Friday, February 14, 2014

5 Reasons Why I Was Feeling a Little Lackluster but I'm not Anymore - You Won't Believe How I Rallied

Can you tell I've read some advice relating to titles? Using numbers and lists is the big thing. I saw one that said Gandhi's 10 Rules for Changing the World. I clicked on it of course. Who doesn't want to think s/he could change the world by implementing 10 rules?  I’m still working on number one: Change Yourself.

Vague, teaser titles are also in.  Anyone who follows Upworthy  knows exactly what I’m talking about. I had to stop, annoyed by the teaser lead-ins. However, my post “Falling in Love Again,” admittedly a teaser, is among my most-viewed posts. This was positive reinforcement for leading you on.

Anyway, the 5 reasons I was feeling a little lackluster but am not anymore:

1. Some Realities Must be Challenged. 

Following my Himalayan trek last April, I faced certain truths about my physical limitations. I recommend doing that, so you don't seriously injure yourself. But Diana Nyad blew my “I’m getting older so how fit can I really be?” thinking all to hell. This is the counterpart to accepting some limits. Still gotta push.  Residual knee pain had been keeping me down a bit, literally and emotionally. I don’t like to be told I can’t do something, especially by my own body.  At the annual look-see my doc gave me some simple exercises that are helping. I can feel the weight of the limitation lifting.  I also dropped a few holiday pounds, which really helps with the knees. 

2. Bag Lady Syndrome

Retirement income projections, which define spending limits, are made using an assumed rate of return. I really don’t like wondering how rich or how poor I am, and how much I can spend, given what’s going on with the economy. At my annual review last January I was not a happy camper in that other people’s financial managers seemed to be making them some bucks in the recovering stock market and mine wasn't.  While I understand there is some ebb and flow from year-to-year, mine was way off. I seriously considered leaving an adviser I have trusted for over two decades.

That kind of uncertainty is a stressor and a sub-conscious dampener of energy. It is unsettling.  When I got back from Nepal last spring, I wondered whether I should plan a foreign country trip for this year or not. I felt restricted. That dampening feeling lingered.

However, with some changes in strategy, things have rebounded in the 2013 end-of-year read on things, and I feel freer. I am in awe of people who don’t worry about money – or don’t seem to. People who believe the universe will abide.  And, so it does. I still struggle with that. I may have stared down the financial picture shortly after I retired, but I need to renew and regroup on that so I am not tossed in the sea of financial tides.

3. Match Shtick

Occasionally I get a bit out-of-sorts because there are some things I don’t want to do by myself. So I start to think life would be easier - and better - if I had a significant other. Or more precisely, a playmate who could share a spontaneous walk to the local cafe for a nosh and glass of wine or an outdoor adventure in a foreign country.  But that is hard to come by. 

So I thought I’d give a try. Going online seems like the only pro-active thing a person can do, other than getting out of your living room. I’m already doing that.  

Scanning through the thumbnail photos is a cross between a visit to the pound and looking at pictures on milk cartons. So many faces looking out, looking for someone to take them in. Maybe a little lost. I say this in a compassionate way because I’m sure the experience is similar on the other side. (Update: I looked. No, not the same at all.)

Potential matches are painfully un-clever or sincere. They say things like “cool beans.” And “I’m lonely and nervous.”  Gotta appreciate the honesty in that one.

There’s a whole continuum of “communication”, the significance of which I haven’t figured out: winking, liking, favorite-ing, emailing. I had one in-person meet-up that I was looking forward to. After two hours of fun and interesting conversation at the B-Line:

Him: “I really enjoyed myself”
Me: “Yes, me too. I hope to hear from you”

Then: Nothing. Oh well.  And now that I've made these snarky comments, I've probably reduced my chances of making a connection to less than nil. Indeed, none of the descriptions say they are looking for a woman with an irreverent (okay, sometimes biting) sense of humor. Now I’m just waiting for the subscription to expire. Upside: I have a lot of great friends.

4. Been-There-Done-That Syndrome

I realize this is a privileged person’s dilemma so I hesitate to call it a problem. I have been to so many places and done so many things on my list that there isn't much left. Nothing was grabbing me. One thing I've not done and wanted to do is study Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country for a couple weeks and then travel around for a week or so. I contemplated doing this by myself. I haven’t done more than get myself to and from places and have a couple days on my own and I thought a solo trip might be an interesting adventure. Until I really thought about it.  Truth is I don’t want to do that.  

Just as I was despairing of my adventurous self-image waning, I found out that a couple friends will soon be spending some months in Ecuador and Peru and they asked me if I’d like to join at some point. When I was leaving Ecuador at the end of a trip in 2007, I thought “I could come back here.” So, I started looking into possibilities. With my last remaining frequent flyer miles accumulated when doing all that work-related travel, two weeks in Ecuador going to school and a week of travelling around is really affordable.

We’ll see how it pans out, but I found myself motivated by the thought of a new type of adventure and by the relatively short (for me) timeline to pull it together.  I’m energized to get languishing things done.  Did some deep purging and organizing. Virgos love that.  It’s akin to a shamanic clearing.

5.   Serendipitous Upsides

And there are the small things. After a dozen years driving my vehicle, and a half dozen forgotten and lost gas caps, I discovered that inside the little door there is a bracket that holds the cap while you gas up. I discovered this reading the manual after the check engine light came on – which proved to be transitory. Life is good.  

All this reminded me that life’s rhythms ebb and flow. When its low tide, you've got to look for any gems that may have washed-up. And trust that high tide will return.