Wednesday, March 7, 2012
It isn't easy those were the words that Betty said frequently when I went to visit her. She would never expand on those words. She simply said: "It isn't easy." At first I thought she meant that growing old isn't easy and she is right. But after much reflection on those words, I have come to the conclusion that she had attached those words to almost everything in her life.
I am sure it wasn't easy to be orphaned at a young age with no support team of family or relatives to guide your journey. It wasn't easy for Betty to go into the business world and expose herself to a new environment and way of living. It wasn't easy to sometimes feel out of control, as she was also beholden to others for her safety and security. Life isn't easy for many of us but somehow, when I look at those words and think about them, I can also see that possibly the correct phase might be: Change can be fearful and at times unsettling. For I feel as though Betty is more unsettled about life and her existence than she is able getting old.
She doesn't appear to fear the aging process as much as she is unsettled about what she is to do about it. She is planning a big celebration for her 100thbirthday but then she is also feeling vulnerable about the process because she does not have a support team to rally around her. It is more about them than Betty.
I spoke yesterday about how we humans thrive on interconnectedness and how feeling connect is what helps us sustains happy and healthy lives. As I reflect on those words, I began to understand their power and truth. I was never really connected in life to any one or any particular group. That reality is something I have not often spent time thinking about but as I reflect on those words now, I see how I have shaped my life and it was mostly about my survival and me. I wasn't orphaned like Betty in my youth yet I often thought that I was adopted because I didn't fit into the family dynamics and I was made to believe that I didn't belong. I was alone a lot as a young girl and while it didn't feel good, I didn't know how to change that fact. My best friend and her family moved away when I was in the 7th
grade and I felt abandoned. I wasn't bullied in school; I was simply not part of the"in-group."
I wasn't invited to many parties and felt fat and ugly. My grandmother was my confident but then she died when I was a sophomore in High School. Even through my college years, I felt alone again because I didn't smoke, I didn't play bridge and I didn't really drink. I didn't like staying up late all night playing jokes and I certainly didn't like the extreme silliness of some of my peers. I was always a more serious child and probably still am today. I often told my daughter that I was that way because my life wasn't easy. If it was truly my choice then it was an unconscious one; I simply never appreciated the silliness and type of fun that my peers shared in. I think as I look back, I was afraid to let go and simply enjoy the moment or maybe again those moments had little value for me.
I, too, don't like to think about those years because I don't see the benefit yet if I did, I probably could release some pent up sadness. That is an interesting revelation. So was Betty merely a mirror to me as she expressed words that I needed to hear? Great thoughts to ponder! Can anybody relate to this? Have you any thoughts or comments; I would love to hear what you have to say?