CHECKING IN WITH MYSELF – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I haven’t written an introspective blog in a long time. I’ve written about things that have happened in my own life and stories about other members of my family. I’ve written a lot about the political situation in America and the social schisms it has created. I’ve written about my dogs and the weather and what I’ve watched on TV.

But I haven’t checked in with myself recently – and there have been some internal resets. Over the past six months, I’ve had some uncomfortable and inconvenient but not serious medical issues. I forgot how closely one’s mental state shadows one’s physical well-being.

Constant physical issues for months at a time can really take a toll, both mentally and physically. I was chronically exhausted. No energy for anything. That translated to demoralization and withdrawal. Doing anything outside of the house became a big deal.

I started believing that my life was seriously lacking in many ways. I fixated on those deficiencies and my glass suddenly became half empty instead of half full.

When I started feeling better physically, I could step back and see where my body had dragged my mind. I realized I had to turn myself off and then back on again. I had to totally reboot my attitude.

I realized that I am, in fact, fine as I am. My life is fine as it is. Is it what I wanted, ideally at this stage of my life? No. Is it where I imagined I’d be at my age? No. Is that bad rather than just different? No.

Me and my dogs

I wanted to be a grandmother by my age, with a life revolving to a great extent around my nearby adult child and my grandchildren. Many of my friends are ecstatic and devoted grandparents. But I’m not a grandmother. And the most likely child to give me grandchildren in the future lives in LA, 3000 miles away.

As a retired person, I expected to be part of an active and gratifying social life with my large group of local friends. But people moved away. My remaining best friends still work 60 hour weeks and have limited time to socialize. As a result, Tom and I spend a lot of time alone with each other.

But this doesn’t make my life bad or inferior or deficient. Just different than planned or expected. I can’t compare my life to other people’s lives. I can’t measure my life against my past expectations.

Am I actually happy spending most days at home with my husband and my dogs? Yes! Am I fulfilled reading, writing blogs and working on our Audio Theater Group? Yes! Do I love my wonderful friends spread all around the country plus England and Germany? Yes!

So I wake up happy every morning, looking forward to another quiet but satisfying day. I focus on what I have and who I share it all with. I’m good. I’m lucky. And I’m grateful. I just have to try to keep this positive outlook when my body throws me the next curve.

9 thoughts on “CHECKING IN WITH MYSELF – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

    1. My main anxiety is that one of these medical problems will not go away and haunt me for the rest of my life. I see the Rheumatoid Arthritis specialist tomorrow and I hope he tells me I just need some more time on the Prednisone for the symptoms to go away completely. I don’t want to hear that this will be a chronic, on and off problem going forward.

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      1. I have never heard of RA not being chronic … but it doesn’t mean it will always bother you, either. It sort of goes to sleep for long periods of time and may not bother you very much at all. Mine goes away for years at a time. Yes, it comes back, but not for long and then it retreats again. Very few people get that really serious version of it.

        But arthritis IS kind of normal for humans over a certain age. Actually, for all warm-blooded animals pretty much. It just happens.

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  1. You make me ponder of how I think my mother may have viewed her life. Yours sounds like a peaceful, happy life with many opportunities for travel to see your distant friends and family … I hope your health allows that? It’s hard isn’t it when life isn’t as we expected… I get that 💙💙

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    1. I’m glad I gave you some insight into your mother. I have a more sympathetic understanding of my mom now, whose later life turned out to be unexpected and difficult for her. She lost my father, the love of her life, at age 65 and never fully recovered. She never had another relationship although her whole life had revolved around her marriage and my dad. She was a fish out of water and didn’t always handle it well. But I understand and forgive a bit more now than I was able to in the past.

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      1. Yes, that must have been so hard on her. Thank you for being so open … the relationships that we have with our parents are sometimes tricky as we get older. I just wish that mine were still around to really, really talk to them. Why do we only discover this when they’ve gone? I hope you’re ok 🌼🌼

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  2. Ellin, you sound like you’re in a good place. I had that feeling when we recently visited. You and Tommy are among our small circle of friends who we actually visit. Those visits, I’ll say again, are high points in our lives. You and Tommy leave us feeling GOOD about things as we drive home.

    Ellin, I’m really grateful when you seek me out to ask how things are going. I was almost flustered the first time you asked. I am not used to sharing really personal stuff.

    I think Marilyn and I are making peace with our lives. We are now discussing what we need to about fixing up our house. It’s more about focusing on our future than just the manual stuff that needs to be done. We know we’re not kids anymore, closer to the end of the movie than the beginning and that’s okay, I think.

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    1. Garry – We consider you guys ‘true’ friends – in all ways. Including being able to spend days together just sitting and talking. I feel I’m just getting to know you because you are often very quiet. I try to draw you out, which is good for me because I’m the quieter and more reserved in my relationship too. I think we’re good for each other in that way.

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