I had reached a point in my life where I found myself female, fat and fifty. Feeling deflated, as I looked at my life thus far, I began counting the days left ahead in an effort to forget those behind me. Tired of pondering all of the things I hadn’t done in my lifetime and the magnificent dreams that I had only achieved in my sleep, I began to feel a bit melancholy. I could remember so clearly, the glorious days of my youth; the awards, the scholarships the good friends and my first love. It was also easy to recall the mistakes of the past few years; the weight gain, the drinking, the break-up and the loneliness, but there was a large part of living which had gone missing in between.
I stood at the window, staring at the huge maple tree in the center of my yard and watched the leaves change colors before my eyes. The autumn wind puffed and panted driving them from their branches and sending them spinning madly, down to the earth below. I imagined myself as one of those falling leaves, spiraling frantically, out of control. Like the sturdy maple, I had enjoyed the bloom and flourish brought on by the warm rains of springtime. The summer sunshine had warmed my entire soul, helping me grow and blossom into a unique and beautiful individual, ready to thrive and accomplish great things in the world. However, the crispy autumn winds had crept so unexpectedly upon me and halted my growth and progress, leaving me here twisting in the wind, incredibly alone and dreadfully afraid.
What would become of me now I wondered? Was there anything left to look forward to? Was it too late to dream, hope, or even plan the final season of my life? I was fifty years old after all, ancient in the eyes of many. In all actuality, going on would be more like starting over, since I had nothing of value to call my own. I had driven away my lover, squandered all of my money and snubbed most of my friends. My business was failing and there was no hope of another career in sight. The final point of concern was my health, which in all honesty, might be the greatest nightmare of all. Without a doubt I ate too much. This was evident every time I peeked into my walk-in closet filled with expensive clothes that would not button anymore. The scale did not lie and it screamed DANGER every time I stepped upon its back. The empty bottles of wine stashed in my garage and under my sink exposed another bad habit that I had developed during my mid-life crisis. The alcohol and food binging, combined with the sleeping pills I needed to put my stress to sleep at night, all added up to a heart attack just waiting to transpire.
Feeling quite beleaguered, I strolled into my sitting room, tossed a log on the hearth and proceeded to light a warm comforting fire. As I sat alone, in resounding silence, a sensation of peace and tranquility came over me and I began to dream, an extravagance in which I had not allowed myself to indulge, for quite some time. I thought about my lonesome, solitary life as the fire crackled beside me and my head filled with words, phrases and ideas. Eventually my mind became so full that the words began crashing into one another. I pushed myself out of my old leather chair and stumbled to my great grandfather’s roll top desk, where I rummaged around for an old and worn diary that I had not looked at in at least a dozen years. The soft covered journal felt soothing in my hand, as I reclaimed my warm seat by the fire. It wasn’t long before I began to write. The words cascaded onto the page like April rain tumbling from the sky. I wrote and recorded for hours upon endless hours and only ceased writing when I noticed a chill in the room as the embers in the fireplace finally winked out. Glancing out the window, I observed thousands of silent stars twinkling in the pitch black sky and yawned as I turned to stared at the countless pages I had filled in just one short night. Perhaps life hadn’t closed its door on me yet. Maybe I actually had something special left to offer others in the words I could share and the lessons I could teach. I stood and stretched my arms above my head as I felt exhaustion overtake me. I smiled with satisfaction as I tenderly placed the sleepy journal on the coffee table. I headed up the stairs to my bedroom with a true sense of purpose and the undeniable realization that I would not need a pill to fall asleep tonight.