Charting the course ahead

Ooookay people… On August 12th 2014 at precisely 11.45 pm I became a widow’. These words are taken from the first line of the introduction of my first book

‘The Funny Thing About Being a Widow?’ which I wrote as a consequence of the death of my 57-year-old husband after 36 years of marriage.

Fast forward to August 2020 and well…I did, somehow, survive the unimaginable, despite at one point actively plotting against the odds of doing so.

Thanks to a black hat, an irresistible smile, that all-important sense of humour and the click of a mouse on a dating site for old trouts…actually, I think it was called Senior Fish… No matter…I was hooked line and sinker and about to embark on another adventure with my name on it. Next month my new husband and I will celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary.

Last night, in what was an emotionally charged conversation, we shared our hopes and dreams which are inextricably linked along with our unending gratitude to whoever deserves to claim it for plotting our course thus far. The past? Well, that can’t be changed and we each live with our own. The here and now is more than we could have ever wished for but as we look towards the horizon the fear of not arriving there together is just too big to contemplate.

This fear is not uniquely amplified just by our individual vulnerabilities to COVID19 though a global pandemic of this magnitude does tend to focus the mind on your own mortality. It’s also the realisation that the commodity that is Time at our ages, in particular, means that there is more bloody sand in the bottom half of the egg timer than in the top. The ever-present optimists in both of our personalities help us to believe that as long as one of us has the strength to see that those shifting sands remain in motion we can eke out every precious hour minute and second.

Optimism, whilst a good thing can only take you so far…so we decided that some kind of a plan aimed at narrowing the odds of one of us breaking the egg timer might be a smart move. Problem? I get up every day completely oblivious as to its purpose and whilst this ‘seat of my pants’ approach to life has served me well until now I sense that I have probably been pushing my luck for some time.

Sooo I promise myself all the usual stuff. I am 60 years old with high blood pressure and a lifestyle which makes huge demands on my bottom and not much else. Now is The Time to drink those diet shakes I ordered a month ago but the reality is that by lunchtime I am ready to eat my own face and decide instead to eat sugary waffles with bacon with maple syrup so that I won’t be tempted by them tomorrow when I get really serious about losing weight.

I fall asleep during my exercise DVD… and that’s just during the warm-up. My office door has started to lock itself from the outside, though my husband who is an engineer can find no cause for it doing so and has, so far, failed to replicate the problem for himself. I am thinking I might ask him to finish my next book.

I readily admit that this would be an unfair imposition though because despite having many complex health issues to deal with himself he manages to motivate himself to walk daily, is working hard on our garden project and works full time to boot. I am in awe of his determination to be the best version of himself that he can be.

My efforts, by comparison, are pathetic. In my defence and, as I have said before, the lockdown has played havoc with a number of things not least my motivation but what better motivation do I need?

I am useless at planning stuff unless they involve long periods of playing out and I can’t manage to write a ‘to do’ list that is anything longer than a mid-week shopping list without getting bored. Why can’t I step up and match the efforts of the man I love to ensure that neither one of us is left high and dry? I know only too well how it feels to watch a boat set sail towards a sunset you are not destined to share, I never want to know that again and the thought that my inertia might inflict this experience on my husband is unbearable.

The human psyche is an odd thing and I’m not particularly fond of the tricks mine is playing on me just now but it hasn’t won yet and I will find a way to learn how to set those sails high and wide. Besides who needs waffles? My husband is far more important to me than a stack of waffles with lashings of maple syrup and bacon. I fully intend to start my healthy eating plan in earnest tomorrow…straight after I remove a tub of ice-cream out of temptations way… just kidding darling I love you much more than ice cream too.