For the last several years I’ve chosen a word to guide me through the year rather than making resolutions. Last year is was all about the YES. In order to get to this year’s word I need to meander a bit.
Earlier this week I decided it was time for me to be more vocal–to address a couple of things that felt dicey in my life. Voice has been important for me and popped up several times here and in my life. Voice as in ‘speaking up about what’s important for me’.
Not voice, as in singing. I’m a lousy singer. Though for a nanosecond I was singing some with a guitar-playing man who had popped into my life.
He was one of those letter receivers. I shared how I felt about the previous night’s events–he has yet to respond. His silence is his response. Story over. I don’t want people in my life who aren’t able to communicate–for whatever reason. I get that it’s hard to talk about certain things (*ahem* sex). And I understand the importance of making our voices heard. When it comes to relationships; familial, work, friendships, and intimate ones, our ability to speak and to be heard is vital.
It doesn’t have to be eloquent. In emotional moments I don’t always articulate well. But it’s the effort, the understanding that communication is important that matters.
When we clam up. When we let our fear get in the way. When we feel too unworthy to share our own feelings. When we want “this” or “that” too much to be honest about what we really need. They all get in our way and keep us from being ourselves.
The girlfriend I reached out to was able to share all the stuff that’s challenging in her life. And I got to offer support and get clarity on why she seemed distant. I understand now.
The third letter was me being direct about something I had only half-shared. I didn’t need to share more, but I felt that I needed to say it, for me. So I did. I imagine it was difficult to receive and I communicated that as well. It wasn’t about him; it was about me taking care of myself.
The fourth letter is still in edit mode.
I’m going to be 62 this year. It’s my turn (and yeah I probably said that last year, and it’s still my time). It is my job and I can’t expect anyone else to do it for me. If we’re not being honest with ourselves or we’ve given ourselves over to external forces, we can’t live as fully as we want. That part requires self-awareness and a willingness to trust that it will all work out.
Last year was full of ups and downs for me. I made some challenging decisions, like selling my house and reducing my living space by almost 50%. After two years we finally got some closure on the death of my ex-husband.
There were good things–I am debt-free. I’m a carefree renter. Through my travels, some for speaking engagements, others for sheer pleasure I met some fascinating people. A retired doctor who plays Naughty Santa each Christmas. Constance and Eric, the photographers who did my new headshots (see top of page). I met one of my editors for coffee at this cute pastry shop in Soho, Once Upon a Tart! Then there’s John, my new friend from England, who has become a dear friend. John and I have just written our first article together, The Big Senior Relationship Debate for Senior Planet.
A male reader from NYC has unexpectedly turned into someone significant in my life. New friendships are unfolding from my conferences attendances. I spoke at the Sexuality and Aging Institute, as part of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Conference, back in August and was subsequently invited to join the Leadership Committee for the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University.
It turns out that 2015 was a good year.
2016 promises to be full of new adventures–as long as I remain open to what comes along. To put oneself out there is a mix of exhilaration and missteps. We can’t have one without the other.
I’m eager to take risks and make a few mistakes, to make myself vulnerable to love and acceptance, rejection and hurt. I am willing to see what unfolds.
On the schedule for 2016:
- A writing retreat with Jen Louden in Taos.
- Trips to New York City, Chicago…and who knows where else.
- Expanding my business.
- Nurturing my relationships.
- Finishing and publishing my book.
- Speaking engagements.
- Time with my sons and my grandchildren–which means a trip to the Northwest is on the list.
This new year is all about DESIRE for me. Following my heart’s desire… sexual desire…a desire to taste good food, see new places, meet new people, and experience new things. A desire to live the way I want to live–however messy or colorful that looks.
I am inviting all of these things into my life.
What will you consciously create in 2016?