December 30, 2019-
It’s said that nothing in the Universe remains static for long. Even inanimate objects experience molecular change. Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve been likened to a piece of furniture, and the blessed soul who made that comparison is himself long departed from our midst.
The decade now ending has been, in many ways, the most seismic in my life, since the 1980’s. In that decade, the changes were commensurate with full adulthood: Finding spiritual footing, courting and marriage, solidifying of a career, loss of a parent, and my own parenthood.
The changes that have come in the 2010s have been more in keeping with true maturity. I’m not altogether there yet. Few of us ever are. The process has been in fits and starts, and suitably so, as everyone’s late middle age is unique.
Losing a spouse– This was a long haul, and arguably something about which Penny warned me, several times throughout our wedlock.. It was the culmination of a lifelong, hereditary disease, that had come for a reckoning. It made me responsible for the care of a vulnerable adult, at a time when a burgeoning adult needed us both. There was always a balance to be struck. The biggest lesson in this, was that never again could I indulge in the slightest amount of self-pity. Buus Huus, the imaginary Roman patron of the woebegone, had taken his flight.
Altering my sense of community– I left Phoenix, after ten years, being alternately comforted in my sorrow and admonished about abandoning my duty to the community. I found the latter ironic, as the West, especially in its urban and suburban contexts, has relied, to a great extent on the safety to be found in maintaining anonymity, in entering and exiting one’s residence, through the garage and inside a vehicle.
Prescott became my community, but it was, and is, more Home Base than castle. I have dear friends here, who are never far from my mind. Yet, the closest of them, even my best friend, know and accept that I have concern with people far afield. Part of this is my Sagittarian being, part is boundless love.
Connecting with people– It’s become far easier for my mildly Asperger’s/autistic self to reach out to those not previously known to me, and to engage in meaningful conversation. That has made both quotidian life and novel experiences more meaningful. Largely gone is the concern with rejection.
Shedding long-held shackles– Subconscious and self-limiting views onto which I held, about women, people of colour and just about anyone different from me, have fallen away. I’ve long known that overarching prejudice is wrong and have managed my behaviour accordingly. In 2014, I was reproached regarding the residual bias, the microprejudices which, in retrospect, were continuing to cause difficulties in life. Things like subtly expecting less of someone, because of gender, ethnicity or physical status constitute a forest that is hard to see for its trees-until someone comes along and blows the wake-up dog whistle. Now, it is not possible for me to regard anyone solely on anything other than his or her merits.
Finally, self-acceptance– With all of these other changes comes a view of myself as fully worthy of taking my place in society. There are few people, in Prescott and elsewhere, who choose to show me disrespect, and I know to disengage myself from such people, unless and until they change their attitudes. Fall, 2018 was a litmus test of that practice, and was the first time, in many years, that I totally blocked someone from my life. The roof didn’t cave and life has proceeded just fine.
The changes that accompanied this decade are sure to have import for the years to come. It’ll be fascinating to live.