my whole life. Odd, mis-matched earrings, chains that were torn - stuff going back to my early teens, age 12 or 13. In spite of my many travels, I'd hung on to this collection of jumbled junk, and with gold currently fetching high prices, I took it in, sold it all, and had a really nice chunk 'o change. Bought the bike. Booked the trip.