I’m lingering way too long. On my sofa, with my brother’s dog curled up next to me. We seem to always have someone else’s dog on hand. I’m currently dog-sitting while Raymond and Jesse have a much-needed getaway. Lots of times we have my daughter’s dog, and whenever I start talking about getting our own dog my hubby doesn’t see the point. We’ll just borrow someone else’s. My cat sees no reason for any of them.
Lingering….something I find myself doing whenever a few extra minutes finds me. We are just back from a very big vacation that was amazing though not particularly restful (I’m NOT complaining, I promise!) Once home, life kicked right back into high gear, which always brings on that vacation letdown. My brain had to jump straight from castles to parent care, from touring itineraries to grandboy-sitting schedules, from high tea to low energy. Of course, Billy went right back to work, and I had my own trauma this week of some oral surgery that I tried to not think about while on vacation. All in all, I was happy to see the end of the week roll around. And now I’m lingering.
In recent years I’ve discovered that if I don’t take a pause now and then I will end up a tense, worn-down mess, prone to tears and snappiness. I guess it’s age. Ugh, how I hate to say that, but my stamina for daily life just isn’t what it used to be. In my younger days I could burn the candle at both ends, for months at a time, and not just survive, but thrive! In fact, I marvel at what I used to be capable of. Running a household while delivering children to school and dance and sports and church activities. Serving on umpteen committees, chairing a few, and marking things off my always present to-do list. I worked in my yard, sewed Halloween costumes, and actually had hobbies I kept up with. All while maintaining a fairly attractive physical presence (or so I like to believe) to woo my hubby with. Who was that woman?! WHERE is that woman?
Well, she’s that woman trying to make sure her parents are healthy and happy by taking them for doctor appointments and visiting as often as possible. She’s keeping up with grandkids by babysitting or spending time with them weekly. And she’s caring for other family members in whatever ways she can manage. She is the keeper of the family calendar and the organizer (and hostess) of all family get-togethers. She’s slowly becoming the MATRIARCH, yikes, really?!
She is down to one committee and a book club membership. She takes on occasional projects at church, but can’t be counted on for day to day organizing of anything else. Hobbies? Ha! She actually has a hobby room in her lovely house that still isn’t totally unpacked from the move nine months ago. She has big dreams for the little woods out back that will be a looooong work in progress. She who has always been a decorator…well, her enthusiasm just isn’t what it used to be.
And physically, growing old ain’t for sissies, as they say. While she might still be able to maintain an outwardly perky facade, underneath she’s got cranky feet and hips, she’s started having some back trouble, and her hearing grows worse everyday (as she’s regularly reminded by he who whispers). Her self-improvement projects, like braces at 60, have just led her down a path of seeing four different oral-care practitioners in one week (who knew there were so many specialists), culminating in some icky gum tissue grafts. Beauty treatments involve regular hair color to remain the blond she’s always been, but she’s also well-aware that she’s fighting a losing battle. She’s already tired of the longer tresses she wore for years and is trying to rock a shorter style. She gave up on contacts a long time ago, is past just using readers, and has now moved to glasses pretty much full-time. Sigh. That is who this woman is. Most of the time she has no idea where she is!
So ok, I know you think I really am complaining now, but I’m not. I’m lingering and pondering so that I can refresh this older, different me. Lingering allows me some self-reflection time to realize that I love this version of myself, even if it’s a faded, slightly gimpy variety of that young chick who seemed to know no bounds. I’m much more comfortable with this model, kinda like switching from jeans to yoga pants. I don’t fret what people think about me near as much as that younger me did. I’m way more self-confident and prone to speak my mind. Yes, I may have lost a little of my luster, but I’m not really out to impress people anymore (except my hubby and he is so easy, thankfully!) Not that I want to stop making friends, but the ones I have love me the way I am, which is soooo comforting. My family needs me now maybe even more than they did in those younger days, and who doesn’t like to be needed.
My lingering allows me to consider the bigger plan of my life, the one I’m not really in control of, try as I might. And what a relief to know that I can let go of that. Let go and let God. I’ve found that applies at this stage of life, now more than ever. I can let go and linger with a borrowed dog, content in the knowledge that I’m the me I’m supposed to be. Even if I need help to get off the sofa.