As for decades…

I caught myself again today referring to my life in decades.  I use the word decade in almost all my conversations, and I use it frequently on this blog.  One would think, even expect a woman of 50+ years to refer to the decades of her life.  Normal, right?  Well, It doesn’t seem normal to me..I remember, as a little kid, how captivated I felt when I figured out I would reach 2000 in my lifetime.  How in the world can a little kid understand this — the turning of the centuries didn’t make much sense, but I was strongly affected by the number.

In my teens, I became interested in getting through each minute. Or not. For a while I dreaded that 2000 date, and all through my 20s, I lived for the moment, but in the wrong way — unwilling to acknowledge and prepare for my future.  Yet, at this time, while I obsessed about surviving through the years, I mistreated my body, ignored my diabetes, behaved foolishly — a case could be made that I tried to kill myself by pursuing gratifications in every area of my life.

By the time I reached my mid-30s, I was living less for the disconnection alcohol could bring; I continued to smoke, both cigarettes and pot, right up until the day I was admitted to the hospital for a four-artery bypass.  I was there a couple of months, and I had withdrawn from the tobacco habit without know that was happening,  I was hospitalized for two months.

I moved to North Carolina, but I was only there for a little less than two years, during which I grew sicker by the month.  Funny thing — I died while recovering from surgery to remove my gall bladder.  I didn’t really make the connection until a few weeks later, when my landlady asked me, “So what do you do now that the death thing is over with?”  I jumped like I’d been poked with a cattle prod.  I hadn’t even made the connection.  How weird is that?

I don’t remember exactly what I thought at the time; in hindsight, I think I felt lost without that old fear to lean on.  I do remember feeling a vague sense of anger, as though the doctors who implanted my defibrillator removed a vital piece of my personality.  My poor sick me identity was quite badly shaken.  I wasn’t conscious of these feelings then, but I’ve since learned that I felt some powerful stuff during those years.  

Skip forward to the present; I recently underwent immense an change of philosophy.  My long-lived depression, a constant companion for years, suddenly seemed a fruitless, senseless load I’d carried far too long.  The change was immediate and intoxicating.  Months went by before I felt even a little dampening of the lift I got after I read that one sentence:  No one can hurt you unless you let them.  

I heard this from my sister S. many times over the years, but as she says, you can’t know until you know.  

That change brought into focus one fact:  I can think about the future, with hope; I can live the right way for each day, enjoying my life, forget about worrying, making the very most of every minute.  And equally importantly, I find myself referring to my past in other ways than big health crises.  That is how I came to speak so often of the decades of my life; I made myself a different person, one to whom decades were accomplishments, instead of the woman who lived by counting all of the calamities of her life. I love this woman.  I am content.


7 responses to “As for decades…

  1. I think it makes perfect sense to think in terms of decades. Doing so lets us review and enjoy our life from a bigger prospective and not get bogged down in the small petty things that ultimately have no meaning.


  2. Its good to read this stuff about how your life was before and how life is now. You help me became a better person with your advices and I just hope that you too are doing well. Prayers made me stronger and helped me recover from my first surgery and hopefully none would come again in the future. I had always included you on my prayers and would pray more. You are a good person friend and you deserve the peace of mind you can get. Love you friend. Keep smiling.

    • Dear Packo, I can hardly come up with the words to thank you for your prayers and good wishes. I am glad to hear you sounding like before the surgery, and very glad you got through it with no bumps in the road. Surgery isn’t that much to worry about — I’ve had 14 — but if you get an infection or something, takes a long time to trust again.l So good for you!

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