Or what I maybe meant to say is when everything is gone you have a chance to start over and do all those things you have always wanted to do but never did and now you realize how ephemeral life is and how it can all be gone in a flash and you don’t have time to waste and life is just too damn short not to be all you can be and do all the things you really want to do.
At least that’s what I’ma thinkin’.
And you can recover all the lost bits of yourself that got lost in the pileup of life — or possessions — that are now gone. Less things, but good ones.. Careful choices. And wild adventures, things you were holding back from doing because you thought you’d do it later or you thought it wasn’t okay or you thought you were too __________ (Old, young, fat, thin, yadda, yadda, yadda…). As a Zen teacher of mine said to me decades ago, “If not, why not? If not now, when?”
So instead of replacing a nice desktop and laptop I got a really good Mac laptop and that’s enough. And a lot of my computer equipment I am not replacing. And I have gone back to writing with fountain pens and ordered a couple I really like, not real expensive ones, but nice ones, and oh, how wonderful it feels to be writing with them again.
And… (I kind of have to giggle and I don’t care if anyone thinks this is stupid and some people might think it’s ridiculous since I’m turning 60 next month but nanny nanny boo boo on them.) yesterday I ordered something I’ve wanted to try for a long time and I feel like a giggly, giddy teenager over it. I ordered 3 of those chalk crayons — not permanent — that you can streak your hair with. I ordered light teal, a pretty light violet, and light green. At a whopping $1.65 per crayon, and since they wash out, if I have fun with it godonlyknows what colors I might try next. (Ha, Delilah and I were just have snorty Mama-Puggy kisses and I was thinking she might look kind of cute with a few turquoise streaks on her head too…)
I received quite a number of gift certificates from lovely people at the 2 places I order online, Woman Within and Roamans, because they have nice clothes for us full-figured girls. I live in their caftans and loungers because I rarely leave the house and they are just comfortable and feel all flowy, BUT I ordered capris and t-shirts and I actually WORE THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE yesterday! GASP! I had to take 2 of the pugs to the vet for their bath day and go get new glasses because my good ones were lost in the fire and I only had my old ones which were my old prescription. I grocery shopped and I almost bought a really pretty blue nail polish.
Well just how about that. I felt like the bravest person on the planet.
I’m not really a fingernail painter. When you spend most of your time with your hands taking care of dogs and birds and gardens and typing fingernail polish just doesn’t hold up, but just maybe I will do it anyway. I think the polish will match the colorful streaks in my hair. He he he…
I felt like a real person with real clothes on with those capris and t-shirts, nice soft cotton v-neck t-shirts in a bunch of colors for $6.99 with 4 pair of capris on sale in my favorite colors — turquoise, sea green, lavender, and a navy pair when I want to look half way like a normal person (But just half.)
With some of my gift certificates I actually ordered Earth Shoes instead of all Crocs. This all won’t seem like much of a shift for most people but it is huge for me. I am now dressing and thinking of myself as someone who is actually going to leave the house sometimes.
Oh yeah. I said it, I did it, I’m juicy, I’m HOT!
And I am working my way up to actually going out once in a while to write in a coffeehouse or cafe. When I was in my thirties my whimsical business cards simply had my name and “Cafe Writer” (Not in parentheses) on them. (Also for awhile instead of Cafe Writer they said Metaphorist.) I am getting my whimsy back. That may be the most important thing of all. I’ve missed my whimsy. It leaked out once in awhile but mostly I’ve been too serious.
I really did have a life once. A big life out in the world. It was a long time back and although I will no longer call myself agoraphobic I am still not ever going to be a big going-out-a-lot sort of person because I would just prefer to be home with my pugs and bird and garden and writing and so on, but there is a difference between being afraid to go out and choosing not to. I am aiming for the latter. I know I will fluctuate between the two but I won’t label myself according to the former.
There was also a mint green nail polish that I liked.
I am smiling so big now, well, after the fire I never thought I would ever ever ever smile again, and though my smile is still lopsided and cattywompus I don’t even mind that. When you’ve lost your smile just getting it back is HUGE.
I am embracing my larger-than-normal, sixty-almost, cattywompus and lopsided self in a way I never did before because I am ALIVE. Just yesterday I heard a heartbreaking story on the news, a fire so bad the people were trapped inside and died, a fireman even died. I could be dead but I’m not. I was given a second chance and by God if I want to color rainbow streaks in my hair and paint my fingernails blue I’m going to do so. Dead women can’t do that. Dead women can’t do a lot of things. I’m still here, I’m going to do them. Whatever I want to do.
I have been given a second chance to make my life over. It won’t look radically different on the outside but it’s amazing how it already feels on the inside.
As Al Pacino said in one of my favorite movies, Scent of a Woman, HOO-AH!
Oh, and while I never saw the movie I always liked the title, something like When Stella Got Her Groove Back. Well, I’m pretty sure I never had groove, but I think I’m looking to get some.