2019…a year of Uncertainty

I’m not one to spend a lot of time looking backwards, but this year seemed to scream out for it.  The word that jumped out when reflecting back on the past 365 days was Uncertainty. I learned at an early age how uncertain life can be…in a second, life as you know it can be changed forever.  I think that’s why I’m so adamant about doing things now; knowing tomorrow might not always come easy or at all. My travels all contain a big level of Uncertainty; from where I’ll go each day to where I sleep at night.  So, you would think this feeling would sit comfortable with me; I’d have an ease with it.  This year has proven for sure, that I don’t.  

I’d love to think of myself as super laid back, go-with-the-flow type of woman, but those close to me will shout that I’m anything but that.  I strive to be that, but the older I get, those traits seem harder to achieve.  Danny gently reminded me this year that I’m the type of person who wants the answers now & needs a plan.  True.  I am organized & an Organizer; a list maker; a Do-er; I get a lot of shit done.  I always challenge myself to be the most efficient I can be…from my route while running errands, to my once a month cooking chore & even through a grocery store—my shopping list laid out as the store is.  I get the mundane done as fast as possible & love to chill out afterwards.  It works for me…until I have to cross paths with others who are opposite.  

My mother-in-law’s health has taken many turns this year.  A fall, a return of her cancer, lots of chemo treatments, two trips to the ER & a long stay in the hospital.  Uncertainty.  She’s not been on her own for almost a year.  I made a difficult decision to go ahead with all my planned travels.  My decision was between me & Danny; I’m pretty sure no one else in the family understood or approved.  It’s only what Danny thinks that I care about, & I knew in my heart he’d have preferred me to stay home & take care of his Mother, but I went anywaywas it the right decision? Uncertainty.  I knew this would make it hard on him; he’d never had to deal very much with the Physicians, hospitals, meds, FMLA & all that comes with the medical roller coaster; I always did it.  But, I was hopeful if I left, his retired sister & brother would step up to help out.  That they would all spend needed time with their mother.  I was more than ready to step aside as her medical care-giver  (I had done this for the past five years) & I know she would prefer to spend all that time with her own children.  And, they all did.  The three shared in her care, her appointments, trips back & forth to her home at the lake. 

I worried for Danny leaving so much on his plate while he is still working long hours at what must be the worst job ever.  My home, whether I was there or not, was in a constant state of motion…the brother, the sister & her husband, & a couple of grandchildren coming to stay in & out when necessary.  It all takes a toll on relationships too. But, I held to my decision.  I was constantly checking my “guilt to boundaries” meter.  Uncertainty.  

His family has a fierce & loyal love for their Mother.  She is a very blessed woman.  They are all that I am not…easy going, quiet, slow, take life as it comes….they don’t seem to mind Uncertainty.  I know it’s better to be out of the loop these days…better for me & better for them.  They get tired of my speed, my need to know & my impatience with indecision.

Friends say how much of an adventurous spirit I have.  But I have even begun to question if that’s true or not.  On a recent road trip home from Florida, Danny & I drove through the Land Between the Lakes NRA.  We took off down a narrow, dirt/gravel/mud road to try to see the lake.  I was nervous from the beginning; he was just having fun.  We were about an hour from dark & no one else around & still had to drive 7 more hours to get back home that night.  The road was very muddy.  Some of the places were better than my driveway, so why was I so nervous?  I could see his disappointment in me.  I know it was the Uncertainty of what was ahead of me.  That anticipatory fear my friend Talie says is a waste of time.  As we turned down the last road, I was super uncomfortable.  It was the muddiest of all & I was sitting by a guy with no-fear.  A tree down in one spot, he got out & waved me around the obstacle & through the deep mud.  We drove through shallow streams. As sunset was only minutes away, I questioned the water-filled hole covering the road in front of me. He rolled his eyes at me but I drove through water that was as deep as my running boards. Uncertainty.  I was so mad at myself to have been such a chicken, but had I been alone, I would have turned around without question a long time ago. Where was my adventurous spirit?  Uncertainty. PS:  We never even got to see the lake from this road.

When you think you’ve gotten old enough to know who you are & are comfortable, even happy with who you are, Uncertainty roars it’s mighty self.  On the road.  In my home. Looking into my heart.  Uncertainty.  I’m pretty sure there’s some big lessons in this past year.  Maybe growing older is all about Uncertainty: living & embracing it, but more so being comfortable swimming in it daily.  

But, it’s interesting when you try to change some of your core being.  For years, I tried to “not talk so much” & that didn’t work.  I’ve tried to “not be a worrier” & always trying to “not be a person that sheds tears easily”.  You ask yourself is it me or the people you surround yourself with that make you feel like you're built so wrong or do I need to make a big change from within? Uncertainty.  Can I make that change? Uncertainty.  There’s a quote I love:  “You will always be too much of something for someone.  Be yourself anyway”.  I guess there’s a balance in making changes inside yourself & not losing yourself in the process.  Uncertainty.

So, in 2020 I will grow & make changes that make me a better woman; not necessarily make me like someone else.  I am still setting boundaries.  I am still examining my heart.  I am learning to look for the positive side of Uncertainty.

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