Recent events have increased my awareness in a significant way to mortality and the very fragile nature of us all. This is not to say that I have not been aware before now. Just that I continue to become more aware of this as time passes. I’m sure that is true of most people.
I am one of those that is on the tail end of the baby boomer generation. At age 54, I’m thankful most of the time for those that are my forerunners. Those that are a part of that generation. Why? Because I have benefited on many occasions as a result of their endeavors. Those that came before… they are the ones that have experienced and subjected themselves to so many things that we now have cures for, or at the very least have a better grip on how it happens or what might be the cause. They have been the ones that were the creators of so many advances that I have the pleasure of utilizing. They were the ones that had to go through many of the “hard knocks” of life that have given me a “heads up” on what happens if you do that specific thing.
2009 was not a good year for me. I suffered a number of losses toward the end of the year that effected me on a level that I hope very few ever have to go through. I had family members that lost their jobs. I had a level of insecurity in my own job that I hope will not and do not expect to happen again. October saw the end of a relationship that had been going on for over two years. One where the friendship had begun over eight years ago. It was difficult on me. Not at a good time either (right before the holidays). My father was diagnosed with cancer in the liver. We found out later (a couple of weeks later) that it was a very aggressive cancer. When this news came, we were told he only had about three weeks to live. They were right. My father passed on December 27th. Needless to say… I didn’t have any Christmas in 2009. Didn’t want it. Didn’t care about it. Didn’t care about anything but being there with my family as much as I could for as much time as was available to spend those last few days with him. For that time, and the time that I was able to spend with family through that difficult period, I am grateful though I’m sure you’ll understand if my gratefulness was not filled with joy.
January 1st. I’m on my way back to my humble abode. I’m in my car just outside of Tampa FL where my mom lives. Thankful that my mom has my sister close by. Just coming out of the rain that had been forecast and they were correct. The sky has been bleak. The clouds very big and dark. The rain had been huge drops. The kind that make a heavy sound on the windshield as if you are being pummeled by millions of Lima beans. The traffic had been going slow because the visibility level was about 60 to 80 feet. Still, it was beginning to clear.
The clouds seem to almost push themselves back and the sun began to shine through. I understand about the serotonin levels going up in a person’s brain due to sunlight and that may have been some of the cause but my personal level of excitement began to rise. I knew it was the 1st. It was early still. Morning. I began to think of the future that had now become evident to me. This was a new year. 2010. And I was happy to see it come through the clouds. At least to me that is how it arrived. The dawn of a new day. The tranquility of a new beginning. Bright and glorious. So very different from the hell I had just gone through in those months leading up to the end of 2009.
Don’t go away just yet. I know you are wondering where I am going with all of this. Trust me. We are not there yet.
There are those that are not as fortunate as I am. I had both my parents up until that day in December just mentioned prior. I am still fortunate that in that I still have my mom around. In fact… it was as a result of my being single and this time in her life that we have formed a bond that we had never had prior. I have always had a good relationship with my parents, but my being able to be there to help her with dad and through some of the very difficult decisions that had to be made during this ordeal as well as just being able to be someone in the house after his death and her not having to be alone, solidified our relationship to each other in a way we had not previously known. I call every day now just to check and see how she is doing and she is doing as well as could be expected after having spent almost 60 years with her husband. I know and understand and can empathize with “lonely.” Not to her level, but I know the feeling. It is all too familiar to me.
I have a nephew that found his wife on one of the dating sites on-line. My mom, knowing my losses back in October of 2009, encouraged me not to flounder but get right back in the game and start dating. She is the one the recommended that I try this method of meeting women to begin a new relationship. This did begin soon. I started in November of 2009. I was not ready. I know that. But start I did.
I met a LOT of women on-line though I didn’t go out with all that many. It was electronic contact. Very safe and a good way of getting the ball rolling. Out of over 300 contact, I chose very few to date. A total of only six. Three of those dates were one time only. Not because they were ugly or not what they purported themselves to be. They were what they said they were. It was just that there was no “Click” to it. I am thankful to have met these ladies even so. And the ones that communicated with me via email, some are getting this blog and do keep in distant contact from time to time.
Two of them were important to me prior to the one I am dating now. One of them was the first one of all of them that I dated. She will remain a friend of mine in my eyes for as long as she wants that to be true. Friends only but friends still. The part she played in my life at the crucial time of my dad’s illness and his passing, and the kindness she showed during that time will never be forgotten. She is now involved with someone else and I wish her all the happiness that is available for her.
The second became more important to me and we dated for a little over three months. She gave me an understanding of people I had not yet had. She gave to me knowledge of and taught me how to be a better cook as well. I had some skill, but she gave me more. One thing in particular stands out. Something that had been said by another and something that I’ve heard before. Something that I knew but just stands out more clearly now. There are no accidents. People come into each others lives for a purpose. There is reason behind it. There is something that we can gain from every person we meet and everyone we interact with. It was no accident that we met. It is no accident that we spent time together. I can only hope that I have been a blessing in her life as much as she was to me. Yet, that relationship was not meant to be. In retrospect, I’m not sure either of us were ready. I still had trust issues (as well as other issues) and, well, she had her issues as well. Whereas I would like to be able to be friends with her, I know it would cause problems for me that I am not prepared to handle. This is not her fault. I do not blame her for our not being together. It was a decision I had to make and one that I truly feel will ultimately be the best for both of us. I honestly hope she can understand that.
Yes… I did say there were three that I dated more than once. The third is the one I am now dating on a regular basis. She first contacted me back in January. I was already involved with the second one and made it clear that I was not interested in starting anything else at that time. We stayed in communication due to my blog. She was interested and liked my writings. When the second attempt at a relationship failed, I asked her if she would like to go out to dance (something that I have begun to enjoy quite a lot in the last six or so months). That first date lasted till five the next morning. No… not what you think. We did a great deal of dancing, stopped when the bar closed at 2 AM and then just kept talking about everything under the sun till 5AM that morning. We have been dating ever since and it is something that I am extremely happy with having happened. But this is not where this blog ends. In fact, so far as the relationship is concerned, that date was only the beginning and it looks very promising to me. I’d say yes. We are involved. She says that I’m an answer to her prayers. I say the Universe has brought to me what I have been looking for and asking for a long time.
So you are wondering where all this goes with regard to mortality? In this short period of time lives have changed. In less than one year lives have been changed forever. Not just mine. Lives! One of those ladies that I communicated with and/or dated (no specifics to protect her) had a scare of possible cancer in her uterus. Other people I know have had similar scares. It was not too long ago that the Relay for Life was held. Another reminder of mortality. A couple of occasions during this past year, I’ve had close calls on my motorcycle where one student pulled out in front of me and I missed him by only inches. And there were two other occasions where I’ve had a couple of close calls on the bike. I’ve watched as several very well-known people from my generation have succumb to their mortality in one way or another. People my age and younger. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, terrorists bombings, the war in Iraq, and the list goes on.
I’ve recently gone for some of those ugly tests that we all have to endure just because of age. Not too many weeks ago, I cracked a rib just by being a bit too aggressive on the tennis court (fell on the handle of the racket while diving to get the shot). I thought about the guy that died on his motorcycle in downtown Atlanta just a week or two ago. About the car that flipped over and stopped traffic on 575. About the crash near Atl Airport yesterday. All this stuff goes on every day. All day. And night. People get hurt, get sick, get shot, blown up, burned, drown, knocked on the head, break a neck, and etc… Some survive. Many do not. Our lives are fragile while here on this earth. The time we have is short.
It wasn’t too long ago that one of those ladies I was dating asked why I was in such a big hurry to settle in with just one. And now I think I know the answer to that question.
You see, I’ve known for a while now that I only have a short time on this earth. I’ve known too that I now have even LESS time than I did. Each day that goes by I have less. Less time that I can spend with someone who wants to spend time with me. Less time to give to those I care about. Less time to develop lasting relationships with people around me. People that mean something to me or to those that I care about. Just plain less time. There isn’t much of it. In biblical terms, life is a vapor.
So, you see, I want all the time I have left. I want all the time I can get. I want it all but there isn’t much. So, the urgency exists. Even if you don’t believe it does. Even if you choose to ignore the facts. In fact, it doesn’t matter what your age is. You don’t have to be my age to find that the urgency exists. You just have to be aware of how little mortal time you really have and use it to its fullest.
I laugh, I live, I love. There is nothing better.
Take a moment. Appreciate what you have and those around you. Live life more abundantly. Every moment counts.