By Louise Stivers
"Looking back, looking forward, life is good.”
For many of us a New Year is not a time for making resolutions, but rather a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.
When the New Year brings one of those new decade birthdays or advances ever so close to a higher digit, reflecting on the past and anticipating the future often follows. I have often said, “Age is a state of mind, and I don’t mind at all.” Sounds good, but the truth is as I grow older, I do mind. Being on the up side of 70 brings a new and different focus on life.
The losses that come with the passing of time grow with each year. The lost of family members and friends brings pain and sadness. Death, while the most difficult, is not the only way we lose family members and friends. Some move away, others take a different path and relationships fade.
My older brother died suddenly of a massive heart attack. The shock of loosing someone in a matter of minutes was very difficult. By contrast, my husband struggled for some time, suffering from COPD. It is very hard to watch someone you love decline, knowing the outcome would not be good. There was no cure, and his world shrunk to that of the length of a tube attached to an oxygen machine that sustained him for a while. Knowing there was no cure, it seemed each day passed faster than the day before.
I remember the first time someone called me a “widow.” My thought was, “What, who are you talking to, me?” I was a widow, like thousands of other women; I felt very alone. Time helps, the pain subsides, and one day simply walking down the street, I realized that I remembered the good times, happy occasions and that life indeed goes on.
Time passes and concerns about health, financial well-being and independent living grow with every new candle on the birthday cake. My new saying is “Age is an act in this play we call life.”
I have reached the second intermission in my life’s drama. Time to prioritize the next acts in my play. There are more adventures to take, more people to meet, and places to see. Art is my passion and I strive to do something creative everyday. A simple sketch, a hike with my camera, or working on a painting. Travel is a high priority. So many places, so little time. I reward myself with one trip a year. Last year, Costa Rica, this year Iceland.
I don’t have grandchildren, but I am Auntie to a great-niece and great-nephew who live nearby. I love to take them to a new place or on a new adventure, traveling to a new state or hiking a volcano. Without the concerns that parents face, homework, dental appointments and the like, Aunties can be silly and fun, full of adventures. Works for me!
Looking back, looking forward, life is good.
Louise Stivers is a retired educator who resides in Estacada, OR, a small town southeast of Portland. She enjoys travel and spending time with family and friends. Art is a passion and she loves photography, mixed media collages and fiber arts. Acrylic pour painting is a new form of creative expression which she describes as both fun and frustrating.