Old age changes people. I know because it has changed me.
All my life, I have lived by the rules. I liked living with habits, routine and structure. Living with structure meant life ran more smoothly without too many surprises.
I had a routine for every aspect of my life. I could multi-task with the best of ‘em.
From running my household, to maintaining a busy career, to volunteering at school, at church, and in the community; I had everything under control. It was a good life.
One of my favorite things to do at home and at work was clean and organize. At home, I loved cleaning out closets, the basement, and the garage. At work, I actually liked to clean out files and reorganize shelving units. I always told myself it was so I could put my finger on whatever I needed, when I needed it. But now, I realize it also included the mundane of the cleaning, the reorganizing.
Health issues often bring big changes to one’s life. They have in mine. Learning to accept I won’t bounce back to doing things my way has been challenging. My need of structure is still there. It just looks a little different.
I no longer function like the “energizer bunny.” I still plan when I am going to do a task, but it often gets postponed because of lack of interest (or knowing my body is not going to cooperate).
Taking Christmas decorations down and getting the house back to normal used to be an afternoon project. Cleaning out a closet was a few hours. Those kind of projects now take a bit longer; sometimes a couple of days or even a week. I have learned I can only physically do one small project each day.
Living with less has brought a new freedom to my life. Living with less has allowed me to prioritize my life, not my stuff. In my little apartment, there is a place for everything and most of the time things are in their place. Who knows when something is out-of-place? Nobody. Just me and I am learning to accept it really doesn’t matter much to anyone else.
My life is in a new SEASON. I think I like it!
Remember the old Byrds song from the sixties, Turn, Turn, Turn, (To Everything There is a Season)? I always loved hearing that song; the lyrics were taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, in the King James Version of The Bible.
In 1995, I was in charge of A Day in Eden, an annual festival which celebrated Greater Cincinnati’s neighborhoods and Eden Park cultural attractions. It was by far the largest event I ever planned with over 150,000 people in attendance for the weekend.
The Byrds were a part of the entertainment for the event. The group wasn’t as popular as they once had been. They were sort of hanging on to their fame from the 1960s. The members of the group were really nice and surprised me by telling me their biggest hit was really a cover of an old Pete Seeger song recorded in the early fifties.
The lyrics read:
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to reap, and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Ending on a Positive Note: I am so grateful for the seasons in my life. The people I have met who brightened my days. For learning to live with less because it truly is more.