It’s been a long while since I have checked in because events of 2020 have been taking a toll on my sense of well-being. I lost my dad on 2/26, my mom on 4/1. They were 91 years old, married 71 years. Part of me went with them, leaving me feeling sad, alone, disoriented and lost.
Perhaps if I had my own family now, as in a life partner and/or kids, I’d feel less orphaned and alone in the world. But I’m not sure it would make a significant difference. I did, however, rescue a dog and while she can’t give me what a human can, she is a wonderful companion and a delight. We bonded very quickly and I feel rescued by her love, attention, affection and playfulness. Feeling responsible for another life fills a void for me.
I don’t want to depress anyone but I do want to share what is happening for me. Where I belong in this life has always been a question for me. Even though I’ve had wonderful parents, close friends, significant others, excellent and meaningful work and interests to anchor me, I’ve still wondered where I really belong. I imagine this is a universal question. I long for an answer. Maybe you do, too.
Here is a snapshot of my current state of being: As I approach the age of 70 I am keenly aware of time constraints. COVID -19 has certainly added to my sense of urgency to figure out what I really want for this last chapter or two. I see life as a puzzle with constantly moving parts. As soon as I put pieces together, thinking they fit rather nicely, along comes an impactful change to make me rethink my choices. Living in limbo is very uncomfortable but I’ve come to the conclusion that we all live in limbo. Feeling secure is an illusion. Some of us are aware of it, some not so much. What’s that expression? “The only thing we can count on is change”.
The grief I am experiencing from loss of my parents, the virus totally disrupting all our lives, and the hot, humid weather in N.J. has forced me to go in. And I mean inside myself as well as inside my house. No longer able or willing to travel by plane has forced me to cancel trips I was so looking forward to. No Israel. No Guatemala. No California. No Nada. I don’t even want to think about this coming winter being stuck inside. I’m in a daze. Can’t plan ahead. Can’t create the kind of big adventures that feed my soul and stimulate my imagination and brain.
I am trying hard to focus on what I can do: write, teach ESL, exercise, cook, read, connect with friends on Zoom, play with my sweet pup. But I’m telling you it’s hard. The state of the world and our country in particular clouds my outlook. I don’t want to live in fear. I don’t want to dwell on “what ifs”. I want to use this time to quiet my soul and my overactive mind. I want to trust and have faith that something entirely new and better will come out of these troubled times for us all.
When Biden chose Harris as his running mate I cried tears of joy. I got a much needed boost of energy. I felt hopeful and recharged. I felt possibilities are alive again. I am embracing these positive feelings. I sense something true and right has emerged from the fear and paralysis so many of us have been experiencing.
I need to focus on what’s important and take action, improve myself and my circumstances as much as I can, trust my gut and choose carefully, remember what I do know, let go of fear, breathe, and not give up. I CANNOT GIVE UP.
I’d love to hear from you: the good, the bad or the ugly. I will gladly respond.
Miriam Seiden is a cultural explorer who loves to write about her living bridges around the world.