On Life

Ordinary, differently

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!
Nietzsche

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Here at Jill’s Scene things have been rather quiet; a quiet that indicates calm but reflects change. For twenty years I’ve walked down this path,

up these stairs

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to this door or another earlier version of it.

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On the other side of that door I’ve worked my life’s work—or, at least, this portion of it—work that involved a lot of listening, and a lot more thinking and reflecting and learning, and no small amount of talking.

Now it’s done. I’ve closed this door for the very last time.

The reactions of others have been interesting—from obvious envy, to disappointment, to encouragement. Some are relieved—my stepping aside allows more room for them. Many have been taken by surprise. Others fear I’ll be on the sidelines of life because I’m no longer participating in the work force in the traditional manner; those people don’t know me very well.

What brought about this change? You could say it began here, in the Gulf of Thailand,

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with a conversation. All change begins with talking, right?

On an old supply boat that was the only transport to Koh Wai, a very small island best described as remote and rustic, John and I met a couple, maybe ten years older than I am, who were doing what we would like to do. Don’t put it off, was their sage advice. The day will come, sooner than you think, when you won’t be able to do it. Then, it was 2013, not working at my work, an occupation I spent more than eight years obtaining the letters after my name that enabled me to do it, in the way I wanted, seemed, well, ridiculous.

You could also say, it’s to do with family position – a theory which suggests your position as the oldest, middle, or youngest child influences how you are in the world. I once challenged a colleague to identify mine. I thought my family of origin structure was sufficiently complicated and I was sufficiently my own person that he was bound to get it wrong. He guessed/identified it correctly.

You could say, and I’d agree with you, this big change has it’s origins here: with these two entrepreneurial people.

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They each tackled life their way. They took risks, huge risks, both of them.  Dad was the business entrepreneur. And the chief encourager to do things differently. Mum just went out and did it. Most dramatically, when she was several years older than I am now, she went travelling on her own, around Europe for nearly five months. That made a huge impression – it was the eighties – not many women 60+ years did that kind of thing back then. Mum had never travelled on her own before, much less gone as far as Europe.

Before my parents, in every generation, as far back as we can trace, there have been risk takers. There had to have been—it’s only a willingness to try for a different way of life that leads people to the bottom of the world.

So, yesterday, I walked along the hall, down the stairs,

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with one last glance up at this skylight which,

IMG_5696along with all the other art deco features in this building, has been a daily reminder of the enduring nature of the work of the artisan, I walked through this door,

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into that very ordinary street to live my life, differently.

WP  Photo Challenge (extra)ordinary
(All these photos, with the exception of  the photo of my parents, were taken with my phone.)
Thursday Doors is a feature on Norm 2.0. Dan over at  No Facilities says he’s addicted!

52 replies »

  1. I’m catching up after 3 weeks away and this post is a beauty. Oh I do applaud your decision Jill, life is going to just blossom for you, the world, as they say, is your oyster now. Has John retired too? I will pack my cyber space bags and follow along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you! Sometimes we have to just ‘go for it’ and change the way we live our lives. I hope we can come along on the journey with you, make room in that rucksack… 😉

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    • HI Chris, She was away for five months and made friends with other travellers on the trip who she stayed in contact with for the rest of her life. A day or to after she left Dad rang me for help with the dishwasher – he didn’t know how to open the door, much less start it. The funny thing is, neither did I!

      Like

  3. I’m officially jealous but I can see how you would have mixed feelings. Thanks for the shout out. Best of luck with the next chapter. I hope you keep bringing us along for the ride.

    Like

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