Perhaps it was the hot toddy.

Or maybe it was just the effects of “the crud” that I’d woken up with that morning and struggled with all day.
Whatever the cause, I had a less-than-positive realization just before midnight this past Saturday.
I’ve come full circle. I’m reliving my late-teen years!
The music and movies are different, and so much has changed in the world around me, but my personal circumstances are eerily similar.
About this time a couple of . . . okay, a few decades ago, I faced some slightly unpleasant physical changes. After being physically active and fit during my childhood and early teen years, once I entered senior year in high school and on into college, I no longer had PE every day or played any sports competitively. The change in how my clothes fit and how I felt was gradual and not too alarming, but I remember it was significant enough that I even tried running for a semester when I was 19. Running! Me! 
Of course, the recent physical changes are more noticeable and have more significant consequences.  Minor injuries (a torn meniscus) and changes in stamina and strength are an inconvenience. And when I see myself in a dressing-room mirror, I’m reminded anew that things are simply not staying put like they should! 
But the way in which my latter teens are most similar to my life today is that both of them involve freedom I hadn’t known before then and that I’m in danger of squandering. At 19, I was contemplating life after college, life not lived under my parents’ roof, where my lifestyle and choices were almost-completely defined by their decisions and (very reasonable and extremely tolerable) rules. 
Today, I’m widowed and my 2 adult children are grown and on their own. I’ve retired (early, which I find myself explaining anytime it comes up with someone new, so they know I’m really not that old). My life is in many ways full of opportunities!
I could and can move anywhere, for example. I could and can pursue whatever career (full-time back then, part-time or even full-time now) appeals to me. Now, like then, I can learn new hobbies or get more serious about old ones. In a nutshell and within reason, I can design whatever lifestyle I choose.
Ahhh . . . within reason. That’s the catch.
Back then, when I contemplated life beyond college, I was hampered by a lack of knowledge about teacher-licensing and job-finding in other states. There was no internet, of course, and my college’s career placement center only posted jobs in my own state and in a small portion of the neighboring one. And I lacked the life experiences, finances, and confidence to strike out very far away on my own.  
Today, there are other limitations . . . or perhaps, if I were completely honest, I’d have to admit there are other considerations I allow all too often to limit my thinking. To cause me to eliminate choices and remain where I already am, living the life I’m already living.
As I contemplated this issue — the similarity between my late-teen years and my life now — these past two days, I grew impatient with myself. 
And suddenly, just this morning, I had another realization. A positive one this time.
Perhaps it’s the sunshine and warmer temperatures. 
Or maybe it’s because I’m feeling better now that I’m over the crud.
But I’m filled with a new-found resolve to explore the possibilities.
To consider how I might make the changes I long to make without losing what I so want to keep.
It’s my hope that this blog not be just a monologue, but a conversation. To that end, I hope you’ll consider what I’ve shared and post your own thoughts and ideas via a comment.