I went to meet up with some of my most vibrant, involved women friends last week. They are getting older, easing into their late 80’s, but they are still so heavily involved in their communities, in politics and environmental conservation, teaching, and learning. They inspire me every time I see them.
I was surprised when one of my friends said that she was ready to die. She had just taken us around her town, meeting friends and people she’d helped and would continue to help everywhere we went. She was so integrated into the town, so many people demonstrated how much they loved her. But she added, “What would be the purpose in living on?”
It’s a question I think we all deal with as we grow older, or more infirm, or when we retire. Suddenly the parameters that used to bound our lives are gone and we shake our heads and try to re-define ourselves. Or at least I do, and my friends are also doing so.
As for me, and my wobbly brain cells, I’m still all over the place. I am still overcommitting and not meeting my responsibilities. I do a slapdash job because I am scattered in my head and want to do so many things before I can no longer do them. Write, create art, sew, see friends and family, explore…(I suspect a pathological avoidance of housework is to blame..). I am still trying to figure out WHY I am here, what my purpose is. Every time I think I have it, my world jostles and options are shifted out of reach.
As I plunge into my activities, I think over my past choices, adventures, losses. I know I must take the things that have affected me, and dig deep to find my reason to be here. Otherwise, I seem to be merely supporting capitalism…craft supplies aren’t cheap…
Something has happened recently that is making me rethink priorities. A lifetime friend of mine passed away suddenly. Another friend is struggling with cancer. I have spent so much time ‘being busy’ that somehow I’ve not spent enough time with them. I’ve learned things, I’ve completed things, I’ve written. I’ve been busy and tired enough I’ve neglected exercise. I’ve made myself ill.
But what strikes me most are the lack of moments I’ve spent with those I love.
MS gives me only so much energy per day. I’m feeling it is a good idea to focus on physical activity (for energy and health) and being with the people I treasure. Everything else is replaceable. Nothing else is truly necessary. And it is something only I can do.
Just have to finish my books first…and learn to paint…not because anyone needs another book or another painting, but because I am better for trying to create. And when I am “better”, I can give more to others, my friends, my family. Which is maybe my true purpose after all?