At 78 years old, my friend Dee (not her real name) has just lost 45 pounds, is working on her teeth, finished writing three novels and countless short stories, and vastly improved her fitness.
All under quarantine.
She’s interested in getting remarried, so she’s updating her wardrobe, keeping her old stuff for barn chores, loving her horses, and being utterly and totally in life.
I can’t speak for you, but this is my kind of woman. MY kind of woman. She is a take-no-prisoners, utterly responsible, Life. Be In It (that’s for you Aussie readers) kind of gal.
Should you be like Dee?
I didn’t say that. Nor am I implying it. What I am saying is that when Dee was handed time, she made it work for her.
Dee’s a juicy, funny, well-educated woman with a full life. When quarantine landed at her door, she didn’t sit down. She got busier. And so far it’s paid off.
She might not have found a partner (like me she likes athletic men), but she understands that if she wants one, she needs to be happy and smiling a lot (hence the teeth and the fitness upgrades), and she is looking forward to a few fancy upgrades in her closet.
What I love about this woman is her joie de vivre.
No matter how old she is, she is unsinkable.
Dee and I have both been writing our entire lives. She and I both love horses. If you are a horse woman who either never left the sport or, like many in their later years, have returned to it, you understand the passion and physical labor involved. And how much satisfaction we get from our animals.
I take riding lessons from Becky (not her real name), who just had a birthday. As a child, she was sold for sex by her mother, but she survived. Today she has nine horses, is in her late 50s, and is a superb trainer. I thoroughly love working with her, because, despite her horrific upbringing, she is indomitable.
Her horses, her mules, and her passion for making others better riders all add up to a full life, despite the obstacles she’s encountered.
So often the challenges we have to face early in life give us the strength and wherewithal to deal with what life hands us later on. Becky is one of those – as are all the other female role models whose choice of lifestyle and incredible spirit lead them to live out loud not in spite of but because of the hurdles they face.
During this year’s pandemic, I sold my house, moved 1200 miles to a new city, survived a horrible car crash and a spate of injuries along the way. Yet I’ve produced more than a thousand stories, launched a new website, won a grant, and bought a new house in a dream place.
And dropped the 30 quarantine pounds I packed on earlier this year. That doesn’t make me a superhero. But it does imply that I have awesome role models and inspirations like Dee and Becky.
Not everyone is wired to live this way. Not all of us can take the lemons of loss and abuse and discomfort and create living testaments to a life full of possibility. However, what you and I can do is learn from such people.
We can use their examples for inspiration. What might I choose to do differently? How might I choose to think differently? And what becomes possible if I am willing to take that chance?
Dee wrote me this early today:
“I barely notice this ‘lockdown’ except when I see a likely prospect on Match or eHarmony and there is no place to meet in my state right now… A friend said, ‘treat this like when the hero goes off to the monastery on a mountain top to study with the Zen master, and emerges a superhero.’”
As Gandalf said:
“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us.”
What superheroes do you have in your life? What everyday folks choosing to live incredible lives have inspired you during the pandemic? Who is watching what you’re doing, that they might be inspired? Please join the conversation!