The Space Between - Resilience
Updated: Mar 8
Week 3 of retirement, and it is most clearly not what I planned. My retirement list is now on the back burner. I keep thinking about my father and his advice to me. He was, to a fault, a practical and cynical man, and reminded me on numerous occasions that most people worry about the wrong things most of the time. Once again, he has proven right. I have to laugh at myself at how I keep thinking I have control. It is really just a delusion. But, in true form, I continue to push hard against fate! The first big aha moment came close to 40 years ago with the birth of my first child. I was still in the hippie afterglow of adolescence and thought that this moon child of mine would be, could be born without any anesthesia and afterwards, I would be nursing him in my bed with a look of deep satisfaction. Oh, did the fates have it in for me then! After a 24-hour labor, complete with plenty of drugs, and the trifecta of hemorrhaging, forceps and falling, I lay in my hospital bed trying to focus on nursing ‘my beautiful’ little baby girl. After those forceps and the resultant black and blue baby face, she could only look beautiful in the eyes of her mother. The short blog version is that the nursing didn’t work out so well either – that 7-pound piece of protoplasm had jaws like a shark! She quickly moved to bottles and formula and guess what – she still went to a great college! My belief in positive thinking has now led me to another miscalculation about my ability to work the fates and now, with a loosely manicured plan for retirement, I once again have to face the fact that the bottom line boils down to our resilience – our ability to adjust plans, timing and the perceived importance of our priorities. Looking forward to a week of exercise, writing, lunching with friends, trying new dinner at-home recipes and a trip to our lake house to enjoy the fall foliage, I was greeted with an early morning panic call from my daughter. Now, four years after breast cancer treatment, she had found another breast lump and was terrified. Everything else immediately paled in comparison and was dropped to support her on the inevitable roller coaster ride that followed. All plans were replaced with the ‘how could this happen’ questions, what did all of the tests show and what are the treatment options. Fortunately, we are now in week 3 with a solid, optimistic plan in place. This unexpected experience has forced me to recast my well thought out retirement strategy. And frankly at the moment, I am just thankful that I can be available to help in both big and small ways. So many of us are greeted with health surprises in this period of our lives. Typically, they are our breakdowns, not our kids or grandkids. But, our ability to keep forging forward comes from the strength that we have built over our 60+ years of living and the network of support we have cultivated during that time. My child will be fine and get back on the proverbial horse and for me, I will give my ‘ole man a checkmark in the ‘you win’ column and do what parents do – be there for my child.