A new kind of 50

2017, yes, I am awake now.  Fully aware of events that lead up to 50 for me to realize that life is about change.  Change for the better.

Many life changes occurred.  The end of 2016, my grandmother passed away into the night.  She slipped into a coma and never woke up.  Her eternal presence left a gaping hole in my heart.  She was my maternal grandmother.  The woman who raised me from birth and imprinted the teachings of her childhood into who I am.  Her patience and gentle smiles, I have adopted and her persistence to always do the better thing for those around her, I have always taken to heart.  She was my Tara.  My Quan Yin.  Always compassionate and gentle.  Yet, the flip side showed a strength that would leave many who opposed her, afraid.

Looking back at 2016 and the beginning of 2017 helped put into place what needed to happen to set the path for 2018.  All relevant, all setting setting the path, the journey.

Looking back at 2016, I am understanding the events that lead up to this awakening.  The broken record that kept on skipping over and over and now everything is clear.  What has to be done leads to the path to whatever may come.  That part, I don’t know.  That part, my friend, has me having a mini panic attack as well as a bubbling curiosity to seek more.  The persistent and nagging feeling that I can’t quite get out of my head.  The same feeling when a song pops up in your subconscious stream of consciousness and you can’t get it out of your head.  The same feeling when you ignore the nagging hunger pangs rumbling in your stomach and now several hours later, it is yelling at the top of it’s lungs.

I ended a 4 year marriage with someone I thought would see my gentle and persistent ways.  I applied the same compassionate patience that my grandmother applied to me to my husband.  Then something woke up inside me.  Something nagging stirred it’s sluggish head and I became fully conscious in the realization that this was not my job.  This was not mine to own because the only thing I owed was compassionate to myself first.  And I let go, I slowly stopped applying the same tactics of compassion and patience and paid attention to myself.  I became hardened and battle ready.

At the passing of my 50th birthday, I realize that there had to be changes in my life.  Changes that made me keenly aware of things that needed to happen.

It is not that I don’t love my husband.  I do.  I cherish the positive moments we had together.  I am also keenly aware of the circumstances that surrounded those moments.  At the drop of a hat, he would switch from charming and friendly to cold and meticulous judge.  His overall bitter outlook on life would overtake my ever seeking curious wonder of the world and I started to question myself.  I started to ask what I was doing was right and perhaps his way was the only way. I found myself back in that familiar pattern of accepting the circumstances around me and just being.  Every attack, every violent episode that exploded around me.  I shrunk back.

And trust me, he and I went through many months, years of therapy both together and by ourselves.  You may ask yourself, why didn’t I try harder?  Why didn’t I truly commit to keeping the marriage alive?

I will be brutally honest, at some point, you ask yourself, why?  No one is going to pin a medal on you for trying to save a marriage.  In order to save a marriage, you need to save yourself.

What saved me was bike riding.  As I retreated into myself.  I also found solace in the thing that made me happy.  The thing that reminded me who I was.  Strong. Determined.  Passionate.

Bike riding filled me with the feeling of joy as I swoosh down a hill and use my legs to power up the most agonizing hill.  I also looked around me and I wasn’t alone.  There were fellow cyclists around me who also had the same feeling of joy and wonderment.

In 2016, I took on the challenge of rebooting Critical Mass in my city. Me breathing life back into Critical Mass, also lead me to breathe life back into me.  It lead me to cherish and grow the child inside me that was screaming to be let out.

If you look at it this way, bike riding saved me. I became more confident and self assured of myself.  As a person and as a woman.  It is the thing that I recognized as who I really was.  Quirky, inquisitive, finding humor and joy in life.  Being truthful and honest with what I wanted.  Standing up for myself.

What will happen in 2018?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I do know that I am fiercely holding onto the unshackled me.  The one dedicated to continue bike riding, hanging with my bike riding friends and fiercely defending that.

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