Sometimes life just rearranges itself on you.
You wake up one morning and everything is different. The people who were the closest to you in life are all gone. You aren't alone. There are still family members and friends to support you and keep you from feeling that you're just by yourself. But it's not the same. And it never will be again.
Life is a tricky thing. You get too comfortable in it sometimes. Your home, the people you love, the mundane aspects of your daily routine, the highs and the lows, all get so familiar that you fall into the trap of thinking it will always be this way. Then, when the morning comes that you wake up and everything has changed, you're left with this uncomfortable realization that you are actually in control of very little. That scares you.
What's even more scary is knowing that you have to go on, trying to make a new path for yourself, trying to find a new purpose for yourself as well. I've been here before. Twelve years ago when my grandmother died, I didn't know what to do with myself then either. Yet I had my parents to turn to for advice. My mother was someone I could talk to about almost anything. I was younger then and the life ahead of me seemed somehow more exciting than it does now. I remembered dreams I'd had as a child and it occurred to me that I could make them come true. So I set out to do just that.
I wanted to be a writer. A professional writer. With the aid of the internet I got involved with writers groups online and it all seemed to take off from there. I started a web magazine that was very popular for a few years. I got to interview some very famous people and become friends with many of them in the process. Friends who knew a thing or two about making dreams come true and who were more than happy to share their knowledge with me. Five years and four books later I felt good about myself and where I had gone in life.
Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She needed me. I was there for her like she'd always been for me. It meant giving up some of the things that I had achieved over the past few years. As her illness progressed, I began having some health issues of my own. A heart attack that required stent placement and then later a herniated disk in my back caused me to get depressed. I had stopped writing almost entirely by then. The world was going on around me and I was stuck in this place where my world revolved around my mother, my health, and my job. A little at a time, I lost every last piece of the life I made for myself in the years after my grandmother died. I was back to where I started... with almost no life.
Life rearranged itself around me again thereafter. Both my parents were gone and I had back surgery. I was home with nothing to do but watch TV and I avoided thinking about the future by focusing on trivial things. I realized I'm not young anymore. I'm middle aged and I have health problems that require daily medications to manage. I have a job that isn't really a challenge anymore because I've been doing it for so long that I've learned what to expect and how to handle the upheavals that come with it. So what do I do now?
I'm too old for this, I tell myself. I don't have it in me to find a new purpose in my life, I think. It's too much work to get back to where I was as a writer before Mama got sick, I hear myself thinking. It'll be easier to just go to work, watch TV, eat, and wait on my turn to go back to the universe, echoes in my mind.
But that isn't what I want to do. I want to have my life back. I still have friends who can help me find my way into the future. I'm financially secure. I have a chance now to travel to most of the places I've always wanted to go in the world. I can plan for my retirement without having to worry about being one of those little old people who has to work at Walmart because Social Security isn't enough for them to live on. I'm doing okay with my health right now. My back problems are pretty much resolved and I'm stable on my meds. My family members are all supportive of me. I'm not alone. I have myself and I have all the tools at my disposal that I need to make my life happen again. I just have to do it.
Life just rearranged itself on me. Again. It's time to pick up and move on. Again. I have to do something with myself. Again. I'd hate to think that where I am now is all I'm going to get out of life. And it doesn't have to be all I get. It's my choice, my decision. There are too many years left to waste. Let's see if I have it in me to redefine me. Again. I think I do.