There are some things I am still afraid of. Some people think being an actress makes me immune – instant courage. Not so. I admit I have a larger heaping teaspoonful of it, but sometimes I am not who I say I am. I’m… shy.
When I was born my mother said I was a big crier – not for no reason – for the most part I was a very happy baby, and I have the ‘toothless grin’ photos to prove it. (Hmm.. I’ll have to dig them up.) I loved to eat anything my mother put in front of me, and once my mom and Aunt Jane took turns shoving teaspoonfuls of jam into my mouth (yum!), between which I would cry bloody murder if they were just a little too slow. I was, and still am, voraciously in love with life. This is fairly new. Although I started out that way, life got in the way. Moving. Loss. Failure, disappointment. It’s called the 20s. My 30s were all about change. Huge transformative never-looking-back change. Phenomenal. And now that I’ve just entered my 40s, I’m on a new path – again. Instead of the baby crying out for another huge heaping teaspoonful, I sometimes hold back. I wait. I wonder. I question. I ponder.
Where does this hesitance for life come from? Fear. Lack of experience – and too much experience.
This past week we were introduced to our new neighbours. For the past 12 years we’ve been hanging with our ‘old neighbours’, who had really become family. I was sad to see them go (even though they’re only 12 minutes away). I also knew that change was good – for them and for us. They needed to grow as much as we did. We still visit them in their new digs, and they are just like newlyweds fighting over paint chips (after 45 years of marriage).
For us, we are like new as well. Our ‘new neighbours’ are younger and have a baby. That old house where our old neighbours used to sing and burn sticks outside and host boxing day parties is slowly changing into a new time, a new shape. Funny how perspective changes everything.
My shyness came in introducing myself, wanting to hang back and “give them some space”. I did that for about 3 weeks – well, almost 2 months. Once we emerged from our dwelling places into the sun of our first summer day we noticed each other out back, waved hands, joked about the leaves and the pile-ups, everything home-owners lack. The husband popped his head over the fence finally and asked, “Is it too early to ask Steve to have a beer?” I laughed and said, “No, he’s about ready” as my husband came climbing down a ladder with eaves-trough goo in his hands.
men on a break
That night the young couple came over with their baby and his mother. We sat on our deck and had a few. Talked and talked, laughed and shared stories. It was grand. I felt so lucky to be there with these new people, welcoming them in, and them too. I felt just as new as they did. It opened up a new era in our lives, a new possibility for sharing, for being a couple who can go out for dinner and leave the kids behind (we’re lucky, ours are 8 and 14). And of course, for our kids, babysitting. New days open up, sparkle and give new life, new energy, changes, comings and goings.
And – Ooh – Food! Lots and lots of food. My inner child was very, very happy. We feasted that night, broke bread together, shared the wine and the beer, and sat over an open fire.
This is a life worth talking about. Worth sharing. Always and forever, New.
P.S. I have such great pictures to share – I’ll hunt them down and insert them later. Love.