It’s not often that you get a chance to start life over, especially not after you reach a “certain age.” But Whitley and I are doing it, and it’s exciting!
After my recent brain hemorrhage, I started over in a big way. I had to learn to do a lot of things I’d always taken for granted all over again. For instance, when I first “woke up,” I found I couldn’t read non-digital clocks. I’ve since learned that our ability to tell time resides in one specific part of the brain, and that part was swollen. They test this by giving you a blank clock face and telling you to draw hands that show 10 minutes past 2 (meaning both hands point to the 2). I even asked for a digital watch for Christmas, which I never could figure out how to use, but now I’m back to reading regular clock faces again.
But when I say that we’re starting over, I don’t just mean me. We’re starting over as a couple, embarking on a new career in film and television. We’re as thrilled as kids getting their first job! We’re moving to a smaller place, deep in the country, which means I’m going to have to get rid of years of collected furniture and “junk.” This doesn’t make me unhappy, though, because I learned an important lesson the last time this happened.
The last time was when we moved from our country house in New York State to Whitley’s hometown in Texas. We were lonely out in the country in those days and we missed relatives and old friends. Our son had grown up and moved out and the big house was eerily still and empty.
I soon learned that transporting the combined furniture from a country house and a New York City apartment across the country meant that much of it got lost or damaged along the way. But when I finally got my “stuff” back, I discovered I didn’t care. It was as if I’d had some sort of “Zen” mind cleansing: I simply didn’t care as much about “things” anymore.
Like so many events that come couched as tragedies, this turned out to be a gift in disguise, because I’ve never cared much about amassing things since that time (and it’s been almost ten years). In my New York days, I HAD to have a fur coat because everyone else had one; now I wear tee shirts, jeans and sneakers. As a poor young couple, we lived for years using milk crates for end tables and boards and cinder blocks for bookshelves, and all during that time, I was envious of other people’s beautifully furnished homes. Now I couldn’t care less and plan to get rid of as much of my furniture as I can. When I’m with a group of people who discuss items they desire or start bragging about the ones they have, I get bored and think to myself, “Can’t we talk about something INTERESTING, like ideas?”
Is this a better way to live? Yes, it is, and I feel lucky to be able to do so. The future holds nothing but promise for us. I love all of you and wish you a wonderful future too.
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