This year, I have decided to travel light. That’s really good news for my husband who has always said he feels like a donkey carrying all the baggage when we go on trips. But he is not off the hook yet. I did not mean it literally.
What I am doing is shedding. Like coming home to a warm house after a long walk on a cold, frosty morning and removing the layers of clothing. First the hat, then the scarf, followed by the gloves, that heavy, wet coat and lastly those cumbersome boots.
I’m doing the shedding in stages as well.
First to go are the things which cause pain. Like the tight-fitting jeans that I put on with my face scrounged in pain as I contort my body into them. It’s time to get those senior-friendly versions with the elastic waistband.
Much as I am letting go of those figure-hugging clothes of the size 34 I used to be; in the autumn of my life, I choose to be with the people who make me breathe. And smile. Friends far or near who I know I can count on for solace. With whom I feel safe. And with whom I am comfortable enough to share a dirty joke or a bitchy remark without fear of judgement. Never feeling needlessly exposed and vulnerable. Accepted for being just me.
Next to go are the responsibilities I have taken on for myself. Yes, tasks I have volunteered for or even created for myself. I liked to say that I bloom where I am planted. I am now rooted to the ground. There is no longer any need to reinvent myself with every move. No longer any need to prove that I am more than just another lady with time on her hands - available and capable! Need someone to organize the church group? Here I am. Need reading support for the class? Here I am. Need someone to edit the newsletter? Here I am.
I can finally put my hand down.
I have (at long last!) realized that I just do not have that kind of energy anymore. Because the years do take their toll. And the person who has always been supportive of all my grand schemes and dreams has gotten old too. My donkey’s back can no longer drag crates of beer and shopping bags full of groceries from the supermarket to the car, from the car to the basement and back up again for the events that I have organized. It is time for younger, fitter beasts of burden to takeover that task.
Next to go are the I-have-to’s. I’ve come to a point in my life where I can actually afford to ask myself – Do you have to? And that reply should be – Only if you want to.
I am taking my time with this unburdening. Every decision has to be made with care. Specially if it affects others. And it nearly always does. Because none of us live on an island isolated from the rest of the world. Life is so interconnected that when you let go of one thing, you can almost hear and feel the dominoes as they fall down the line. Yes, some things will take longer to let go of. Maybe even not at all.
The crucial question now is: what do I want to carry as I travel through these last years of my life?
This is such a quick, tasty dish to make. Perfect for the Fridays of Lent!
500 grams fresh, peeled and deveined prawns or shrimps (frozen ones are just as good as fresh!)
2 tbsp. cooking oil (not olive oil)
1 tbsp corn starch diluted in ¼ cup water
Pound or blend :
· 2 red chilies ( 1 if you like it less spicy)
· 1 big piece of garlic
· thumb size ginger
In a separate bowl, mix :
· 1 tbsp. sesame oil,
· a pinch of salt
· 1 tbsp sugar
· 2 tbsp tomato paste
Procedure : Heat the oil in a pan, add in the pounded ingredients. Saute till fragrant. Stir in the prawns. Cook for a couple minutes until the prawns turn pink, making sure they are coated with the spices. Pour in the sesame oil and tomato mix. Blend well. Taste to see if it needs any more salt or sugar. Thicken with the corn flour mixture. Stir every thing once again. Quickly turn the heat off. Do not overcook the shrimps.
Serve topped with a few coriander leaves or some sliced spring onions.
Family or party stretcher : You can also cook a few hard boiled eggs, peel them, cut them in half and lay them on the bottom of a serving dish and pour the Chili Prawns over them.