Living Unscripted: It’s Only Life – Just Keep Peddling!

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It must be my hair. No less than two people a day ask me for directions when I’m out and about. Sadly, I don’t understand a word they’re saying so I respond with a sympathetic shrug, “sorry, I don’t speak Hebrew.”  They seem surprised and I walk off taller, more confident.  I’m blending in.

Clearly, after 2 weeks here, I’ve adapted an approachable Israeli style.  Curly hair, flip-flops, baggy pants and backpack … I’ve gotten into a predictable routine — wave to local shopkeepers en route, spend time in favorite sidewalk cafes – and I’ve been biking. Jewish biking. I call it that because the only bikes for rent in Tel-Aviv are “electric” bikes. Less effort than a bicycle but more than a moped because you still have to peddle. There’s simply a 30-second “zoom zoom” that kicks in after the third “peddle-peddle-peddle” – launching you further, faster than a regular bicycle, without breaking a sweat (Jewish girls don’t like to sweat — with all due respect to Jewish readers who feel otherwise). I delight in the zoom moments, sailing past regular bikers with ease: Wonder Woman post menopause.

My birthday present from my kids (finally) arrived a week late (mailed by their dad… I’m just sayin’).  To aid me in my now fearless roaming, they sent a small but functional compass pendant along with a note that read “So you don’t get lost — and to help you find your way back home.”

I wonder about that.  Feeling lost. And will I find my way back home?  Where is home?

With WIFI access 24/7, I’m SKYPING back to my buddies probably more than I should.  I’m feeling unsettled, dreaming about losing things.  I downloaded episodes of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, GRAY’S ANATOMY and BROTHERS & SISTERS to watch before I fall asleep … or when I first wake up, even though I know it’s impeding my emersion.  I let it. I’m catching up, looking back … I have a sense of wanting to cling to something that seems to evaporate when I try to grasp it.  So I plug in, download and reconnect to a safer zone.

Sixty days on the road and I’m still waking up without a life plan; I tell myself to let it flow. I had to stay at my cousins house longer, waiting for a space to open up on the Kibbutz – that’s okay, because I can’t change it; I’m wearing what’s clean (rather than what’s fashionable) – that’s okay, because it’s what I have.  I’m deleting email from my ex, unread – that’s okay, because I can (smile).  Bond, James, told me he can’t get away again until sometime in March – that’s okay, because it is what it is.

Despite the language barrier, I’m starting to speak up, reach out and connect to strangers on trains, in cafes. But when my friend Karen asked me the other day who I went biking with, I replied excitedly “me, myself and I … all 3 of us… we had the BEST time!”  We LOL’d, appreciating the joy of being alone – but it’s true. For the first time in my life, I like flying solo, which begs the question – will it be forever thus?

My ex (husband) phoned my ex (boyfriend) on my birthday no less, to compare notes on options for prostate cancer … N-I-C-E.  The two of them bonding over a shared disease … how crazy is that? Surfer Dude checked in via email with a Camus quote: “You have to fall in love — in order to justify all the despair you are going to feel anyway,” thinking I would appreciate the thought. Me, who still claps for Tinkerbell… am I missing something here or is he nuts? Doc asked to reconnect around the New Year — and disappeared again once I responded — and Bond, James, is SKYPING me while preparing Monsieur Magret’s delicious duck recipe for his Florida Filly among others at a dinner he’s hosting Saturday night in Tampa.

Men.

And then there’s the job issue.

I don’t have one.

I’m a long way away from the Great White Way and a spring season that’s popping up in theaters all over Broadway without me … not that it couldn’t

I saw four shows when I was in Paris from my seat in the house, observing the audience and enjoying the anonymity.  But I’ve been in the offices here, introducing myself, making connections.  On the first day I got lost walking around Tel-Aviv, my eye caught a glimpse of a billboard-sized poster of what looked like a play.  So despite the only English words mounted on the outside wall: DANCE MUSIC OPERA, I wearily wandered in to what turned out to be one of Tel-Aviv’s largest theatrical theaters, asked for the Managing Director and met, apparently, an icon.  After very fun theater banter he kindly gifted me 3 tickets to their Saturday night performance that included a personal tour before the show, making me a hero celeb with my family here.  This past week I met the International Managing Director of another major theater in Tel-Aviv…  and my producer friend in London emailed a few days ago… would I like to partner with her on a small revival of NINE at the Landor Theatre this fall??

There’s no business like show business — and I think I miss it.

Last fall, Bond, James, made a 7-second video of me rolling over, draped mostly in a comforter, quasi nude, with my boots on.  He separated the frames and pencil sketched them in succession, as if in motion, on one big sheet of paper.  When we SKYPED the other night, he rotated the camera so I could see the finished product framed and hanging on his living room wall. “Art” he called it.  Well, I may not be sitting at the table Saturday night for his interpretation of Monsieur Magret’s duck, but a pretty accurate drawing of my “artsy” butt and boots will be very much present.

So maybe my underlying wiggly feeling is what it is: catching up, looking back, holding on to pieces of the road that led me here –and letting fly a few sparks zipping me forward.  In spurts.  Like my Jewish bike.  Peddle Peddle Peddle, zoom zoom, peddle peddle peddle …

It’s all for learning.

It’s all for learning.

Shaz, it’s all for learning.

And you sooo are,

— The Universe

NOTE TO SELF:  Unplug.

Read more of Shaz’s Living Unscripted

About Shaz

I’m 59 and never expected to be divorced and, having raised a big family in the city I grew up in, to be still living there now completely on my own. My parents are gone and my grown children have opted for smaller towns. My father passed away this past February and my children suggested I take off and make a world tour of all my friends overseas…In piecing that together in my mind, I imagined taking a boat across, as I did the first time I went to Europe with my grandmother, as a teenager – and in that vision, I imagined taking those first five days and writing. Writing about where I’d been, writing about what I want, writing about the crossing over from my past to my future.

In reestablishing myself as a single woman, I’ve made new connections with some fabulous women and realized I’m not the only one going through this; there are other women out there who are also on a journey to becoming whole again. I hope my personal adventure will help us all find humor in the aging process –and confidence in following our hearts.

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