It’s been 6 days since the last update. So much has happened, yet not really that much of importance – I’ve been to radiation each day, to Physical Therapy once and today, I showed up late for the session by half an hour so missed the session totally! My own bad planning – I was having breakfast post-radiation with Jonathan Labman who came in from Pennsylvania for the morning. It was great catching up with him. Last time we saw one another was over a year ago when I went to visit him and his husband, Ray, in their beautiful Lumberville home (total population of Lumberville is about 200, so very different from NYC.).
Yesterday, I was accompanied to my therapy by Buffy McDevitt-Feinsod who was one of my closest friends in Peace Corps in Senegal. She had come in from Colorado and we had a chance to catch up on our lives since we last met in Malibu, California 4 years ago. It was amazing to see that walking over to NYU and back, in spite of my slow speed, I was faster than Buffy. Buffy is a super talented jeweler and I am blessed to have a few Buffy originals in my home. The day before was a catch up day with Carlos Motta for lunch, with Miguel Moscoso for breakfast plus Antonio every evening over and after dinner.
All of these days helped me to gain new perspective on what is going on with me. A few observations/lessons:
- I need to let go and let the universe carry me forward without putting too much pressure on myself to BE anywhere or anything other than where I am. I need to breathe in and breathe out and take in all that is happening to me and around me. If I am tired, I am tired; if I am happy, I am happy; if I am sad; I am sad. If I am frustrated, I am frustrated. I don’t need to force anything, even if I have always tried to be 100% in control. It’s better to just let the universe use me as it sees fit.
- I need to take care of myself and not feel obliged to take care of anyone else. This includes my friends, my family, or anyone else who may need help right now. I have been there for my friends and family as much as I could have been and now is payback time to just absorb all the love and support coming my way.
- I need to focus on the things I want to do and need to get through this process and not feel obliged to do more than I want/need to do. And if that means I don’t go to the gym as much as before, or that I don’t write daily blog entries, or that the blog site doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles working 100%, that’s okay. I will lighten up on the blog entries and only write when I am inspired to do so.
- I need to eliminate the things from my life that don’t add energy and worse yet, things that take energy from me. For example, dealing with the fact that my Citibank American Airlines’ MasterCard has refused to reimburse me for the flight from Paris to NY even after several appeals – letters, emails and phone calls – and in spite of the fact that we’re talking about “only” $3000 when I spend up to $5000 a month on that card, well too bad for me! I canceled the card and will just let go of the rest. No law suits, no media pursuit…. It would just take too much energy and in the end, likely get me nowhere. I can’t claim to be rich, but I do have enough money to pay my bills, enjoy my travel, go to NY’s theaters, restaurants, museums… if I am with $3000 less, it will not really affect my way of life.
- I need to spend more time with family and friends who add energy to my life. And this should be all done selfishly – because I WANT to do so, not because I SHOULD do so! Why plan meals, theater, social time with people who do not add to my life in a positive way?
- I need to realize that I may never have it all and that is okay. I will be 66 in July and while I had thought that by now, all of the ducks would be lined up fully, that is not the case. But I can and should appreciate that there are enough ducks lined up that I can be grateful for all that are in place in my life.
- I need to realize that I will never have the perfect body and just let go of that “ideal” and accept what I have been graced with. Antonio tells me everyday that I have a beautiful body and that I am sexy. And while I may not fully believe him, I do know that for a man my age, I’m not “that bad.” Do I need to go every day to the gym? While on Fire Island, do I need to walk daily 1½ to 2 hours to Water Island? Probably not; yet at the same time, I need to recall that the reason I’m doing as well as I am is that I have taken care of my physical vessel through good nutrition, exercise, leading an active lifestyle, etc.
- I need to really learn to just relax and let go. I don’t need to be on the go 24/7. It’s okay to just sit and meditate, listen to music and/or read. I don’t have to go go go all day long…. It’s not even healthy to do so! A slower pace is good for me physically and emotionally. So I need to give in and relax more. When I am on the sofa, I don’t need to be texting and emailing – responding to everyone who sends me a message instantly. Life – both mine and theirs – will go on if a response comes later.
- I need to accept that I will likely disappoint people and hurt people who may not “deserve” to be disappointed or hurt. I am not the perfect friend, brother, uncle, son, partner…. But I do well enough that I can be pleased with what I offer. I don’t want to be complacent and not give what I can, but I don’t have to and cannot please everybody all the time.
- I need to let Antonio’s love nourish and sustain me. He gives so freely and in spite of my resistance sometimes, I know that what he offers is done so with such an amazing generosity of heart that now is the time to just let his light shine in! Sleeping with him each night invigorates me and offers me physical and emotional joy.
- I need to let go of friendships that don’t nourish me. If I feel that I am doing all of the giving and am not getting enough in return, time to let go. I recall Stephen Covey’s metaphor about emotional bank accounts. We make deposits and withdrawals in all of our relationships. But when the withdrawals are larger than the deposits, it’s time to say goodbye.
I’m sure there are other lessons that came out of these conversations and that I’ll learn even more when I meet with other friends over the next few weeks. I’ll add on these lessons as they reveal themselves.
In the meantime, here’s wishing everyone a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. My plan is to just relax and spend time on the beach reading under an umbrella.