Sometimes we put birds and animals in cages for their own safety. Have you been doing the same thing to yourself?
Life & Death
I was talking to a neighbor of mine the other day. She is a fun-loving lady in her 70’s who has had three boyfriends since I moved here. She loved to go out with them and dance and socialize.
She also loves to drive and would get in the car with them and drive them all over the place, to Northern California, Idaho, Palm Springs, whatever place took their fancy.
She had a great time with each of them, the only problem is that they were all in their late 80s and 90s and they all died on her.
After the last gentleman passed away, I noticed that she was kind of depressed and not going out as she used to, so I asked her when she was going to find another boyfriend.
She was emphatic when she said, “Never!” Now, I’m not stupid and I understand that she liked these men and was sad when they died, but I told her the problem is that she is caging herself in to save herself from suffering and in the meantime, she is still not a happy camper. I have watched while she not only suffers but her health has declined as well.
Engagement or Safety
My question is, don’t you think it’s better to keep engaging and having fun where you can instead of dying slowly and carefully alone and “safe” in your apartment?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a horrible example of someone who is emotionally connected. I enjoy my own company a lot and I work like a demon for not much money. So I am not a social butterfly or even a social caterpillar.
All excuses I know, since living life to the fullest requires effort and extension. And I am tired and without patience.
However, I am also older and I feel the cage closing in on me. Things I used to be fearless about now cause me anxiety and I know if I don’t challenge those things it will only get worse.
Challenging the Cage
How do we go about challenging the cage? I think it is different for everyone. But you can start by picking one thing that you are afraid of and then DO IT! Or do something that is a baby step up to doing it. If you can’t set up an online dating profile maybe you can start by looking a man or woman in the eye and saying, “Hello!”
If you can’t drive on the freeway in rush hour traffic, go somewhere where the freeways are less crowded and try it there.
Or if you really want to go balls to the walls do what this lady did: http://a.co/d/8aCT94c Jane Stern wrote this book, Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself by Becoming an EMT to share how becoming a volunteer EMT saved her from being “virtually immobilized by fear and anxiety.” I have not read the book yet since I just purchased it yesterday and from the book blurb I think this option is not for everyone, but I expect to learn some good things from the reading it!
The Bottom Line
This is probably what I should have named my blog! But the bottom line is that there really is a large, exciting world out there and all of us, myself included, need to make the effort to join in, to be part of something that makes us smile, touches our heart or just gets our pulses racing. Use it or lose it, folks!