Jul 05, 2024, 06:27AM

Choosing Battles

Independence is a reward of curating the life you want.

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I’ve been 55 for six weeks, and would think I’d be complaining more, but am finding it’s a groove I might be able to get used to. The AARP card is sitting on the counter glaring at me, and after it finds its way to my wallet I might actually use it at a Denny’s and become a complete walking cliche because who doesn’t love a good deal on Moons Over My Hammy.

It’s 4th of July week and as we ponder concepts of freedom and independence as they relate to our government, we often think of our lives and what freedom and independence mean to our humanity. Twice a month at my little witchy new moon and full moon ceremonies, I take a tiny wooden “fuck” out of the jar and burn it. Eventually they’ll be gone; I’ll have no more fucks to give. What is it the t-shirts say: may the bridges I burn light the way. I still have things to accomplish: a few books underway— it’s tough to find a financial way to complete them while I’m still scraping together rent every month, but I’ll get there one way or another.

There’s a newly-acquired confidence that comes in your 50s. It’s an ability to stop “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” that nagging feeling of someone who’s going to get you in trouble for not doing a good job on something or fucking it up. I realize now I’m perfectly capable of screwing certain things up at times, but that most of the time I work pretty hard and do my best. When things go badly they aren’t always my fault, though I take accountability when needed.

I’ve learned that letting go of things and people that aren’t right for you is a powerful ally, a strength not a weakness. My codependent people-pleasing nature has been a burden that it’s become a blessing to put down after lots of therapy. I spent too many years and energy trying to fix things and people who didn’t deserve the level of love I’m proud to provide. No love is wasted, so I have no regrets, but moving forward I’ll be more careful choosing where I expend my energy.

Simplifying life is a good way to appreciate it. Choosing a few activities, work pursuits, hobbies, and people you truly enjoy, and focusing efforts and time on these things and people; it’s often that simple. The curation and weeding of life’s garden so that you aren’t wasting time and energy on the wrong things and people is one of the secrets to happiness, so that’s what I’ve worked on learning. The grass is green where you water it; if people want to walk away from you, let them—why exhaust yourself chasing anything or anyone. Their departure is about them, not you—that’s been a tougher lesson to learn, but a freeing one in this week as we celebrate independence (allegedly, even while the Supreme Court took a dump on the founders by exonerating a criminal past President—my two cents is that Biden should pass a law saying any president who’s been impeached more than once can’t run again).

So we live, we learn, we grow. To me, as someone who grapples with mental health issues, always working to prioritize and improve control over emotions (independence, for me), and relationships, I think about these things. With age, comes more wisdom.


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