September 20, 2015

"Over The Hill"

Life happens to us in steps (or from a writer's perspective, life happens to us in chapters!). Chapter 1 would be entitled In Vitro.  Your senses are tuning in. You get used to heart beats and abdominal gurgles. You start to recognize voices, music, certain movements, momma's emotional state. You experience the wonderful feeling of underwater somersaults and sucking your thumb.

Chapter 2 is all about Discovery (Part A). Hugs feel good, poopie diapers don't. Riding a bike is great once you get past the skinned knees. First crush, first car, first other-things. We graduate from high school, college, maybe even graduate school.

Got those diplomas in hand. Now what?

Time for Chapter 3. Getting Our Stuff! Get a spouse. Get a kid (or two or three). Get a house (hopefully a really nice one because for awhile you will be defined by others, and sometimes by self, by your house, your car, your clothes, your job or the size of your boobs). Sell the old junker and get a new cool car. Get a promotion. Get kudos for:
1. How well behaved your child/children is/are.
2. How smart your child/children is/are.
3. How cute your child/children is/are.
4. How cool your house is.
5. How peachy-keen your neighborhood is.
6. How cool you are in spite of the fact that you just sold your little deuce coupe for a mini-van.
7. How real those boobs look....who's your doctor?

Chapter 4: Empty Nest - This stage has some pretty specific fluctuations. I had 3 kids and found that each kid will leave the nest and return 3 times. Each time they return to the outside world they will leave with you (just for now) a dog or cat that they 'can't have in the new apartment', 'can't take on the plane' or the boyfriend is allergic to it. Boxes of discarded 'stuff' will be left at your home because the kids still 'want' the stuff, they just don't want to carry it around with them. (Don't toss this out because just before their 20th class reunion they will ask you where the boxes are so they can look up old yearbooks).

"Bye Bye. Good luck!"
"Well, of course you can come back. We always have room for you."
"Bye Bye. Good luck!"
"Yeah, your old room is still here. We'd love to have you.Spot misses you!"
"Bye Bye. Good luck!"
"Sure. Come on home. Dad will just move his fly-tying equipment to the basement!"
"Bye Bye. Good luck! Wave bye-bye, Fluffy!"

Chapter 5  Discovery (Part B)

This chapter of life is a little like a rocket launching from Cape Kennedy. The rocket blasts off, heading for the stars. To get to the stars it must shed all the 'stuff' it needed to get off the ground.

First, the rocket boosters that assist it off the ground.  Your rocket booster, your big giant home and yard that takes way too much time to care for. Jettisoned! 

Next, the boosters are dropped. Those boosters are all those extra beds, a dozen or so electric appliances you haven's used since the New Years party in 1999 and the clothes you thought you could wear if you lose that extra  4 or 5 pounds (did I miss a couple of zeroes in that sentence?)

Chapter 5 is about shedding; peeling and tossing away the physical accoutrements that you no longer find necessary to show others how to define you. You have stepped through the veil. You have come into yourself. You don't care how the 'others' define you. You get to be you!

You realize you don't have to follow old policies and procedures. You have suddenly become an explorer. Now that there are no soccer games to attend, Kung Fu lessons to drive someone to, no boss to bow to...You Are Free!

You down-size again. You find yourself putting things on the curb with a 'free' sign scribbled in crayon taped to it. Low and behold, the free-stuff fairies take it to the land of Old Free Stuff in the middle of the night.

The prized possessions you have dusted and polished for years have magically turned into non-prized and excessively dusty toss those items too.


You are now on the path to wander and wonder, to ponder and to process. Thinking becomes your newest hobby. Not the 'oh shit, what do I do now" thinking that comes with jobs, kids, insurance premium hikes and blown radiators. It is a deep, lay-in-the-shade-of-a-tree-along-the-path introspection.

As well as ruminating, this chapter of our lives offers the opportunities to learn; to study those subjects we've always desired but didn't have the time to release the passions. Learn to speak Russian, take ballroom dancing lessons, kayak down the river and camp on the shore for a week or a month. Master the art of Fencing or Watercolors. Maybe just walk along the path and see what is around the curve in the road.

There is something magical around that curve, over that hill. I can't tell you what it is. The path is there. Grab a walking stick, a backpack with a couple of bologna and potato chip sandwiches on white bread and step on to that road. Discover what chapter 5 has to offer.

Photo by Toni Tona


  1. I would say that each step is a lifetime by itself for in it there are lessons which could be useful in the next step. The post made me sad but in a ruminating way . . . For a minute or so, I just wandered through the by lanes of the past and meandered a bit too much. The photo captures the thoughts of the post so well.

    Thanks for stopping by The Meanderings dear Toni. Your comment was a spark in the dark.

    Joy always,

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. In our attempts to down size, the word "jettison" just pops up!

  3. Susan, Your comment is meaningful to me. Each chapter is, in it's own way, a lifetime in itself. Our core values are constant but our priorities change, our focus is different in each stage. It does make me sad that some of those stages have passed. Tucking my kids into bed or hugging them while they sit on my lap is history, and I miss it.

  4. Michael, Thank you! Expecting the next chapter of your book any day now!!!!

  5. I read somewhere that the first half of life is all about becoming (learning, achieving, etc.) and accumulating (people, accomplishments, property, etc.). The second half of life is all about letting go. I think that's true.

    1. Debra, I agree with you. Both halves have their triumphs and challenges. Second half challenge is to stay engaged while letting go.


Comment Please but Play Nice!