I gave up my car recently. Is that cause for joy or sadness? I would say both. It is certainly sad to give up a car that you’ve had for 12 years that has taken you to so many places. Cars are often icons of freedom. They symbolize the ability to get up and go somewhere whenever you want. So it was hard to give up my little blue Honda even though I am 90 and the car was sitting in the parking lot most of the time, un-driven. But there was always the possibility that I could get in my car and go somewhere. Of course this was an illusion but we do hang on to our illusions, don’t we? A high repair bill shocked me into breaking through this illusion and facing the reality that it was time to pass it on to someone else. I decided to give the car to my two teenage granddaughters age 16 and 18. I feel very good about that, knowing the car is going to a good home and they can make good use of it. The girls were blown away with surprise and excitement when they heard the news.
I have written before about letting go in my previous blogs. It is what we do when we are old. It is always difficult at first and yet once it is underway, there is often an inner feeling of freedom and ease. I feel a sense of relief at not having the responsibility and expense of the car. Old age is a time of dependence in a culture which values independence. I have always thought of myself as very independent and have been trying for some time to remain that way. Yet as I feel my body declining I realize that independence is not what it is cracked up to be and dependence is not such a bad thing after all, as long as it doesn’t all fall on one caregiver, in my case my wonderful daughter. It takes more planning ahead to arrange for a driver when you have to go out. I am also starting to think about what I will need help with if I want to stay in my home. These are all things that I dreaded at one time but now I am actually in the midst of considering them. You might say that I am presiding over the decline of my own body.
All of you who are younger and able-bodied may not want to think about a time when you have to depend on others for the routine aspects of living. I know that I certainly didn’t want to go there a few years ago. And yet I am learning that once you accept the reality of your new situation it becomes so much easier. I imagine it is somewhat like shedding an old skin that is no longer necessary. I feel a greater lightness of being since there are not as many things I have to do or even want to do. Yes, I miss not being able to move about as freely but I also have less desire to do many of the things that I used to do, such as travelling, shopping and going to social activities. From a soul perspective I am learning a lot about how to receive from others. I am also learning that as a receive I am also a giver. It is not a one way street. It is about Inter-dependence.
I am more content to be at home now and to see the beautiful trees and small wildlife from my window. This is very freeing. The internet also provides many hours of fascinating lectures and courses. I love reading and am grateful that my eyes allow me to continue reading on my kindle. I spend more time alone but I also enjoy visits from friends and family and I belong to a small women’s circle. This may sound like a very small world to some people but it is enough for me. The enough-ness comes about from accepting that this is the way it is. I know of a lady in a nursing home that put it this way. “I am content with the small orbit of my life.” I can so relate to those words.
Most people are reluctant to mention this but I remind myself daily of the certainty that I will be leaving this body some time in the not so distant future. What is unknown is when it will be. It could be years, months or even days. Who knows? Holding this knowledge in my mind and heart helps me appreciate the wonder and beauty of this amazing world we live in. I don’t take this life for granted anymore. I feel so blessed to be alive. Hallelujah!