by Dave Fremland, member, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
It started out as a joke. “I should write a book,” I would say. “I have had so many adventures.”
Nobody ever argued; in fact, without exception my friends all agreed. Then as soon as the thought came, it vanished and more years passed. With each decade there have been ups and downs, hurts and patches and more adventures, making the task even more daunting. Besides, what have I ever done that anyone else couldn’t do? I’ve only been bouncing along in the hope that one day I may find stability and peace. They have remained elusive, and my shadow of doubt has become a cage that I have always tried to break free of.
This year I turned 50 and, although I thought it wouldn’t happen to me, I found myself wondering if I would ever do anything meaningful, if I would ever have an effect on anyone or leave anything behind. My health suddenly presented me with fearful issues and I became unemployed. I started a midlife crisis.
I moved back home from a life abroad where I had finally found my ultimate desire, freedom. I saw my parents aging and my nieces grown up and I felt like I didn’t want to run away anymore. It was a hard pill to swallow but it was time to make amends and figure out how to be an adult.
During the process of reconnecting with my old friends, it became evident that I should write the story. After all, I still remember everything in detail where nobody else in my life can catch a clue. Again I was encouraged and again I didn’t feel important enough, but I tried. When I read back what I wrote, it was boring and flat. “Who would want to read this anyway?” I told myself. But those around me wouldn’t let me give up.
I started again but saw nothing unusual or interesting about me or my life. Oh sure, I call myself fabulous, but it isn’t real. Then Mom and I went to a healthy living conference and an Osher catalog crossed my path. “Hmm, Introduction to Writing and Critique; that may be fun,” I thought. I started the class with great enthusiasm. “Maybe I can write my book.”
The magic began slowly at first. I liked [instructor] Kathi Diamant’s ideas. New memories started to pop up; so many memories. Some so sad, I pray they will go back into repression; some so joyous I laugh out loud. All of them pushing their way out from my heart through my fingertips and onto the paper where they will live on.
With each story told, I grow lighter. I am learning about an amazing adventure I have been on without ever noticing. I am learning about my pain, my loves, what drives me and who has shaped me. I am finding a person I wish I’d known sooner. I am figuring out forgiveness.
I’ve found me.