I flipped through a book on leadership not too long ago and found not only passages highlighted by Rick, but even a handwritten list of significant changes he had made to improve himself. I’ve shared the list with his daughters and we all agree each item on the list resonates true.
The book is Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within by Robert E. Quinn. Rick read it while transitioning from an executive role to leadership consulting. The major theme throughout the book is that “we must continuously choose between deep change or slow death” (Page xiii). Using his own resilience and self-knowledge, consultants, books and counselors, Rick had already taken huge strides into a life of greater integrity before he opened this particular book.
I do not have the strength of character I saw in Rick, but I end 2017 stronger and more self-aware than ever before.
“Time heals all wounds” is simply poppycock. I will always have our love embedded inside me and I will never stop feeling his absence. Time, however, does change things. I admit that I probably have tinted my memories of our good times a rosier hue. Remembering arguments and misunderstandings hurt, so I don’t linger on those. I revel in the knowledge of our passion and commitment to one another – we truly had an unusually close relationship.
If I had tried to continue with the life and activities we shared, that surely would have been a slow death for me. A widow cannot remain the same woman she was before; she has to undergo significant change. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I have picked up activities and friends, and discarded some of both. I have tried to find my way to the best of my ability and overall I am satisfied with my journey so far.
Recently I was at a party to celebrate the publication of a new book. Also in attendance was a couple to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for pushing me into writing. Last year a local city’s marketing staff was looking for someone to write lighthearted posts about cycling; this particular couple, as leaders in the cycling community, was asked for recommendations and reached out to me. It was just a few months after Rick’s passing and I turned them down flat. After further consideration, I realized I was the perfect candidate for the writing assignment. That grew into a second assignment with the same municipality and this personal blog. At the book party two other possible writing assignments emerged.
With Rick by my side I was a different and more joyful woman. I am undergoing deep change to live more abundantly in my new life. I love my family, I value my friends, and I look forward to 2018’s adventures!
It’s hot; it’s cold. You’d think at my age swings in temperature wouldn’t affect my body as much as they do. And there are certain unreasonable rules of life. While I still had hot flashes they seemed to come unbidden after I was dressed and had on my makeup. Now when temperatures reach 80 degrees in Florida in December it seems to trigger something akin to those irksome hot flashes. The other night I was at a party which spilled out into a lovely lanai area, but there were insufficient breezes to keep me cool and dry. Thank goodness I didn’t wear a holiday sweater!
If I am bicycling, then I expect to swelter. If I am off to a social event, then I certainly don’t want to be a woman who “glows.” (Some Southerners say that horses sweat, men perspire and women glow. I am definitely a woman, but I do more than glow!)
Some of my cyclist friends are so efficient they don’t even have a bag on their bikes – the lighter the load, the faster they ride. I have a big bag behind my recumbent bike seat that has a folded tire, at least one tube, assorted tools, a lock and some first aid items. There’s the inevitable mobile phone and ID, too. This time of year the bag also may hold a brightly-colored vest, windbreaker and full-finger gloves! I may start out shivering, but in a few miles I start stripping off the extraneous clothes and stuffing them in my bag.
I have been going through my closets again. Do I really need to hold onto more than a few wintry coats in case I ever find myself in northern climates in the winter? (Uh, maybe not.) Do I really need black pants in a light weight, mid-weight and thick ponte knit? (Yes.) Even if Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, does that mean it is a “must” to have a purple tee-shirt, purple blouse and purple sweater? (Definitely!)
Going through closets also means assessing my need to hang onto Rick’s clothing. Most of his items were donated long ago, but there are some pieces with which I am loath to part because they were favorites of his. I also keep his bright yellow bicycling vest and windbreaker hanging next to mine for no other reasons than that’s what we always did and it brings me comfort. I have come so far in these past 18+ months, yet every day — multiple times a day — I think of him and wish he was still here. (I’d even cull my clothing to give him more closet space!)
As you think of loved ones no longer at your holiday tables this season, I wish you love, peace and joy.
I almost took the leap last week. Dogs are wonderful companions and it will be twenty-six years this Christmas Eve since my last beloved dog passed away. I have been getting more and more sturdy and stable in my new life, and have been considering what other challenges I might take on. While noodling around on the Internet, looking at various dog breeds and rescues, I saw a really, really sweet furry face. I read up on her and with much trepidation, drove to a no-kill shelter a few counties away.
The little dog was so cute, yet so scared of people she would not make eye contact with the seasoned volunteer, much less me. We spent time outside with her, trying to interest her in meeting me, playing with a ball – anything – but she desperately wanted only to return to her kennel and kennel-mate. She came from a hoarding situation, so she prefers being around dozens of dogs.
I can’t bring a dog like that home to be an “only” dog, even if I provided her with human companionship, exercise and a healthier life.
This thought process naturally led to introspection. I’m an only child, an introvert and I attended seven different schools for twelve grades. So I am opposite from this rescue dog – in many cases I prefer not being around dozens of people. This past Sunday I was with friends from sunrise to sunset and didn’t get my usual “down” time. Within a few days, I was desperate to be by myself – silence is golden!
My core remains static; my exterior is transmuted by life.