In this grieving process a few smiles have surfaced. I think Meg is responsible.
I was born Margaret Jan Walter. I have always been called Jan. When I was thinking up a more 1750’s name for my reenacting personae, I chose Meg (from Margaret). I liked the idea of creating a new name; it means creating a new person.
For the first nine years of my life I was an only child, then my Dad died, then Mom remarried and I was an oldest child with two sudden sisters. All of that lead to a “very responsible” child. And I moved – a lot. By sixth grade I had been in ten different school systems. All of that created a child for whom it was important to be grown up, to be good in school, and to do everything “right.” That is Jan. Jan continued that into college, marriage (right out of college just like she was supposed to), and two wonderful children – a boy and a girl, and a successful career. Pretty ideal. Pretty controlled.
I have always thought there was another part of Jan. Bob started it. He loved shooting and taught Jan to shoot. Then, they started time traveling – re-enacting the colonial period of our country’s history. I think Meg started showing herself around this time. Meg thought that dressing up and shooting (and outshooting many of the men!) was a lot of fun!
But then family tragedies started. Parents became sick and died; Bob’s sister died too early. Bob and Jan had a rough several years and Jan came back out and was pretty well in charge of life.
For many reasons, Jan stayed in charge and Meg was pretty much under cover until the past several months. What caused her re-emergence? Bob died. He was Jan’s partner, her solid rock. So, how did Meg pop out? Her first appearance was when Jan needed to get clothes for three days of celebrating with her family at her niece’s wedding. Meg chose clothes that Jan would never have bought! They looked nice and were certainly respectable, but they were not exactly the clothes of a 70 year old, and they had an edge to them. Jan’s daughter and an exuberant salesperson are partly to blame, but Meg was the one listening to them!
The next time Meg popped out was when she pushed Jan to take a Tai Chi instructor preparation course. That course was fine with Jan. But then Meg started talking about actually teaching Tai Chi classes! Jan was perfectly comfortable with teaching, she was a strong teacher for 25 years. But, she is 70 , and round, and teaching Tai Chi is a bit different. And then Meg read about the opportunity to become a Qigong instructor! And more new clothes were needed. Meg was salivating!
Since Bob died Jan has been incredibly lonely. Jan never learned how to make close friends easily (remember the 10 different school systems by 6th grade?). Meg might know how to do that. And Meg seems a bit more adventuresome than Jan.
I think my New Year’s resolution will be to listen to Meg a bit more and to follow her lead.