Determining our path in life is a lifelong adventure. Yes, there are many off-ramps that we will likely take that sometimes lead us astray. There are also paths that seemed right at the time, but ended up being dead-ends. That’s OK, as long as we don’t linger too long in them.
Every one of us has the right to choose our own path in life, as long as, in the process, we don’t deny others their personal journeys. That seems to be a lesson that is tragically missing in so many who presently call themselves “Christian”. They are totally convinced that they alone have all the answers for your life, and if you don’t do as they say, then you are simply WRONG. Certainly, there are some paths in life that I don’t fully understand or are comfortable with, but that does not make them wrong, only different. To each his own, so to speak.
The utmost tragedy of all this is that too many of us live our lives to meet the expectations of others. Often, members of our families tell us what we should do with our lives. That’s ok when we are young, but there comes a time, usually in our teenage years, where we insist on choosing our own paths.
Now on to a story about my recent choice of a path in my life:
When I moved into my RetCom (retirement community) 20 months ago, I was determined to do my best to fit into this new environment. This would be the first time in over 35 years that I had to do this on my own. Before her death, my wife always buffered me from my many of the problems I had in “fitting in”. I really didn’t know if I could now achieve this on my own, but I was determined to try.
I started out just trying to greet all these strangers around me with a smile and a friendly “hello”. But, being the “fixer” that I am, I started to try to figure out what I could contribute to make the community a better place to live. During the first 15 months or so, I tried four different things, but none of them resulted in any level of success.
Even my dining room experiences were anxious moments. Because I need some physical queues that I am speaking, I talk louder than most. All my deaf life, I have lived with “glances” when I speak in restaurants and other public places. I should have expected the same here, but for some naive reason, I thought the dining room would be different. It seems that whenever someone would come and sit with me for the meal, they would never repeat that same mistake again.
I also attended the Wednesday “Happy Hour” regularly for a couple of months. Mostly, I would look for a table that had a vacant spot for me. Then for a couple of weeks I got there early and sat at a table by myself. It ended up, almost no one chose to sit at my table, while all the other tables around me quickly filled up. That was the final kicker in my decision to skip social events and, for the most part, proceed to just enjoy the peaceful solitude of my apartment. That isn’t what I planned, but seems to be the best path forward.
6 thoughts on “The Path I Chose…”
Isn’t it interesting that our life has lessons it tries to teach us as long as we live. Nothing ever stays the same, and no decision can’t be refined, rethought, or rejected.
I find that fluidity ultimately comforting: no hole I have dug for myself is so deep I can’t climb out and go another way. Thanks for the reminder, RJ.
I like the words “no hole we have dug is too deep…”
How sad for other people, missing the experience of getting to know you because of some perceived difference. It was a disappointment and perhaps embarrassment to you–it would have been to me–but I also think you like your own company and find your interests engaging and enjoy having uninterrupted periods of time to deep dive into those interests. Maybe, as time goes on, someone losing their hearing will remember the class you attempted to start and come to you for suggestions, tips, or comfort. Most of all, though, perhaps it might mean something to you that you were willing enough and brave enough to give those endeavors a try. As I look back, one mild regret is that I wasn’t always brave enough to reach for something new. Other times, I’m proud of my efforts to change the status quo.
Thanks Linda for your thoughts. I am kinda gun shy after four attempts and no successes. I may try again in the future, if I decide to stay here, but it will take a while. Yes, I have had a few individuals who I have helped with hearing loss issues and technical/computer type things, and that made me happy. I just don’t know. But I am tired of my procrastination on this decision.
I understand you that you are uncomfortable in you place of residence. My mother had a very strong personality. She had lived alone for a number of years before. After her first year she retreated to her room.
She finally asked the social director in her residence to help her find a niche. She found a topic “Old Phoenix”, that gave her something to talk about and learn to converse with a number of people. She chose the louder session of eating ( Mom wore no hearing aides and spoke loudly- so did almost everyone in that sitting).
Talk about your interest in re-enactments (which is soooo cool). My sister’s mostly blind, almost completely deaf, spectrum engineer, father in law (94) learned bridge 15 years ago. He is now, very loudly, the center of his facility.
Like you, I am a natural “vocal fixer” 😎🥳😉
Not sure what the first part of those horrid “Christians” for have to do with the second part. I find people follow Christ because they are seeking answers. I must, really, walk in a different circle then you.
Thanks for the usual thought-provoking words, Janette. The staff here are almost always very friendly with me, and that is one of the reasons I have stayed for almost 2 years now. That and the realization that things can turn-on-a-dime healthwise.
I certainly do enjoy my own company and all my many projects I start. That is enough for me. Yes, you and I have walked in circles in life. To me, that is what makes our conversations meaningful. I love all the topics we cover.