Sunday, July 25, 2010

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!

As owner of a weaving gallery, I meet lots of people who are fifty and beyond. Since I feel more or less responsible for coining this phrase when I chose it for the title of my book, Fifty and Beyond; New Beginnings in Health and Well-Being, published in 2002, I’m always interested in how people who have passed this important threshold feel about where they are now.

I find that those who are fit, healthy, engaged in physical and creative activities, continue to look at least a decade younger than one might expect from their chronological age. They exude vitality, humor and an overall humble view of what they find of importance in their lives. Most of these kinds of people seem to be kind, caring and compassionate, thinking more about sharing rather than acquiring more “stuff.”

Interestingly enough, I find myself engaged in new projects as I gradually withdraw from previous ones. In 1985, my then partner and I found a beautiful piece of land in the southernmost part of the Yucatan Peninsula along the shores of Laguna Bacalar, called the lake of the seven colors by the ancient Maya. Over a period of 22 years we created, little by little, a small eco-retreat/resort. It was and is very special and intimate with 12 private handmade casitas, 2 large open air thatched roof palapas, and staffed by local people from the village. Unfortunately, the last few years had become burdened with tension as the needs of the Rancho exceeded our ability to provide them. Fortunately, once we made the decision to sell (which took a couple of years of detaching emotionally), it was purchased by a family we knew.

Because we had built our own two houses there, I knew that I would still be “connected.” I felt that divesting ourselves of the overwhelming responsibilities would free me up to write, to paint, to garden and to pursue the kinds of things that I had put on the back burner, just as I had suggested to others in my book. At the same time, my plan of gradually separating myself from the business I created here in the U.S. was unfolding and after 34 years, it seems as though I’m working just enough, without the pressure of having to. In both cases, the work I was doing and continue to do has been extremely rewarding. I’ve been fortunate to have the kind of relationship with the people and the land that have given me great pleasure.

However……I now find myself beginning a new career. Just as I suggested in Fifty and Beyond, New Beginnings in Health and Well-Being, things that we become used to as being such an important part of our lives, businesses, jobs or careers that we have identified with, need to be let go of before other things can take their place. With me, the letting go process evolved over a period of several years. But when the Universe decided that I had done my part in the process, it presented me with something else.

This something else could have been a change in homes, in the places where I live, or any number of other possibilities. With me, it was presented in the form of travel writing. It helped that my partner, who is a travel writer, has helped get me launched (he also published my first book). But I thought of that as him having recreated himself as he has done many times, as artisan, musician, artist and other interesting things that he’s done over the years. I didn’t think that it applied to me. We do, of course, share travel in our life style and both of us have had strong connections to Mexico for decades. It is, more or less, “a natural.” However, it’s something I had never thought of before.

So here I am in my mid-sixties (or is it seventies?) launched on an entirely new project in my life which fits in, as it turns out, nicely with the writing of my new book about, guess what…….these last decades of our lives. To repeat the often said quote, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”