Sunday, August 13, 2017

48


Photo by Anthony Watson @ateliervime

I had wanted to compare. And look backwards to see where I had been a year ago. I was convinced that I was "better" then.

However, life is not linear, so why should I be?

You see, it was my birthday on Friday and now I am 48. Which seems like a fine age, actually.

I can almost hear the paper scrape of turning the page in my mind as I have imagined it so many times. And yet the truth is that I am not yet all the way there. Still no definite job, still living out of a suitcase, jumping from house to house. Emotionally moved on yes, thankfully, despite the occasional angry fires, although not getting to where I want to go in any aspect of practical life, no matter how hard I have insisted.

But that does not make me a failure. And in these past days, the word that has risen like a wave again and again is resilient. I am resilient.

I have not given up on my dreams even when it has been suggested - always with true kindness - that perhaps I am hurting myself to stay. And if I do have to cede that it is just not going to happen for me in France (money is running out), then I will take my hoping elsewhere.

There are certain people who are embarrassed for me that I have not found my way here yet, who have shuffled away without looking me in the eye. But I am not. I have seen how hard it is to make one's life alone as a foreigner in France, and most certainly as a woman without means.

My heart is still true. I am sticking to what I know in terms of beauty and creativity and love because it is what I believe in.

It has been an incredible year with strong experiences. I dared to take the plane to come back to see, then vowed to try and stay when I knew that my couple was indeed over. I know what it is like to be with a man who is not my ex and to feel deeply appreciated. I fell in love with a mysterious city. I nursed Ben through the end of his life and let him go with peace.

Still here. Resilient. "At 48? You are still a baby." I heard that the other day. And I agree. Not only because age is relevant (albeit often inconclusive) but because there is much in me that is in awe, that marvels at this life, just like a child. Just maybe - or not - with wiser eyes to see.



***
PS. I actually had a lovely birthday. I stuck to my tradition. Those of you who have been reading here for some time might remember that it is of seeing art. My friend Anthony had invited me over for drinks afterwards but when I arrived, it turned out to be for a candlelight dinner with several of his fascinating friends. Bellinis were served. I am acutely aware that in all important moments of this past year - from Christmas onwards - I have been under the protective wings of true friends and my incredible family. How grateful I am for them. And for you.

PPS. Curiosity did not kill the cat. :) Only after hitting "publish" did I go back to see where I was last year, after all. If you wondered the same, you can find out by clicking here.

 

29 comments:

  1. You you are a courageous woman, Rocket, in your actions and in writing about your life experience. This giving of your "Self" is a wonderful display of personal strength. Mahalo et Merci for the selfless gift you share. As always, wishing you the best of everything!

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    1. Much Mahalo to you Bill, for being the unflaggingly supportive friend who is always encouraging me to go beyond what I think that I am capable of. You set the bar high, and I am grateful for you.

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  2. When I saw the title, 48, my first thought was, ah, so young. Enjoy every single day. All the people, the places, the stuff, the animals, the food....the rest will work out.

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    1. How I hope that you are right! And I am working on trusting in that. And I DO try to find the beauty and enjoyment. It is key. :)

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  3. I'm SO glad I clicked on "here" and read your post from last year. Resilient - uh, you think?? But beyond resilient - for me, there is a definite sense of being on the other side of something, with the wisdom and calm that comes with it. (YES, wiser eyes to see!). You are mended now - just trying to work out the kinks, the details. But the clincher: that photo!!! My god, could you look more relaxed, open and at peace with yourself? (More comes to mind, but that's for private conversation). That woman is okay! She's more than okay - she's holding true to her values and taking life as it comes. That woman is not defeated. And the post - nary a word about whats-his-name, just the honesty and vulnerability that we love about you. Happy Birthday, dear Sister! We love you so much. xoxox

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    1. Sister. I have thought about your response here SO MANY TIMES since I read it. I have. I love you with all of my crazy heart.

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  4. Resilience, yes, but also the courage to keep trying and to look at yourself honestly. And then to share what you see with all of us: the people who love you and feel honored to be part of this community that you have built one post at a time. Happy Birthday, my "online" friend. Gros Bisous!

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    1. No, we are friends, Judith. No modifier needed! There is still a lot that I don't share. And I question that sometimes. It is always really telling what I keep hidden!

      You have always "seen" me here and I am incredibly, incredibly grateful to you.
      love
      H

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  5. Hello Heather,
    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday. May your year be spectacular and wishing you happiness, adventure and success beyond your wildest dreams. You look fabulous. I love that picture.
    Helen.xx

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    1. What a wonderful wish you gave me, dear Helen. Thank you!

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  6. Yes, Heather ... 48 is just a number and a fine one at that. The surroundings for your birthday are stunning and it sounds as though your friends are equally so. I've always loved the saying that to have a good friend you must be a good friend. Obviously you are. At my age, I feel like every day is my birthday ... Celebrate and keep moving forward! <3

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    1. Patricia, I can understand that because with each birthday I feel like, "Yahoo! I am still here!" :) I never get that when people are sad on their birthdays about getting older.
      And something tells me you are a pretty good friend too.
      xo

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  7. Oh, Heather......First of all, the happiest of birthdays to you. I don't think you're in need of my wishing you "many more returns"; rather obviously, you're a survivor. And, yes, I usually HATE that term when applied to the divorced (which would, unexpectedly enough, include me, these days)).

    You're always welcome at this old house, not entirely by the way (and, when the necessary day comes, I'll immediately buy the ticket for you, even if I have to borrow the money to do so)....and I sincerely doubt (reading what I've read on your blog) that you'll ever lack for friends who are MORE than glad to take the supposed chance of putting you up for few months or longer.

    You do know, I hope, that you're essentially in the position of at least half the "independent" women in the novels of James, Wharton, Forster, etcetera? So am I, for that matter (although my own circumstances are a bit more Tennessee Williams/blanche DuBois than yours are).

    I turned 57 last month. I haven't held a title or had an official "job" since I was 32. I have no children. I have nothing to "hide behind" (which most folks do, to be frank). I spent twelve years being told, basically, that I SHOULD take it for granted that "we" had an enviable apartment in Paris (inherited from Granny), a house in Perpignan, and no end of married-to-big-pharma perks (isn't it a given that one spends every May in Barcelona?).

    That's over and gone. It would be have been easier/simpler if that had come to pass without 18 months of lying, evasion, and outright betrayal-of-friendship (How hard is it to answer the question "Are you having an affair?") This month, I'll be opening up this 220 year old house as the B&B it was restored to be (and was, for about a decade in the 90's). I'm quite capable of making my own living as a successful artist; all that remains is for this big, old, rambling house to begin earning some of its own keep.

    I'm actually quite, quite happy to be doing this. Actually?...it occurs to me right now "Oh, Heather is EXACTLY the sort of person I would hire to come and help me run this place as a high-end B&B....which bedroom would she get??? Would she hate the humidity down here???". I'm not joking.

    For right now, Heather?....can we simply to say that, at age 48, you've entered The Age of Possibility?

    Here's the poem I always seem to send to friends on their birthdays. It's an unfinished poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:




    As sharp as in my childhood, still
    Ecstasy shocks me fixed. The will
    Cannot entice it, never could,
    So never tries. But from the wood
    The wind will hurl the clashing sleet;
    Or a small fawn with lovely feet,
    Uncertain in its gait, will walk
    Among the ferns, not breaking back
    One frond, not bruising one fern black,
    Into the clearing, and appraise
    With mild, attracted, wondering gaze,
    And lifted head unhurt and new,
    This world that he was born into.

    Such marvels as, one time, I feared
    Might go, and leave me unprepared
    For hardship. But they never did.
    They blaze before me still, as wild
    And clear, as when I was a child.
    They never went away at all.
    I need not, though I do, recall
    Such moments in my childhood, when Wonder sprang out at me again,
    And took me by the heels, and whirled
    Me round and round above the world.

    For wonder leaps upon me still,
    And makes me dizzy, makes me ill,
    But never frightened - for I know -
    Not where - but in whose hands I go:
    The lovely fingers of Delight
    Have hold of me and hold me tight.

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    1. Crying. Yet again. Every time that I read your kindness and the poem, I cry. In recognition, in deep appreciation and profound gratitude I suppose. I love you, David. I know that you aren't joking. Thank you, my true friend.

      Happy Belated Birthday and how I am sending all Good Wishes of Prosperity as you open up the house. It is going to be a fascinating new chapter, one that fits perfectly.

      H

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  8. Happy Birthday, Heather! Wishing you wonderful mindfulness, joy, and love. Judi

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    1. Thank you, Judi. Your strength and honesty inspire me. xo

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  9. Happy birthday dear Heather. You are just getting better and better. Keep on, keeping on....

    Ali xx

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    1. Merci, Ali. That is very kind of you to say (I am dubious! ;) and for the encouragement!

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  10. Happy Birthday! You are a young, beautiful and strong girl! I am 65, gone through many bad bad things but after 3 years of crying I feel again young and strong with my white hair! I wish you health and creativity and joy dear Heather. You will find it!

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    1. You ARE so young and strong, Maria! I feel it in each of your responses, the vibrancy and force of your spirit. I am so very sorry for the pain that you have experienced but I am grateful for your reminder that it is possible to move beyond it and thrive.
      xo

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  11. Life, no matter who you spend it with and where you are, becomes more precious with each passing year. The moments should be savored a bit longer, the memories tucked deeper away and the friendships cherished even more. Change is scary even when you think you know where you are going and with whom you are traveling. . .Happy Birthday!

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    1. And when you have absolutely no idea where you are going or whom you are traveling with? ;)) Yes, thank you for this bit of wisdom. My friendships are so very dear to me...

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  12. Happy birthday....the good thing is you are healthy, got stronger and stronger and
    you have real friends on your side, because good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget

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    1. I truly agree with you, R. I am so grateful!

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  13. Happy birthday! I love this post. How triumphant in yourself you sound! Cheers to this exciting new year!

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    1. I do?? Wow, that is pretty awesome! Yay! And yes to change for us both!! xox

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  14. We share a birthday :) I am 10 years older than you. 48 seems like a fantastic age. 58 is OK too! A friend of mine went on a journey much like yours... very similar ... and she landed in Italy and is making a life there because that's what she wanted and she did it though many people thought she was crazy. It can be done!

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  15. Dear Heather,
    I'm late to the party! Have been out of town and missed sending you birthday wishes. From this post, you clearly had a wonderful day.
    Am so glad you are enjoying the summer and spending quality time with your friends. Happy Belated Birthday!
    All my best,
    Laura in Santa Fe

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  16. You're a brave person and I admire you; I know things have not been easy, and your ability to "keep on keeping on" is impressive. Here's to a good year.

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