“Je ne regrette rien.”
Gosh, for DECADES – since French 101 with Margaret York – I’ve looked for a reason to quote the Little Sparrow. Finally, I do!
For the second time over the past sixteen years, John & I are running on financial fumes, with any number of interesting possibilities hanging over our head.
Looking at our money in/money out last year compared to this & wonder – should we have done things differently?
Last year, we paid off our 2015’s tax obligations & 2016’s home costs & life expenses & $$ dental work AND underwrote my taking a January memoir writing workshop at Rowe Conference Center, the Leading to Well-Being Conference in the spring, the mid-summer Positive Aging Conference -and- the early fall National Center for Creative Aging Conference.
Do I regret shelling out the serious big bucks for those moments; would it have been wiser to store up our dollars like so many nuts against a potential income freeze?
Non, non et non!
It wasn’t that we believed 2016 marked our return to Summer 2001 prosperity. Hoped – naturally. But we know that having an older client base makes long-term projecting impossible.
Would we have set aside the funds for any one of the four “splurges” to boost 2017’s dearth of dollars? Non! Our attitude was that the return made from my attending each of those was significant enough to outweigh any other consideration. That whatever hard financial times might crop up in the future, the forever benefits of what could & did come from each far outweighed any potential dire dilemmas.
AND WE WERE RIGHT! We could be tossed on the street come Jan 2018, kept warm by a kaboodle of cats, but what was gained by me & indirectly by John was worth even that prospect. It could turn out that being literally show our own door could be the genesis of a great book, leading to lecture tours & our own joint TED talk.
Because each of those events, from NW Mass to D.C. (2!). to northern VA revealed a new level of me to ME ~and~ I was old enough to hear see appreciate & APPLY what I heard saw appreciated.
That last – applying what I’d learned, experienced – was worth every penny spent & way more. Applying what’s known & ostensibly understood was/is where my family went/goes horribly awry.
“Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.” “Courage of the deed. Grace for the doing.”
The motto of Lower Merion High School came into my life in my late teens. A friend introduced me to the second, Shipley’s motto, just yesterday at Be Well.
It’s a 6-minute, 2.6 mile drive between the two schools, but they are forever connected in my heart. Neither is what I saw reflected in my surviving family, but their truth is clearly shouted out & LIVED by the dearest family of my heart.
With Mom, Peter & Mim, what mattered most was what you PLANNED to do, not what you completed. As Mim explained it more than once to me & (sadly) lived, to keep the image of what could be accomplished at its greatest, leave it forever inviolate in your imagination, unsullied with the grunge work that would turn it into reality but forever less than imagining.
It speaks volumes, at least to me, that my keenest memory of the most awesome friends any human could have is of Dave stripping & refinishing a bureau for his unborn 1st child’s bedroom. Stronger even than “Mom” Z teaching me how to play Yahtzee or Mark trying to say Chubby Bunny through a mouth stuffed with golden-toasted extra large marshmallows. It gave the young dad-to-be such pleasure to be taking each step toward completion – small wonder it’s seared into my heart, personifying as it does courage for the deed, grace for the doing.
It took one Omega workshop, three Leading to Well-Being Conferences, two NCCA Conferences, one Rowe workshop, one Positive Aging Conference & the 2017 International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress to get me to the point where it’s possible to realize that my CORE problem, the thing I didn’t see in my life even when Dad was alive was the basic understanding that end of any process is COMPLETING it. If I was to go back in time & share that interesting factoid with my elementary & high school teachers, they’d look struck with a Eureka! moment, smack their desks & exclaim, ‘THAT explains her!”
Regrets for shelling out the event, transportation, lodging meal costs, from $$ for the first two NCCA conferences (stayed with friends outside DC) to the $$$$$$ IAGG in SF? Encore – non. We could lose our place, but it pales in comparison to finally finding mine, after a 40+ year search. We could be car-less by 12/01/17 if Gibbs doesn’t pass 11/17 inspection (don’t count him out – he has 1444,000 miles on his odometer & packing tape sealing cracks on the front passenger window, but he is stout-hearted & true), but if are, will consider it an exercise in character building.
If we lost everything – which we hope won’t happen, but could – it would be nothing compared to all we’ve gained from investing in my conference/workshop bops.
Omega 2014* ? $$$.
NCCA Conference 2015** & 2016*** ? $$$$.
2017 IAGG World Congress* ? $$$$$$$.
The cost of finally feeling grounded in a sense of BEing wholly human, a mega step toward seeing feeling experiencing the divine in all? PRICELESS.
Is that truly worth financial fumes? Oui!
*Underwritten by friends **Costs split between friends & myself ***WE underwrote