|Carol, me, Lily, Kitty, Lynn|
One of the things that happens as one gets older, people move away through either illness or life circumstances, and it isn't as easy to get over as it once was. My friends are people I count on to be there when things get tough, and losing any of them is wrenching, for whatever reason. Carol works as a caregiver to older people, and several of them have passed away recently, making it even easier for her to decide to move. Okay, that's all I'm going to say about it, since I can feel myself getting even sadder. It's that time of year when, if I let myself, I could sink into depression.
Most of the time I am upbeat and enjoy life to the fullest. My regular exercise routine helps immensely with that, and yesterday we walked five miles in the rain, fifteen women all chatting and laughing as we walked. It amazes me that so many of us will show up even when the weather isn't ideal; it illustrates to me that others also feel that getting out and moving is essential to one's mental and physical health.
Our writers' retreat on Vashon Island is now behind us for another year, but I learned so much about my own abilities this time. Last week at this same time on Sunday I was propped up with pillows in the big suite at the farmhouse, with the adventure of kayaking scheduled for the day. I will admit that I was more than a little anxious, but it turned out to be so much fun. Once I got into the kayak and our guide pushed it away from the safety of the beach, I could feel myself tense up and the unfamiliar sensation of being unmoored momentarily threw me into anxiety. "Just roll with it!" I could hear Erin, our guide, admonishing me.
Roll with it? As I pushed out with my legs, which anchor on blocks connected to rudders that help to steer the kayak, I felt suddenly vulnerable. But I tried it, feeling my lower body slowly become part of the kayak and managed to get myself used to the push and pull of the paddle, and... yes, I could feel what she was saying! I wasn't going to fall over into the water, and I was able to control myself in this pretty little yellow water craft. Hey! This is fun!
I allowed myself to paddle away from the shore and into the harbor, joining the others as I began to sense my way into feeling, if not comfort, at least like I was going to be okay. We paddled together around the harbor for a couple of hours and then returned to the shore. It's not fair to say I will be running right out to buy kayaking gear, but I will definitely try it again. I'm no longer afraid of it, and I think it would be fun to join a group of others who want to learn the ins and outs of the sport. Who knows? I've certainly seen plenty of people around in the waters around Bellingham who seem to enjoy it immensely.
During our writers' retreat, I decided over the next few months to give myself the task of attempting to write a short story, creating characters from my imagination and bringing it to Vashon Island next October. Our facilitator, Deb, got us all to write an action plan to accomplish our goals. They are all different, and I decided to take on something small enough that I feel confident I can complete it. Others were more ambitious, but until last week, I didn't even know I could write fiction. I discovered it during our writing activity and even "met" a couple of characters whom I look forward to developing.
I am going to the movies with my friend Judy this morning, to see a Swedish movie that was made from the book, A Man Called Ove, which I enjoyed immensely. I think I've talked about it before: when I began the book, I was at first not drawn to the central character, a curmudgeon of a man who didn't appeal to me at all. But I persevered, and by the time I was halfway through the book, I felt completely differently about him. Since the book was translated from Swedish, I was pleased to find that the movie is also made in Sweden, with subtitles. This tells me that it will likely stay true to the central character. I'm looking forward to it and hope that it will help me to leave my blues behind.
It's still raining and blowing outside, which it has been doing for days now. When we walked yesterday, we had to sidestep downed branches from Friday's storm, but the intensity of yesterday's storm never materialized. It was breezy, but that was about it. We were expecting a windstorm of epic proportions, so it was pleasant to see that it was just a normal one. We didn't lose power, thank goodness, but we were ready, just in case.
It's also very cathartic to sit here with my laptop and peck away at the keys, letting my angst flow away. The state of the world continues to weigh on me, and I will be so very happy when this election season here in the US is over. As hard as I try to avoid it, I cannot help but be affected by its tenor. Soon it will all be over, and until then, I will think about other more pleasant things as much as possible.
One pleasant thing is being here in my favorite little spot, with hubby gently snoring next to me, darkness outside, the sound of the wind every now and then, and thinking about my friends who sustain me. My tea is gone, the post almost finished, and my mood has lifted. I look forward to having a wonderful Sunday, and I've got a full schedule tomorrow with my volunteer work. Life is good, and I need to keep that uppermost in my thoughts.
I hope that whatever comes to you this week, that you will also not forget that you've got at least one electronic friend who wishes you the very best. That would be me. Until we meet again next week, be well.