Leftover Life to Live

When Dylan Thomas died, his widow Caitlin wrote an amazing autobiography called “Leftover Life to Live.” But your loved one doesn’t have to die for you to feel a new life is necessary. Just let the children grow up and leave home. You are first blasted by a gust of chill air. The funny thing is, in no time at all, it changes into a good imitation of a spring breeze. A feeling of, I survived that, and come out the other end still alive. Or, if I may quote English author Jeanette Winterson:

“Time is different for us now. We do have a second life and a second chance, and it may be that in the second half of life, when you pass over what was probably a natural death point, maybe you have to confront things afresh in order to go forward in any realistic way.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. A life review seems in order, perhaps a coming to terms with things that will never happen. I don’t see myself moving to London anytime soon and joining the bohemian community, or visiting the Scandinavian countries to see all that painted wooden furniture and people with sensational teeth, or galloping on a little white pony through the steppes of Mongolia (Inner or Outer).

Tom Conti, the actor, said he always wanted to see Machu Pichu, but not anymore. “The moment has passed.” Well put, Tom. The moment HAS friggin passed. It wouldn’t have the same impact now, would it. And like Stompin’ Tom says, I’ve been everywhere, man.

Which leaves us here…

Blogging seemed like a possibility for a creative outlet and something novel. New waters to dip my toes into. I had a friend set one up for me and it sits online empty, months later. It was to be a combination fashion blog and thoughts of the day idea. But nothing seemed important enough to say! In this stuck condition, but determined to at least try something new, I joined a Vancouver “over 40 blogger meet- up.” Most of the 25 women stayed at a hotel downtown and most were in their 50s or early 60s. I had the advantage of staying for free at my daughter’s apartment in Kitsilano. It was a trade off. With me not being there after scheduled events to just kibbutz with the women, I was a bit on the outside. But I was okay with that. I just love any time spent with my daughter. And I’m mostly on the outside, anyway.

The blogger meet-up was a 3 day event that started on July 23. Everyone went home and blogged about the event and one of the organizers is still, though perhaps not anymore, waiting for my summation, my take, on the event. What can one say about such a happening? Fun wouldn’t be the precise descriptor. Interesting, from an anthropological, sociological, fly on the wall, viewpoint? Yes! How the other half lives. Two thirds of the group came from thousands of miles away, Singapore, Salt Lake City, Miami, Holland, Chicago, Brussels, New York. They could shop in Holt Renfrew. It was impressive.

One evening I found myself striking up a conversation with one of the group in the very fancy bar belonging to the Hotel Georgia. It was our event location. She lived in Comox. I lived on Denman Island. We had no desire whatsoever to talk to each other. We practically sneered, “Get lost, sister!” We wondered what scintillating pearls of wisdom the women from Singapore and Brussels had to pass on. Well, I thought to myself as I sipped my way through a glass of white wine, (I would be busing it to Kits.) when was the last time you found yourself in such glamorous surroundings? I felt like a fish out of water. A very old fish. Thirty years in the countryside had clearly taken its toll. Was I a bumpkin?

As these thoughts flitted through my synapses a man sat down beside me. I had taken him for somebody’s husband along for the ride, but no. He was one of us. Sort of. Although he looked to be an exceptionally normal middle-aged man, (nice, but dull) he assured me that on the internet there were stunning photos of him imitating a mermaid. Seashell bra, tail and all.

There was just no topping that. He was a professional living in New York and a very nice man. We both agreed that Caitlyn Jenner was a very brave person. And that, was about it…

So, that was something I had never done before, the blogger meet-up. Now, I’m learning how to embroider. I learned as a child, but that’s a while ago and a friend has given me a refresher course. I’m loving it! It’s a relaxation technique, the precision and care with each stitch. I want to race through it all, but that’s not the way. It’s almost a religious feeling. Penance. I’ve found a black velour coat and I’m doing the cuffs in leaves, daisies, chain stitch, etc. It should keep me busy for the winter along with knitting projects. I’m perusing the courses at Elder College. What a great benefit of being old! Well, it’s a benefit. Perhaps I should bring the sewing machine out? Join a choir? Write more? Here’s to a productive, happy fall!