Yellow by Georgie Pauwels
Caught Between Living and Dying
I turned 51 years old yesterday. I’m not really old yet, but I sure as heck am not young anymore. Just as my children are not old yet, but, they’re not young anymore either. My parents? They’re 80. Not elderly, but yet, I would say that’s old.
As a single woman with three college-aged daughters, and two “older” parents, I am increasingly finding myself home alone on any given evening; the last twenty years of my life defined by the scars of living a life with bipolar disorder. It’s ironic, really, I’ve come to the point when I don’t want to die anymore. I’m stable on my meds and though I still fall into brief periods of depression, my cocktail of medications keeps me from spiraling into the pit of complete despair. But the life I have left after two failed marriages and one failed engagement – ruined by bouts of mania – sometimes leaves me with a feeling of emptiness.
So I sit here this evening and reflect on what I should do with the next thirty-odd years of my life. Oh, my children still live with me as they finish college and my parents are not yet moved in, so I have maybe 3 or 4 years left with the comings and goings of the girls. But then what? I don’t want to die anymore, but am I left with a life worth living?
What does one do when what should have been their most productive years are spent and yet have produced nothing but a work-addicted shell of a woman? Can I wax philosophical about my life without becoming morbid and making myself depressed? Do I really want to look back on my life in yet another thirty years and say as I lay dying, “ Is that all there is?”
No. No, that’s not for my friends. For just as I begin to allow myself a split instant of self-pity, I remember that great scene between Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts in StepMom, where Julia reminds Susan, that she can never, ever be replaced. I may be a single lady, but I am now and always will be, a mother. I hold a special place in my daughters’ hearts that will never be replaced. And even though their childhoods may be marred by the memories of their manic mother, they love me still. My girls are almost full grown now. It won’t be much longer and I will be watching them prove to themselves what I’ve known all along; that they are stronger than they ever thought they could be and despite everything that’s happened in their lives, they have grit.
Thirty Good Years
I have thirty good years ahead of me. I have no one to answer to, no one to be responsible for, just me, and my canine companions. I can choose what to do with the time I have left. What freedom. What a gift I’ve been given. Suddenly, there’s no emptiness…no emptiness at all. It’s a bucket full of places to go and people to visit. As Albert Camus once said, “You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
Here’s a list of the few things on my Bucket List ideas that I can check off:
- A few things still on my Ride on a riverboat on the Mississippi
- Visit the Battlefield of Gettysburg
- Eat Beignets and have coffee in New Orleans
- Take a tour of Graceland
- Get my doctorate degree
- Eat Escargot
- Cross the Bermuda Triangle
- Stand in four states at the same time
- Attend a Forty-Niner game at The Stick
- See Gone With the Wind on the big screen ( all four hours)
- Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
Bucket List ideas
- Go to the Roman Colosseum
- Write a book
- Run a Disney half marathon
- Go to the top of the Empire State Building
- Take a cooking class in Tuscany
- See the glaciers in Alaska
You can get more ideas here. So, tell me. What’s on your Bucket List?