For the last several months, I have had an ongoing debate about this blog…
Should I keep writing or give it up?
I blog for purely selfish reasons — writing helps me figure out what I’m thinking and feeling.
No product to promote, no message to shout or cause to advance.
I just like to write.
The most common comment I receive about my blog posts is, “You always write what I’m thinking!” Knowing my posts resonate with others motivates me to keep writing.
Lately, however, I’ve wondered because I seem to be thinking about different kinds of things — things that indicate a new stage of life, so I’m not sure whether they still resonate.
Here is a partial list:
- Funerals. I’ve attended a lot of them lately, mostly parents of friends. That says something, doesn’t it?
- Making new friends, keeping up with old ones.
- Missing my mom every single day.
- Parenting adult children — How do you do that? What is my role now? How do you know when to stand back and when to jump in?
- Planning a high school class reunion when for the first time, my brother’s name is on the “deceased” list of classmates.
- What it’s like to retire or semi-retire or whatever we call what we’re doing.
- How strange it feels not to have a template for what’s next in life.
- Living in the belly of the beast in terms of religion.
- Selling our home on the Outer Banks, our last toehold on the east coast.
- Going on a church mission — when is the right time to do that? And, how do people just up and leave their homes and lives for two years?
And, that’s probably not everything.
Are these relatable topics?
Maybe the crux of this dilemma is not in the specifics of what I’m wondering about, but the overarching theme that I’m in a new phase of life, and I don’t have anything figured out.
Ironically, at this stage of my life, I have less figured out than ever before.
As I write this, I think of Norman Thayer in the movie, “On Golden Pond.” (I realize that’s an early 1980s reference that may be lost on some.)
When the movie came out, I laughed at Norman, who at 80-years-old, perused the want-ads, hoping to find a “career opportunity.” (I do that!)
I understand now that he didn’t really want a job, he just wanted to feel relevant and have a well-defined daily routine and path because he was in a new stage of life, one that frightened him in some ways.
I’m not 80 and I’m not lost like poor Norman, but I get the larger point of him trying to figure out his life when everything seemed to be new and different.
Now, the point of this blog is not to have my friends tell me I’m relevant, well-qualified for a job or to solicit comments about my capabilities. It’s just to point out that new phases of life bring new questions and challenges.
Does anybody else want an accurate GPS for life that says turn right, go three miles, turn left, make a U-turn or even “rerouting?”
If only Siri or Alexa could help us with that!
In all stages of life, there are unanswered questions and we have no choice but to walk by faith, believing that the answer is just around the corner or that the path is about to appear — if not the entire road, at least the next step.
When you’re traveling in the ruts, you want the freedom to move out of them.
When the ruts are gone — like Norman Thayer’s — you might not want the old ones back, but you want new ones to reappear because having your feet on a path toward your envisioned destination brings peace, security, hope, and excitement.
In the end, maybe all the things I think about are the same things everybody else thinks about (with some variations on the theme)– change, what’s next? Where are the ruts in the road? Where is this unseen road taking me?
Maybe, no matter what stage of life we’re in, we never really have it figured out.
I guess it comes down to that elusive concept of faith.
We have to believe we’re on a good path, leading to a beautiful place — even when, from where we stand, we can’t see the path, where it’s going or where we’ll end up.
So, maybe you don’t miss your mom every day and you don’t wonder about how to be a good parent to adult children or how to retire well or any of my other concerns. But, I’m sure you have some questions you’re asking about your future and your path.
Am I right?
And, maybe I just keep blogging because even if nobody else learns something, I do.