Songs and Memories, Looking Back, Looking Forward

The other day, I was going through the local drive thru to pick up a salad for my lunch and a song I hadn’t heard in many years was playing on the classic rock station in my truck.  Fly to the Angels by the 80’s/90’s hair band, Slaughter.  You know how when you hear a song, those old memories just flood back and it’s hard to get it out of your mind?  I downloaded the song and let it play at a low volume on repeat while I worked the rest of the afternoon just letting the memories and the old feelings just wash over me.

I’m not particularly nostalgic and I’m not one to live in the past but I like to analyze how I felt then and sometimes the wrong turns or seemingly wrong turns I took.  The one thing I felt was that I missed the freedom, that life felt like it held all possibilities, my wild self, the hope and endless dreams before life kicked the shit out of me.  Before I had a mortgage, kids, responsibilities outside of myself when I lived for myself.  Everything was in front of me, the tragedies of life hadn’t beat me down.  I was envious of my young self.  To feel anything is possible.

Then I thought about it for a while, what was really different?  Yes I was tied down a bit more, not as easy to just pick up and move or run away with the circus but I really have more resources than I did then.  Most anything is possible, though my age does preclude me from a few things but really only a few.  My kids are grown for the most part, I am not really taking care of someone all the time so really I’m back at square one to a point.  I’m not far from those days.  I’m a quarter century older than when I first heard that song, twenty-five years wiser and I’ve raised my family already.  Again I am almost as free as I was back then as I was living on my own, supporting myself just as I am now.  I do have a few more responsibilities, but really not many more.

It dawned on me that I am in no different place than I was when that song first became popular other than I’ve lived a chunk of my life, raised my girls and been married three times.  I’ve packed a lot of living in that quarter century but I still have all my life ahead of me, albeit a bit shorter but our life is always before us until there is no more life.  Freedom, hope, dreams are all a mindset.  As we grow older, we forget how to dream, we start being more cautious especially when we become parents.  We start having more sense, we become grown ups, adults.  Except in my heart I’m still this wild, adventurous and fearless kid.  Then I realize, I can still be that wild, adventurous and fearless kid.  But I don’t have to stop being who I am because I’m an adult.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in being spouses, partners, parents, employees, caretakers, friends and lovers that we forget to see that anything is possible, no matter how old you are.  All the time I am reading Facebook articles reposted about senior citizens performing feats like gymnastics that we assume are impossible.  If those “elderly’ people believed that they couldn’t do things because of their age, then they would never try.  How many things do we not do because we tell ourselves we can’t, we shouldn’t, or we are too old, too fat, too poor, not good enough or whatever other else we can dream up to stop us from experiencing life to  the fullest or chasing our dreams?  I know I am very guilty of this.

I almost didn’t write this blog be because I thought people would think I’m stupid but I’ve only received positive feedback so far.  Sometimes taking a risk feels like standing naked in front of a room full of people but this is also where you can find the best rewards.  And sometimes the hardest failures.  The only true failure though, is not trying at all.

It truly is all in your mind.  Everyone is going to have limitations, obstacles and challenges.  My opportunities and possibilities are endless just as they were twenty-five years ago.  It’s all in my mindset.  It’s all in how I choose to see the world.  I may be a bit more jaded, hit by life but I can still dream just as I did when I was younger.  And so what if I listen to this old song over and over, I’m using my headphones, dammit!

Darkest Before the Dawn….

This past weekend, I had a few days where I felt really severely depressed.  Might have been due to hormones, latent grief, clinical depression or the fact that winter never ends in Ohio.  Or all of the above.  Worried that my depression had sunk to a point that I could not combat it with my usual exercise and taking care of myself approach, I visited my family doctor who prescribed Zoloft which I had taken back when I was 35 and finally realized what I had been feeling all that time, had been depression.  I picked up the prescription and took half of the first dose.  For the first week, you break the pills in half to see if you can tolerate the medication.

The next morning, I could barely get out of bed, my head was killing me, I felt nauseous and like a zombie.  I did not tolerate the medication very well at all and I hated how I felt.  Finally about one o’clock in the afternoon, I finally started feeling myself again though it took a good two days to completely get rid of that fuzzy feeling.  My husband and I had been talking about my depression and grief.  I had been telling him that I couldn’t understand why I was having such a hard time with the loss of my mother after almost a year.  Some days, it was more than I could bear.  My husband pointed out that because of the close nature of our relationship over the years, which included me working with her for fourteen of those years, that I not only lost a parent but it was almost as if I lost a spouse and child in some ways.  That I wouldn’t just get over it just like that.  

When I thought about this concept, it makes sense.  For some reason, just understanding why I am going through something that doesn’t make sense to me, helps me deal with it better.  Maybe it is the fear of the unknown or fear that I’m going to fall apart.  Once I really grasped that idea, that my relationship with my mom was very complicated and complex, that I had much more to mourn than just a parent, the dark heavy clouds that were suffocating me, lifted and I saw the sunshine again.  I realize, I do not want to take those antidepressants if they make me feel so awful.  So many times, we take pills to “fix” things when it is within our own power to “fix” them ourseleves.  Not that I’m advocating chucking your prescriptions, that all medicine is bad, it’s just sometimes, we want the easy out.  The quick solution and for me, though my depression had spiraled down to a worrisome level, I just needed to understand what I was truly dealing with rather than being afraid there was something inherently wrong with me.  

As they saying goes, it is always darkest before the dawn.  Keep the faith, keep searching and keep hope close.