Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tug of war.....

     Her voice was plaintive, worry dripping from her tone like sap oozing from a slow tap. This friend of mine, one I've known for over 15 years, is about 10 years younger than me. We've stayed in touch as she moved from our neighborhood to another across the river, and then on to Idaho and back. I'm the rooted one, remaining in one place now for over 20 years, the military brat finally at home.

     But the other day she was thinking there must be something physically wrong with her. "I just want to come home and enjoy my house after work. I don't want to go out. What's wrong with me?" she wondered aloud as we talked on the phone.

     I remember those feelings. I've already gone through my 50s, the decade that pulls from both sides, so I can fill her in and assure her that she is in a totally recognizable place. On one side, our 40s were a time of excitement, as we finally came into our own. Lots of activity as our kids grew up and left and our income had worked its way up a bit so we actually have some discretionary income. On the other side lie the 60s, a time of sheer relaxation outside of work commitments.  I have become more introspective, pondering where I have been and what remains for me as I am half way through my 62nd year. Life no longer marches; it meanders.

     That tug from the 40s side of the timeline still has her in its grip, but the opposite magnetic pull as she approaches 60 is becoming equally strong, the one that lets it hair down and doesn't feel like it has to impress anyone with constant movement. She wants to come home to her beloved dogs, pour a glass of wine, and sink into her easy chair and be......easy. Quiet. Still. Much like I savor the freedom to do absolutely nothing if I choose. I don't allow anyone else's expectations of what my life should be like to cajole me into anything. Oh, that I had learned it much sooner.

     I assured her this tug of war with the competing years on either side is natural. The relief in her voice was palpable, I could hear it.

     So, I hope she breathed a sigh of relief, and then sipped a glass of wine as she watched the sunset paint in watercolor across the sky. I know I did.

     Change always comes bearing gifts.  ~Price Pritchett

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