Reflections on Past Resolutions 

Every year at this time I break out the colored pencils and design a resolution board.  This board is complete with pictures that are meant to inspire me as well as goals I would like to reach in the new year.  Typically when I am done it looks awesome.  Then I put it away and never look at it again.  I realize now why I do that every year….it’s overwhelming.  

I desperately want to change so many areas of my life, I want so badly to be a better person.  My resolution board actually undermines the whole process.  By seeing all the things I want to change in one place, my mind shuts down and, basically, laughs at itself.  All the negativity starts to flow.  What are you thinking, you can’t believe you can change all that.  Self-doubt joins the party.  And I sit there discouraged and deflated.

I may be ok for a day or two, but the change is never long lasting. So this year is different. No more resolution boards or lists.  This is going to be my year of self-control and of doing the right things even if they are not easy.  I would much rather eat a Big Mac and fries then make a salad.  It’s easier to watch television then it is to read a book.  Don’t get me started on all the excuses I can come up with that exercise is bad for me.  No more excuses.

The last few weeks have been a challenge for me.  I was unwell and could barely leave my bed. I started researching health issues. I started a journal for all the information I found.  I have done this all before but this time it seems to have stuck.  I started with small changes, and felt worse (which is normal during the detoxification stage). Every day or so I added something new and took away something bad.  And I still felt worse. But I stayed the course and one morning I woke up and felt better than I had in years.  Then I had another bad day, then a couple of good days.  Suddenly I could actually see some positive changes.  

I’m starting to feel better and now I don’t want to go back.  I could still probably eat a box of Twinkies (who am I kidding, of course I can eat the whole box) but do I want to?  No, I don’t. I realize now that if I ate just one, like a normal person, that I could not stop.  There is the core problem.  I have an obsessive personality that does not allow me just one.  Finally realizing that has helped me to come to terms with those things that I thought used to comfort me, but in reality were killing me.

Once I felt better I started working on my anxiety issues and seem to be making progress.  As each day dawns, and I feel better I can take a half step closer to becoming the person I want to be.  I felt so miserable for so long I gradually became a miserable person.  I was someone I did not like.  Writing all the resolutions in the world wasn’t going to change that. The change comes from within and evolves as my mind and body change.  

I have learned a lot over the past few years, but now my soul seems more open to new and different experiences.  I’m eating foods I would never have looked at before.  Meditation is helping control the anxiety.  Exercise is changing my physical body.  These are the changes I always wanted to make but didn’t know how.  I simply made a few changes out of necessity and then more opportunities to change appeared.  

I’m sure I will have days that I backslide but I hope it’s not an epic fail, like eating an entire cake.  If most days can have some forward progression I will be happy.  Here’s to healing the body and the mind in the new year.  


Dear Mom…

My mother passed away a few years ago. Tomorrow would be her birthday.  So I decided to write her a letter to tell her all things I never said.

Growing up I was not close to my mother. By the time I arrived, ten years later than my sisters, she worked nights. I would only really see her when I was getting off the school bus and we would pass in the driveway.  Her night off was Sunday and there always seemed to be something going on. My parents divorced and i stayed with my dad. As I grew into a defiant teenager I really did not see my mom much. I guess I was mad or something stupid like that. But once I got married, at the age of 19, we reconnected.  She ended up being my best friend. 

Dear Mom, 

I’m crying already as I write this letter.  I find it hard to talk about you, even after all these years, as losing you has been an epic loss. There are a few things I want to say and I hope you can read my heart from heaven.

Firstly, happy birthday. 

Secondly, I am truly sorry.

 I took you for granted. I assumed that you would always be here. I thought your inner strength would have taken on the disease that you fought. I never considered that maybe you were tired and were ready to be done with all the pain you endured and all the heartbreak you lived through. I never realized that sometimes your body just gives out. 

Toward the end I was so consumed with all the troubles in my life that I was blind to what you were going through. I kept thinking that if I could just get my life under control that we would all be ok. I ran in circles trying to get where I needed to but where I needed to be was next to you.  I have many regrets in my life but not being as present with you as I could have been is my biggest regret. 

I wake up some mornings and my first thought is to call you.  Oh how I miss your voice and your sense of humor. What I would not give to hear one more Barty the cat report. You used to call me at work in the morning just to let me know how the cat was. I was sometimes so busy that I couldn’t really talk and I am so sorry for that. When I got home from work, I was usually so tired I would just stop for a visit and head home to crash.  I should have stayed with you longer. I miss those evenings watching Wheel and Jeopardy.  I took those times for granted.

I got so busy with work and going back to school.  I was stressed all the time.  Never had enough money at the end of the month and it consumed me. Now after a major life change I see how futile my life was and all the things I missed because of my poor choices. You should never have been shortchanged.  You gave me your all 100% of the time, you deserved nothing less in return. But the chaos I called my life did not allow for that. I can never apologize enough. 

Thirdly, I never truly understood your difficulties in life because you always tried to spare me from them. I wish I would have been there more for you. Your shoulders were always so big like Atlas. You had the weight of your world on them and I should have shouldered more of the burden. But I was too selfish. I should have seen your stress but all I saw was my own. 

Fourthly, I made a lot of mistakes and I assumed a lot of things I never should have. I thought you would tell me when you were really sick but I should have seen it without you telling me. I saw your fear in the hospital and I had no idea how to deal with it. You were always so strong and I was so weak.  I did not know how to handle what was happening. I was completely useless when you needed me the most. For that, I am forever sorry.

I have made some major changes in my life. They seem good. I am still working on the stress and am learning to be more present every day. The old me was a bag of messiness and uncertainty.  I had no idea what I was doing or how I should act. I had no clue. I am starting to get a clue and I think you might like the new me. I wish I could have made the right changes while you were here but I guess it was all part of a bigger plan.

I miss you every single day Mom.  I have kept this all in for years but part of me getting healthy has to let it out. I feel guilt and remorse so badly. I walk around like I’m getting better but I have to let go of my mistakes. They are like a toxic wasteland inside of me. I, unfortunately, cannot go back and change anything even though I wish I could.  I have to be honest with myself. I did not do things right, for that I am sorry. But I also have to move forward. That’s not to say I will ever forget you….no way!  But I have to let go of the negativity and the self-loathing I feel.  

This new life of mine is good but it does not allow me to bury things inside me any longer. I have to deal with things or they fester. I buried my shame for too long.  I am so sorry Mom that i wasn’t always there for you. I should have been. I’m sorry for the tears you shed over me. I’m sorry for the worry I caused you. But I hope you knew I loved and adored you always and I still do.

Happy birthday!  You are missed!

Your loving daughter,


Talent: Inherited or Learned by Lois Hewitt 

It is a beautiful evening in Western North Carolina.  I am sitting in my she-cave with no lights on except for my little fake Christmas tree, listening to my favorite 70s classic rock (slightly louder than I should), and enjoying a cup of herbal tea.  For just a few minutes, it all feels perfect!

Then my mind, as it usually does, starts to wonder.  This is something I used to spend hours thinking about, but haven’t given it a thought in some time. Is talent inherited or can it be learned?  I’m listening to Bob Seger tell a story about his life, everyone’s life, set to music.  Then I think about Ayn Rand and the way she used a story and her words to change my perceptions of life.  As I struggle to learn the guitar, it is clear that I do not have the internal talent many musicians have.  You know the ones who never took a lesson yet shred the guitar most impressively.  Painters, architects, seamstresses, and the many other talented artisans in our world with God-given talent.

I opened my mind to the arts in my 20s.  I took a Humanities class and nothing has been the same since. I learned to love art, even if I did not understand it.  For example, I tried to read Shakespeare’s sonnets to no avail. I had no idea what he was trying to say, but I appreciated his efforts.  After some time, I tried to find my very well-hidden talent. Because I reasoned, doesn’t every person have a specific talent?  I have a friend who is an excellent painter as is everyone in her family.  I know people who can sing, dance or play an instrument.  I know a young lady who can transfer her thoughts into words in the most eloquent of ways.  I know all these talented people, they surround me and yet I feel like I missed the day talents were given out. 

So again I ask myself, are these talents inherited or can they be learned?  I still do not know. How many Bob Segers are there, really.  Not everyone can compose like Mozart or play numerous instruments like Prince.  Or write like Fitzgerald.  Those people, who truly have a gift, and enrich the world by bringing beauty into it. Art is a life force in and of itself.  It takes nourishment to be created but then returns it in the form of beauty for one’s soul.  I suppose that not everyone can have artistic talent.  That makes me sad as I am one of those people not gifted.  But……

I have learned that there are other types of talent outside the artistic realm.  Some people can pull out spectacular outfits out of old clothes.  Then there are the people who can truly listen to others and feel genuine empathy.  The person with an encouraging word at just the right time.  The perfect cookie, a hand-knit scarf, a helping hand and a kind gesture are all talents. I see it now, not every person can be an Adele, but every person has inside of them the talent to affect change in the world.  

I’m never going to be a Hemingway and, I guess, I am ok with that. I would rather be a tortured writer creating written images that will transcend time, but, alas, that probably will not happen.  Can I help someone in need? Most definitely.  Can I listen to a friend who is struggling with life?  You bet.  Can I make my corner of the world a little better?  I certainly hope so.  Those are my internal talents as well as some I have picked up on my journey. 

So is talent inherited or learned?  Yes!  It’s both.  We all have our talents, the ones we are born with.  But we can also learn new ones. Ones we experience on our own or discover on our own journeys.  I realize that there is no need to feel like I missed out on something.  Sometimes the answers are not that obvious. 

So tonight as I listen to some great music while sipping an artisan tea, I am so pleased that I learned to appreciate the talents of others. That is a talent, and one I plan to hone. 

Sunrise by Lois Hewitt

I have never been the kind of person who raves about sunrises.  I always figured if I missed the one today I could catch the next one.  There are quotes and sayings about the light coming after a long dark night.  Or each day is a new beginning.  In theory, I love sunrises as much as anyone, but I never actively sought one out.

My apartment faces the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains and I could have the chance to view every sunrise right from my living room, but I never took the time until today.  I have been under the weather lately and stressing about an upcoming move, so my mind has been in full self-indulgent mode.  Last night was the first night in a while that I slept without horrible coughing.  

I woke up very happy that I was feeling better and started my usual morning routines: sent a few texts, checked balances, etc.  Then I looked out the front door, which is mostly glass and I saw it.  I watched, mesmerized, as this incredibly bright orb made its way from behind the fall-colored Mountains.  Each movement created more outstretched rays of light until the sun was fully in sight and surrounded by beams of light. It brought with it a sudden warmth to ease the cold night away.  

It was stunning.  I cannot believe that in the year and a half I have been here, this is the first one I have consciously noticed.  I am usually running around doing something I feel is extremely important or something of no importance at all.  I never took the few minutes to just look out the front door. I don’t even have to go anywhere, it comes to me.  Every single morning.

So I thought I was finally getting wise in my old age, thought I was starting to understand things.  Then I see a sunrise and I realize that I still have a long way to go.  If I run around being busy (legitimately busy or fake busy) all the time, and I do not pause for a moment or two to just enjoy life’s beauty, then I haven’t actually learned a thing.  This morning I unintentionally looked up from my iPad to witness a miracle that happens every single day.  A miracle that I have taken for granted over 20,000 times.  

I have squandered my time in one of God’s most beautiful places.  Amazing tree-lined Mountains, glorious clear running rivers, fresh crisp air and, yes, daily sunrises and sunsets are the norm here.  I hiked once or twice.  I looked at the beauty from inside a moving train car without fully allowing myself to drink it all in.  If I had to guess what lesson was learned today, I would have to say that I need to stop a little more often and enjoy the surroundings.  I always figured I had to be a outdoor person to enjoy this splendor but that’s not true. To be a human being means we have the ability to be conscious of the beauty around us.  We have the ability to formulate thoughts and emotions about things we see and feel.

I need to become more present, more aware, of those things around me that are beautiful.  Many of the images and things we see today are ugly interpretations of hate, war, violence and greed.  It is easy to want to retreat into one’s shell and never look outside it.  But if you do that, you end up missing the beauty.  I realize that not every place is the place I am at now.  God brought me here so that I could see a place of peace and tranquility.  As I plan to leave this place I realize that I missed it much of the time I was here but I plan on drinking in its beauty while I’m still here. And, hopefully, not miss all the future sunrises. 

It just goes to prove that something that happens every day can still be wonderous. 

On Being A Minimalist by Lois Hewitt

My actual and entire wardrobe. I never have to guess what to wear!

My days of hoarding and compulsive buying seem to be over. I say that knowing full well I could slip back into old ways at anytime.  Every purchase is weighed now against cost, storage space needed, percentage of actual need and what I already own that has to be donated to make room for this new item.  It has taken the fun out of shopping, which is a good thing.  I racked up massive amounts of debt “having fun” shopping only to feel guilt and regret after the high diminished.  I have embraced being a (almost) full-on minimalist.  

In the beginning, it was just about the money.  I was spending way too much on absolutely unnecessary things.  Why would two people need three sets of dishes?  Does anyone using the bathroom really care if all the towels and accessories match?  Oh, how much time and money I spent on having some sort of allusion of outward perfection while the reality was that I was drowning inward. Things stopped being just things to have and started to own me. I worked multiple jobs and was always scheming for ways to pay for all the stuff.  My life was not mine but it was owned by the 20 plus creditors I owed.  I was miserable, so I would shop to feel better then have crushing guilt over the most recent purchases.  I then went through a stage where I could not even buy necessities for fear of incredible remorse.  My life was killing me….

Then I lost all the stuff.  All the security blankets and false self-esteem symbols that I built around myself were gone.  I was lost and miserable. Then the sun came up and I saw a brand new life in a brand new light.  I was now free to live without outward hindrances.  I left Ohio with a suitcase and some items I thought I would require to live. Then as I was on the road those items found new homes with other people or in the gatbage. The more I moved the less I needed.  

Here I am a little over two years later. Getting ready for another move and evaluating my current possessions.  I, honestly, acquired a few more things than I wanted to, but all paid for with cash.  It’s not much, but I am culling everything I have accumulated over the last couple of years. I did good, but have a few things to donate. And a few sentimental gifts from people I’ve met, which I will keep.  When it’s all said and done, I do not ever want to go back to my mega-consumeristic ways.

One major byproduct of this lifestyle is now I have the ability to actually help others with time and money. Before I was always so busy trying to make a buck and always short lots of bucks that I could not ever help anyone. I just couldn’t. The freedom is astonishing!

I know it’s not for everyone, I am not advocating that it is. But for me, it was the best decision ever forced upon me.  I thought I would miss the things, but now I can hardly remember what those things even were.  Peace, for me, is not owning much. It keeps my life in perspective. When I was drowning underneath all the things, I had no perspective.  Now I see how those things hindered my life and my progress to becoming the person I wanted to be. I was holding on so tight to the stuff, important things slipped through my fingers. Today I can reassess where I am in a short time and that has allowed me to finally grow. 

The worst thing in my life, losing it all, has been one of the most important changes in my life. Today, I can truly say that I am blessed.

Lessons Learned…Continued by Lois Hewitt 

The journey that I am on is one of continual lessons to be learned. My time on the train is finished and as I close this chapter of my life, I thought I should reflect on the newest lessons learned.

People are sometimes mean and cruel.  I have strived to treat others as I expect to be treated but not everyone shares that desire. Between my short-lived career at the casino and my time on the train, I have met a lot of unhappy people. The kind of people that no matter what you do, they will never be pleased. I used to take all that negative energy personally. You cannot do that.  Those people are unhappy period. They were unhappy before they crossed my path and will be unhappy long after our time together. I have learned that when they lash out at you, most times it is not personal.  It feels as if it is but something else, something deeper is the root problem. The same is true with me I have learned.  When I’m mad it is usually something much deeper than the situation I am in. So don’t take the lashings personal.  

Get used to entitlement attitudes. The difference between last year and this year on the train is like night and day.  More and more people act entitled.  I have found that a few people will run you ragged at the expense of everyone else and not even be satisfied with it.  In my job on the train, I would be the server for up to 44 people.  Some would never utter a peep, while others demanded more every time I walked past. I would be required to refill drinks that had one sip gone.  Or get extra salad dressings that never got used.  I am guessing there are a group of people who think they somehow have to get everything they can out of the experience even if it means less time with other customers. I have a problem with the entitlement mentality, I just haven’t found a way to conquer it.  It is becoming very prevalent in this country and it is beyond sad.

You cannot live on cafe hot dogs everyday.  Enough said.

Don’t expect outer gratification.  Servers live off tips and there was a time when you could depend on those. Don’t depend on them anymore. More and more people tip badly or not at all. Yesterday I served a family of ten for 4 1/2 hours only to  have them slip me a dollar and expect my undying gratitude. If you cannot live on the hourly rate alone, maybe it’s time for a new career.  It’s very difficult to make a livable wage from the generous few.  That’s where I am at, looking for a new career path. 

Babies don’t seem to like 4 1/2 hour train rides, nor do toddlers. Who knew?

Your coworkers have to have your back and visa versa.  The more demanding the job, the more you need the support of your coworkers.  If you cannot get along with them, it’s going to make it extremely difficult to get along with strangers/customers. 

Celebrate EVERY victory. Some days everything is in perfect alignment and the day goes off without a hitch. Celebrate it somehow. Those days are few and far between so enjoy them.  Some days start incredibly bad but end up great, celebrate!  I have learned to not expect the win, but when it happens I celebrate with an ice cold beer, a delicious dessert or a long nap. Whatever it takes.  Each victory is precious!

You have to take care of yourself. If you don’t, things usually end up being worse.  Take your vitamins, eat right, get enough sleep and don’t work so much that you forget what you love to do.  I have had such busy times in my life that I actually forgot what things I used to love to do.  Your soul needs nourishment as much as your body does. Nourish your inner self. It helps keep you sane during the chaos.

There are a lot more lessons, but this one is my most important one.  Always act in love even to the entitled, bitter people.  My very wise cousin told me, you never know whose life you can change with a kind word or a good deed.  Random acts of kindness and paying it forward are both real things. They can change the world for the better…one act at a time.

It’s been an amazing adventure.  I am grateful for the good as well as the bad. I learned from both.  

Why Am I Surprised? By Lois Hewitt

Before I begin, this is not a post fishing for a compliment or to say how great I am.  That’s not what I want this to be about.  This year on the train has been so different from last year.  I cannot pinpoint what made the change, just that it did happen.  Rudeness from customers is now the new norm.  Complaining is the new point of conversation.  The temperature is never right, the food isn’t up to par, the seats are too hard, the service isn’t fast enough, the trip is too long or too short, the line to the restroom is too long, and the weather isn’t good enough,  just to name a few complaints. 

I try to tell about local history and I can barely get their attention as they continue to talk over me.  Today, I stopped mid-sentence and walked off, I doubt anyone even noticed.  I explain that I go to each table over and over so that I can make sure that no customer is missed or ignored. I try to treat all 44 of my customers the same.  Well apparently, some people are more important than others because they will do anything to get their request filled immediately.  When I say that I’m on my way and will be there as fast as I can, they act like I kicked a puppy. There goes another tip down the drain.  

Seems no one has any tolerance for even the slightest discomfort. There is definitely no tolerance for being inconvenienced even if you are assisting another customer. So the rudeness isn’t just directed at me, it’s aimed at all people everywhere.  This morning it was chilly outside. We always board people who need a little extra time or need assistance first.  Today I asked if anyone needed assistance and everyone in line came up.  I doubt that the entire car was not in need of assistance,  their personal needs came before people who truly needed help.

Today I sit here defeated, wondering where society is headed.  Where are manners and basic respect? It’s so sad that when you meet someone who is considerate, you can’t believe it.  It has become such a rarity in our society.  Today I am very sad for the people of the world for they obviously do not see things from the same perspective that I do.  Tolerance, love and compassion are all traits I am trying to cultivate in myself, but you can only be totally ignored or cast aside so many times until you give up. I’m on the verge of giving up.

If entitlement and disregard for other people become the norm, I don’t want to live here any longer.  I am thinking about becoming a hermit. Except that isn’t a high paying profession!  I feel hurt and discouraged.  I feel sad and disappointed.  I realize that no place is idealistic but it’s not so much about a certain place, it’s about human response to other humans. 

I will keep trying because that’s what I do.  Occasionally you have that perfect day that plays out beautifully. You feel love and give it freely.  Those days are few and far between but they seem to keep us all going, moving forward.  I wish those times where the norm, but that’s probably too much to ask for. As long as entitlements and greed have a stronghold on people it will only get worse. 

Maybe I’ll start looking for a cave to live in since deserted islands are usually too expensive.

That Which Makes us Stronger by Lois Hewitt

I can admit it now.  As a child and a young somewhat-adult I was weak.  Ever afraid to have someone not like me, ever afraid of not being nice.  That behavior made me weak and it allowed me to get into situations that were not healthy for me.  It also caused an unpredictable, terrifying rage to live inside of me.  Now I’m not talking about trying to be a good person or having manners.  I’m talking about being afraid to say no to harmful situations, about doing whatever to have someone like me.  The horrific thing about that is I was usually trying to make someone I would never have liked in the first place like me. I could not bear to not be liked. My self-esteem was that low.

I spent many years vacillating between rage and guilt.  I was mad these situations happened, then I thought it was all my fault.  That’s when I started dealing with anxiety and depression.  I allowed those bad situations to dictate my life years and years after they occurred.  I chose to wear those situations and my weakness as a badge. Look at me and how pathetic I am.  Looking back on myself all I see is complete and utter weakness.

In retrospect, I can honestly say that now I can be liked or not.  I can live with either.  I can now venture into a situation and not just say no, but say no F*ing way.  I have learned through this amazing and terrifying journey that those negative experiences truly have made me a much stronger person today.  I still have moments where I think for a second about not being liked, then it goes away and I take control.  I never want to be weak again, I want to fight back when necessary.  I don’t want to tolerate bad behavior just because it is the nice thing to do.  

You can be a nice person and still be strong.  You just have to be able to stand up for yourself or someone who cannot do it themselves.  You can be kind and strong at the same time.  If you don’t have the kindness part of the equation, you can run the risk of being a bully.  You need both components.  You can remember those past hurts and use them to keep you strong.  I used to hate those times when I was unable to stand up for myself, now I look at them as my training ground for who I am today.  Without them, I would not be as empowered as I am right now.

To all the people who took advantage willingly or unknowingly, thank you.  Once I got my head out of my nether regions, I saw my own inner strength come out.  The self-pity and even the unpredictable rage went away.  I still get angry at times but it is over a current situation not one from 40 years ago. There is a huge difference.  

I have decided to learn from the past instead of reliving and reliving it. I have decided to forgive them (however not forget) and to forgive myself.  I did not have the tools then that I have now.  Ironically, the tools I have now came from those experiences.  I feel so much healthier now that I let up on the grip those circumstances held over me.  I feel a new kind of freedom…and it feels good!

If Only….by Lois Hewitt

Not sure who wrote this. Sorry for the profanity.

If only I could pay off my bills, then I would be happy.  If only I could lose this excess weight, then I would be happy. If only I was prettier or smarter or more of something else, then I would be happy. These are lies I have been telling myself my entire adult life. Basically I was saying that I was unhappy because of one or more things in my life were missing and once I found those things than I would finally be happy.

I have been on this self-awareness journey for a very long time and I just figured this out.  Last night it hit me. I was laying awake trying to sleep and my mind just kept going in circles. I was thinking about what it would be like if I could lose about 30 pounds, cut my hair short (and miraculously have it be thicker too), start wearing some cool glasses and have a new sense of how to dress.  I thought as I fell asleep that those things would make me happy.  

Then I woke up as me; still chunky, gray haired with the same two outfits I had yesterday.  My mind wishes I was prettier and smarter, but my reality is simply what I am. That’s not to say I can’t try to improve myself, but the groundwork is laid and a beauty I’ll never be.  That’s ok.  Once I can finally accept my weight, my looks and my IQ, that’s when I think I will finally be happy. 

I gave up reading magazines and watching lots of tv years ago.  I found the constant bombardment of beauty products, clothing ads and other such nonsense made me feel less of a person.  So I did my own little boycott of those things thinking I would come to finally accept myself.  I thought I had but it turns out that I was wrong yet again. Those images still plagued me without even knowing it.

We, as humans, have been given the amazing ability to change ourselves for the better.  But short of plastic surgery and a wig, my looks are my looks. I can always learn new things, but I’m never going to be a Mensa.  And my fashion sense has always been and always will be a lost cause. Guess what?  That’s ok because those things along with my experiences have made me who I am today.

So no more wishing I was gorgeous or brilliant or even talented.  I will continue to try to improve myself but no more “if only” in my life. That seems like such an obvious lesson, yet it’s not one I easily learned.  So world here I am with all my flaws.  Now I get what Popeye was saying. I am what I am!

What The Heck Was I Thinking…….by Lois Hewitt

So the day before yesterday, I had to learn to drive a stick shift.  At 55, I’m just now learning to do that.  Am I crazy?  I live in the mountains this is not where you want to learn this particular skill.  I’m also working a job really catered for younger or, at least, more fit people than myself.  I just bought a guitar and am trying to learn to play it.  

What the heck am I thinking?  When I was younger, I assumed that when I was 55 years old I would be planning to retire, sitting on the porch knitting, and generally starting to slow down. Well, that is not the case in the least.  Almost everything in my life is new: new state, new job, new surroundings, and an entirely new way of living.  There is no time, or money, to retire.  No time to knit and definitely no time to slow down.  What wrong turn did I make in life to get here?

I was thinking about it hard the last few days. I was feeling like I really messed my life up. I have spoken about this before. Starting a completely new life with almost no belongings in a completely new place was starting to seem less courageous and more plain stupid.  Am I too old to keep learning new things?  Some days I barely have enough energy to walk from the couch to the shower. 

Then I realized that I’m the kind of person, if not pushed or slightly prodded, that I would sit down and not get up.  For many years I dreamed of these changes but was paralyzed with fear of change.  It took something drastic to make me move. Now here I am, moving onward and upward. So instead of feeling like I took a wrong turn, I’m going to start thinking of it as finally making the right turn.  Although I have days I want desperately to just sit down, I’m not really ready to just sit down. I need to continue to push myself and learn things. It’s good for the body, the mind and the soul.

So even when I’m tired and don’t think I can go on, I will know in my heart there is joy in the pushing of oneself.  It means you are alive. And it means there is purpose in life. Who knows what other life skills I am about to learn, but for now I’m open to the possibilities and age has no bearing….well, ok, I’m not going to sign up for gymnastics or anything like that. Stuff within reason and somewhat age appropriate.  

I am learning there is a special kind of joy when you learn something you never thought you could do.  Today I got the all the way into fourth gear. I was ecstatic.  And I got home in one piece, even better!  I look forward to learning new lessons. 

Now if I could only figure out chords on the guitar…..