Saturday, October 4, 2008

Why Gleeful?

First post... It's bound to be awkward, so I guess the best way to start is to get the introductions out of the way, and explain why I claim to have a gleeful life, and how I strive to make sure I think I do.

Basics about me:

  • I'm 52.
  • Live in a hillside town overlooking Jerusalem, Israel- moved here from NJ about 8 years ago.
  • Vegetarian (since my mid- 20s)
  • I paint- decorative painting, mostly murals and furniture.
  • Hope to start writing.
  • LOVE to travel.
  • Married to the same man since I was 18.
  • Have one son, who has 5 daughters (and a new baby is expected in November!).
  • For 5 years I was my Mom's caregiver. She had Alzheimer's, and lived with us. Mom passed away a year ago.

So, why the gleeful?

I had an epiphanal moment moment a couple of years ago, when this thought was in my head as I woke up:

I don't live in Darfur.

That quick awakening thought summed up/opened up/changed everything for me.

While I'm able to reflect now on the years I cared for my mom, and realize that I am deeply grateful that I was able to care for her, I will never deny that it was a difficult time for me. I'll write about being a caregiver in a future post, but for now I'll say that I was pretty much house bound during those years, and as my son lives with his family in California, I only saw my grandchildren once or twice a year. Add to that problems with my siblings.... well, my days weren't always rosy.

That epiphanal morning will always be with me (I hope)- I try to start every day with that thought, stretching my arms high, shoulders rolling, grateful smile spreading across my face. If I'm lucky, I'll catch a glimpse of that smile in the mirror as I get out of bed.

Since then, I've developed patience, gratitude, excitement, and a wonderful sense of self-satisfaction. And, of course, glee. OK, not every moment of my day is filled with all or any of those, but bringing back that morning thought snaps me out of any glumness in, well, a snap.

I seem to be able to look at any negative event, and give it a good spin:

- My husband lost his job: Thank goodness he wasn't making a huge salary, or changing our lifestyle would have been really difficult!

- We don't have a car anymore: Our health has improved with all the walking we do nowadays!

- We need to sell some our things to raise some cash: Who needs all this stuff, anyway?!

You get the idea.

It's a great attitude, another thing that adds to my gratitude (and gleefulness).

About my life:

Am I starting over? Catching up? Finding myself?

Those are actually some of the things I hope I'll find answers to as I write this blog. After 5 house bound years, caring for my Mom, I'm just now starting to feel I'm ready to get on with life. I'm already grabbing every chance I get to travel, but I want more than that.

Write? Paint? Volunteer? Start a business? Change the world?

I think it was back in grade school when I first read of how women often come into their own when they reach their 50's, and I've always looked forward to reaching that time in my life. Well, I'm here, and I'm excitedly anticipating where I'll find myself, and what I'll be doing.

I'll be writing about things I've experienced, things I'm pondering, things that excite me, and things that are troubling me. I welcome your comments and reflections.

Something corny to end this first post- by now you know why and how much I love it:

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