Inspired by thoughts of the choices we must make
if we are to be fully awake and present
for the second half of our lives.
It’s my Love’s birthday and I make this painting with him in mind.
He’ll be 56 and I’m soon 52. Fifty-six and fifty-two. I think we are both a bit alarmed. Our beloved Mums have died in the past few years, mine in 2011 and his in 2012. We are being forced to make friends with our own mortality. After three years of grieving for my Mum in various ways that seemed to render me half asleep most of the time, I finally wake up and realise that this life is not forever, I will die too. I’d like to think it won’t be any time soon. But it could be as soon as this evening, couldn’t it? Last year a friend of mine died in her fifties without warning. I wonder when you imagine that you will go. And when you actually do exhale your last breath, will you feel that you have truly lived, or will you go thinking… ‘I wish I had done or tried or been or seen…’?
I don’t want to be a human being who dies with regrets. It is what I fear the most. As I come up to my 52nd birthday I fear it more than ever.
I’d thought I was doing rather well. I had a bit of a wake up call nearly ten years ago when my second husband left me and I was pushed into choosing and embracing an adventure that got me dancing tango and travelling to Buenos Aires, writing a book about it and connecting with people all over the globe. Until Mum became ill, life had seemed to be expanding and I’d felt a growing sense of progress down a non-conformist path of the heart to authenticity and joy. Since she died, I’d wanted to run back to and cling on to some kind of safety net… the blood family I’ve got left, my family home, my home town, work by the hour that seems safer than wholly artistic or creative endeavours, every penny I’ve got in the bank… all stemming from fear of further loss. It’s like I’ve been pulled back towards some kind of ‘middle ground’. Safer, my mind tells me constantly. But a fraction of what my Higher Self or Soul knows is possible for me. Yes, I live between two countries and speak two languages and regularly dance tango after midnight with strangers in a foreign land (which is all a far cry and a big leap into adventure from previous life-stages I have lived). But… and it is a big but… I feel that this is not it for me. Not yet. I want and need to uncover more of what my life purpose might be and how I can give my ‘gift’ and leave the greatest possible legacy in the world. I need to write and paint and share my discoveries in case my story resonates with or helps anyone.
While I’m mulling all this around I start drawing and painting. The figure is based on my Love (because he’s going through all this too) but it’s got a female vibe in the body lines, or a Soul vibe… it could be any one of us, our hand on the door knob, considering the choices we will make at the threshold to the second half (or indeed any phase) of this lifetime on Earth. I think we owe it to ourselves to choose to ‘wear our crowns’.
The first ‘SALchemy painting’, born January 2015.
Mixed media on oil-painting paper 41x51cm.
In private collection.
I’ll be super-happy if you share my work. Please use short quotes from the piece if you like and do share the images, but always always link back here.
For any other use, please ask me first.
Share the love <3. © Sally Townsend Blake 2015