I don’t know if it’s true, but it feels like my bedroom door was always open at night when I was little. I think it started so I could make a fast, unobstructed dash to my parent’s bedroom when the monsters crawled out of the closet or out from under the bed.

When I hit my teens, the door closed so that my brothers wouldn’t find it easy to sneak in and try to scare me or paint stuff on my sleeping face.

When our first child was born, the door stayed open (with a few obvious exceptions), because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear every little sound of distress.

Then we got a cat. If you haven’t had a cat, then you don’t know that cats see doors as a personal affront to their rights and freedom. They will paw a closed door for as long as it takes to get it to open.

As the hubby and I enter our children-gone, cat-passed on lives, I find I have to retrain myself to close my bedroom door. Even though I know I don’t need to hear every little sound anymore, it feels wrong.

I found myself mulling this closed door thing as I was getting ready this morning. It felt symbolic and I’m not sure I figured out why. I do know, that when I turned 55 last month, it was a shock to realize that I had more life behind me, than I had ahead of me. When I was young, and old people said or wrote things like this, I’d think, “Seriously? You don’t get how old you are?”

Now that I’m there, I realize it isn’t an aging/forgetting thing, but a living thing. You are so busy living and you don’t feel that different (as long as you don’t climb on a trampoline and challenge gravity). You feel like you, so the only time you think about getting older is around your birthday, and if you’re careful, you don’t go deep on the birthday thinking as you start to really rack them up, because it’s not that fun to contemplate.

But I am living with–to some extent–diminishing possibilities. Doors are closing or are already closed. There are some things I will never do. I’m not saying my life is over, by any means, but it is winding down. I’ve seen pieces of that bucket list movie and have tried to think what I’d put in mine, but I’m kind of relieved to find out that I’ve lived a full and (mostly) happy life. I have no desire to jump out of airplane or climb anything to feel like I’ve lived, because I have already lived the life I wanted to live. My bucket list would have been quieter anyway, since I’m an unapologetic hermit.

I hope, before my last door closes, that I will write more books, but more important to me, I hope I will get to spend time with the people I love, just chatting and laughing and possibly eating some donuts. I hope I get to hold a grandchild or two and I hope I will be missed when I do close that last door.

Closing doors can feel sad and a bit scary, but they can also be a relief. For me, closing my bedroom door means I’m no longer in charge of keeping my kids safe or making a bitter cat happy. Fewer choices is also kind of a relief. I get tired faster and if I’m going to do something, I need to not have to think about it for too long. lol!

I hope I don’t sound too melancholy! It is a Monday and I knew I needed to update my blog and just couldn’t think of anything to write about until I closed that door this morning (wow, its a hard habit to break! I  keep expecting to turn around and see the reproachful face of our cat.)

Another benefit of closed doors is more reading and writing time. I’ve got a delicious stack of reading for when I finish my rough draft of the new novel. I’m also sending our review requests/copies of Tangled in Time. It’s hard to believe its time for that already, but 3-4 month lead time is needed by many review sites.

Anyway, dear friends, I hope that your life is filled with doors, both open and closed, and also rife with lots of books to read!
perilously yours,
Pauline

Closed Doors

7 thoughts on “Closed Doors

  • September 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm
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    Pauline, what a terrific essay! And I have to agree about the cat. Mine abhors a closed door too.

  • September 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm
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    Four cats, no such thing as a closed door. Mine are needy too and have to constant access to us when we are home. I think they mostly sleep, eat, poop or climb all over me. Sometimes I joke that I am a gate at the catport when one gets up and another comes over for their pets. Turning a most obnoxious 50 in a month. I have asked for botox.
    Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    email: steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com
    Twitter: @fangswandsfairy

  • September 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm
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    Pauline, I love your blog essay! There are many things I don’t do as well as I get older, but in some ways I am better. One door closes and another opens.

  • September 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm
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    Wow. This is really poignant and helped me appreciate things today. I’m facing off with a lower number this week and my doors stay open for little ones running in at night. It’s funny how you don’t always stop to appreciate these moments. I’m glad I got to today. Thanks!

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm
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    Pauline – this is one of the most touching posts I’ve read in ages. I leave my bedroom door open for my cats – used to be for my little kids – but life moves on and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. Wow. Your post leaves me breathless.

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm
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    @ Laura – you go girl!(will admit I prefer my fictional romance in the “falling in love” again column. But after 35 years of marriage, I can say that I fall in love with him again and again. We were talking one day and I said, “I know I haven’t always been wonderful…” and he broke in and said, “You’ve always been wonderful.” So yeah, still in love.)

    @ Christy – Hermits Rule! LOL! My hubby said my perfect convention would be called HermitCon.

    @ DK – I do still dream–but I don’t want to live 50 more years! LOL It is true that it is all a mind game. What has surprised me the most is that I don’t feel that different inside. I’m still me. It’s interesting getting older, because of course its not all in the head. It’s in the bones and the skin, etc. If I don’t look in a mirror, I don’t feel any different than I did at 30. But I am glad that I’m living my dreams. That I don’t need a bucket or a list to get me going. I’m happy. 🙂

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm
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    Ohhh, Pauline. Your blog brought smiles and tears but mostly smiles. At the end, the blog brought a celebration of the joys I have experienced in my life and expectations for those yet to come.

    Betty Gordon

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