Okay… if you know me, you know that my whole life is wrapped up in my family.
I left home at the ripe ol’ age of 17 – accelerated high school and went to college three hours away from my parents and got a job (actually two) and got married and a degree. A little out of order but it worked for me. There was no turning back once we said “I do” — gasp! — thirty-one years ago. And I couldn’t be happier. (Well, okay I could be happier with a big house on an island and a bicycle to ride everywhere, but everything brings along its own set of problems doesn’t it? So yeah, I could be happier but then… I couldn’t. You know what I mean.)
And then we had our family, but there are all kinds of families — the family you’re born into, the one you raise, and finally the family you choose to adopt into, identify yourself with. Kinda like taking on a new last name or dyeing your hair a completely different color, or losing weight and going down a whole size and trying on clothes you’d never considered for yourself before….
Yeah, that hasn’t happened for me in a long time either. Anyway…
Wings — my older son whose head is in the clouds — and Fins — my younger, very serious, scuba diver son — are packing up to move to their dorms. Operation Empty Nest happens in two weeks. And OMyGoodness TWO WEEKS FROM FRIDAY I WILL HAVE AN EMPTY NEST ! At least until the holidays. I think.
I have been assured that this will be a good phase for me by my adopted sisters in several of my different adoptive families. What I’ll need for this new phase include wine, chocolate, and options to explore, combined with an exercise plan and a support network to combat the effects of alcohol and chocolate on my menopausal metabolism.
Now, about the wine. I am not a Pinterest Foodie and neither am I a Wine Expert. If it’s in a wine-type container – bottle, communion chalice or cardbordeaux – it’s all fine with me. I plan to try out some recipes for sangria and granita — a summer ago I ripped a watermelon-wine granita recipe out of an old O magazine. And since that magazine was from the dentist’s office I guess I owe them a Sangria-Granita party. Maybe with a piñata filled with chocolate.
My latest exercise fixation is an aqua aerobics class at a public pool. My knees can’t take the pounding from running anymore and I’d like to walk as long as possible in my old age and also if I ever go on another cruise I want to be able to swim like Shelley Winters did in the Poseidon Adventure. Just in case.
I’ve noticed that everybody’s got their own ‘jump-into-the-pool’ style. Those of advanced age with weightier bodies and stiffer joints, too much food or too much pain from illness and injuries tend to take the stairs and tentatively walk from the shallow end to the deeper end. They stay where it’s comfortable, keeping their head and shoulders dry. Those who are more athletic and more confident of their bodies’ abilities step right into the water at the deeper end, unafraid of going under or hitting bottom, sure they’ll bounce right back up like a buoy.
Children jump. Willy-nilly, full-in, with or without arms to jump into. And then they laugh (usually). Trusting that they’ll surface… that the water will be a friend.
Is the difference from knowing how much there is to lose? Do the athletes feel more comfortable in a physical situation because they have more confidence in themselves and their bodies? Do we shy away from immersing ourselves into what’s unknown or uncomfortable because we’re afraid we won’t surface? Are we afraid no one will catch us when we fall?
I am a hopper — I sit on the edge and put in my feet and then hop in somewhere between shallow and deep, immersing only half of myself, keeping my head dry until class begins. And then I get totally wet, but only after testing the bottom, testing my support system, testing myself.
I’m ready to step into the deep end of the pool now.
What’s your next phase? Your jump-in-the-pool style? Do you trust yourself? Or do you trust the water will be a friend, buoying you back up?
Or do you have family, people who will help you surface if you hit bottom?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!