In the past few months, I’ve come to realize that some phases of my life are past. For good.
Up until then, it always seemed like every option was open, like back when I was 10, or 18, or 21, or even 25. One day I’d travel the world. One day I’d be President. One day I’d be an astronaut. You know, all those things we dream we’ll be or do.
Besides the rather obvious one, as a woman matures past child-bearing age (which I thought I’d taken care of surgically much sooner, but I still got three more kids anyway. Funny how that works.), more have become apparent.
For eight or ten years, I volunteered for the local hot air balloon festival, crewing with out of town pilots to help get those wonderful, living, breathing baubles into the sky for a weekend every year.
We had some real adventures. I learned I don’t know how to back up a car with a trailer on the back. (You turn the wheel which way? And it goes where?) I lost a pilot once because his kids left the walkietalkies on all night and killed the batteries. Most of my family got to ride in a balloon, one time or another. I didn’t, though I wanted to.
The last couple of years, I’ve seen the call for volunteers and realized it’s something I can’t do any more. These kids can’t help, the way my other children could. We can’t do it as a family. That takes the fun out of it, really. So balloons, at least from the participation end, have become part of my history.
I used to have a true jungle of plants in my house, every room filled with green leafy things. I just don’t have time in my schedule to maintain those like I did when I was a single mom of one normal child. Outside gardening I’m forcing time for because our mini-farm feeds us as well as others over the summer days, but other plants? Not on my list any more.
Always dreamed I’d go around the world, even before I applied for Fulbright back in college. I’ve even filled out a passport application, but I don’t see any sense in turning it in. Travel costs money, and with the current economy, my clients can’t afford to pay me. What we get barely keeps us running, with just a few extras. So world travel needs to wait until my next incarnation.
I reminisce often about our Tea on the Veranda days, back at the Mango Corral, where Sunday mornings were spent out on the deck by the pool in the middle of a ten-acre grove of tropical fruit trees, listening to Jazz in the AM on the radio (apparently another bygone –now it’s Top 40) and reading the Herald. Once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m glad I had it. But I still miss it.
I used to be a fairly mobile person, too. We moved from Ohio to Montana, to Florida, different houses, different towns, but we’ve been in this house for 16 years. Because of the children’s mental health issues and the excellent local services they can get, we’ll probably be here another eight years. Same vistas, same opportunities. Not that it’s bad. It’s just another option that’s lost.
The fibro, of course, limits other activities, depending on the day and the weather. Mountain climbing? Not in the immediate future, thanks. Line dancing? Always fun, but not likely when we can’t find someone to watch the children.
The question, of course, is do I have to let these things go? I suppose I could force participation. Spend our limited resources for vacations we can’t afford. Leave the fam at home and help with the balloons. Or does there come a time when we can gracefully let go of experiences that we enjoyed dearly, and go on to new ones?
What do you think?