By Whitney McKendree Moore
“What you have become is the price you paid to get what you thought you wanted.” ~Mignon McLaughlin
Reflecting on What I Thought I Wanted
I’m on the eve of celebrating my 72nd birthday and my 48th year of marriage, thanks to 30 years of Twelve Step recovery in Al-Anon. Seventy-two is a significant number, and it led me to wander and wonder about how much time I might have left.
No matter if it’s twenty years or five more minutes, thinking this through has shown me that, no matter the length, there are three things that I don’t want to be saying when the time comes, all full of regrets for wasted time.
- “Why didn’t I pursue my dreams and aspirations instead of the life others expected of me?”
- “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
- “Why didn’t I express my feelings and speak my mind?”
I don’t want to be saying any of those three things, and apparently, God doesn’t either. For me, The Urgent has often been allowed (by me) to hip-check The Important.
Human Doing or Human Being?
In my career days, I was rushing all the time: running to get to work; pumping hard to meet deadline after drop-dead-deadline; rushing home between sprints to sleep; then repeat. I picture a hamster on a squeaky wheel, tiny legs going pell-mell. I was like that, scurrying and hurrying just to pay the bills and not much else.
It wasn’t until I entered retirement that I suffered withdrawal from a drug to which I had become addicted: not alcohol, not narcotics. My drug was being busy, which I wrongly associated with productivity!
Entering retirement changed everything, especially when my husband and I relocated from New England to South Carolina. In this new place, it is hard to not to say YES when my Higher Power is saying, “Be who you are and not who you’re not.”
Even My Passions Need a Purpose
For example, I am an avid reader so a book discussion group would seem a logical avenue for me to find new friends at this point. But oh, nay-nay, I discovered to my astonishment. Most book clubs have apparently chosen a book that everybody reads and then meets to discuss it. I am wired differently!
My ideal book discussion group would meet (maybe just once or twice a year) to share reflections about a favorite book or author. It would be more like a book recommendation group to hear from others what they enjoyed reading and why.
Another Way Around?
Then I bumped into a quote from someone named Mark Manson on YouTube who said, “Action isn’t the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.” That inspired me to take action, so I posted a blurb on our community’s Facebook page that looked like this:
And I got three replies! Hopefully, one of these days, I will be putting the tea kettle on!
Simply reaching out for a “favorites book club” has fired me up to explore finding new friends.
- A movie buddy
- Another singer to harmonize with once in a while
- Other writers
Now, I Want to Waltz
Working the first three steps are sometimes called doing the Recovery Waltz (ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two, three), which is the rhythm I am seeking.
- ONE is to clarify who I am.
- TWO is to be who I am and not who I’m not.
- THREE is to be that as much as possible.
Doing The Recovery Waltz feels like dancing all the way to, and through, the Exit Door, regardless of how much time is left, and whenever that time comes.
Voice and pen became Whitney’s personal ways to be heard. After she married in 1971, she published an article every year as she pursued her professional career and she continued to “sing constantly.”
A turning point for Whitney came in 1989, when she found her way into Twelve-Step recovery.
There, people were sharing “dirty laundry” and seeking God’s guidance to overcome. Now her writing is focused on encouraging others that God is still in the miracle-making business.
To Connect with Whitney:
Websites: Recovery in the Bible
Writing, and recovery heals the heart.
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