What’s it all about?

I woke up this morning with the song, What’s it all about, Alfie? on auto-play in my head. It’s from the 1966 movie “Alfie,” which I’ve never seen. I was 9 years old in 1966.

To this day, I’m not entirely sure what the movie was about.

But I heard the song on the radio, and I used to play it at home on the piano (and sing along)ย  in high school. I loved the words to the song.

“Is it just for the moment we live?”

Sometimes, and it seems like more and more at this stage of my life, I do wonder, What’s it all about?

“And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
“Then I guess it is wise to be cruel.”

I suppose it’s natural when a person makes it to this point in their life to stop and take a look around, like a mountain climber on the pinnacle. Because, face it, at the age of 54, unless I live to be 108, I am more than halfway along this life’s journey.That puts a certain level of urgency on the choices I make about how I spend the rest of my time. Do I even have a bucket list?

“I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.”

My life’s work for many years was raising my children. Since that’s been gone, (emergency trips to Buffalo, and an occasional move in a U-haul notwithstanding), I’ve been left with something of a void or loss of purpose. I don’t think this is any different than someone who retires after working for many years. At some point most of us will have to face this turning point where we’re no longer doing what we did.

Also, at this point in my life, as happens for many of us, I have to face the changes that are naturally occurring in my birth family, my rock-solid base for so many years, and recognize that nothing lasts forever.

“I believe in love, Alfie.
“Without true love we just exist, Alfie.”

It’s unsettling for me to stand at this pinnacle and look back into the rich past and all the days I was surrounded by those I love the best. It’s unsettling to stand here and look at the open path ahead. It’s no wonder men buy little red sports cars in midlife.

“When you walk, let your heart lead the way. . .”

I still love the words to the song.

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18 thoughts on “What’s it all about?”

  1. Great post, Christine. My daddy used to play that song all the time so now I hae your song headache in my head!!! it is very strange, indeed, to think that life is more urgent now due to our age. Things matter more, don’t they? My best job was raising our sons and since they are independent now it is hard to acknowledge sometimes that that “job” is over and I need to move on to other matters. It is always good to reflect on where we are and where we are headed and I know that you have contributed much to society and to those around you, Christine!!! Reflecting is not a bad thing and not one to be sad about. Look at all you have done!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’m not even going to think about that song today. I don’t want to get it back in my head.

      Sometimes I’m a little sad at the days I loved that will never return. But mostly I’m moving forward. I think it would have been a lot easier if I would have had a career outside the home to pull me forward. I did a lot of volunteer work over the years but it was mostly related to our children and their schools, so that sort of went away when they did. And I was ready to move on.

      I have no regrets. Just trying to find happiness and contentment where I sit.

  2. I just read the title of your post, Christine, and the song popped into my head, prompting me to laugh out loud when I started reading. The struggle to find meaning and purpose in life is an ongoing one. Perhaps, what we need to focus on is simply living and filling each moment with joy so that we can look back at the end and say “I really lived.”

  3. There’s always a little red car to buy!
    Sorry, I don’t mean to be facetious about the question that really matters ALL your life. When the obvious answers drop away — children, job, etc. — then you’re really launched on the search.
    I’m 77, and may I tell you? more alive than I’ve ever been, I think. Not in the physical sense, that’s all downhill, but for the rest of it! The freedom that comes, the experiences you’ve accumulated that begin to belong so much to you you don’t even have to think about them, you have just BECOME them. There truly is wisdom that comes simply from age, from living.
    But not just the golden moments — the gray and the leaden as well — all of it.
    Christine, I have every confidence that you will figure it out. In fact the wonder of living, the adventure, is in the figuring it out. You’ve displayed — in the time I’ve been following your blog and your life reflected in it — tremendous strength and courage and ability to figure it out.
    Onward!

    1. I’m so happy to read your comment. You give me hope that a vital life is possible after our kids leave us behind in the dust. Thank you for your belief in me. I’m a thinker and sometimes that is to my detriment. I’ve told my husband all along, “I’ve had a great life. If I died tomorrow, I would feel fulfilled.” That’s all we can do, is be grateful for what we have.

      Onward!

  4. I don’t have children, but I understand the sense of uncertainty that comes with mid-life (or just past). I will turn 50 next year, and am asking similar kinds of questions about what’s next. I do know, however, that if you, indeed, “let your hear lead the way,” you can’t go wrong. Follow that pulse. Allow it to lead the way.
    Kathy

    1. I think that sense of uncertainty is what this post is all about, and the shift that happens in our life at some point when the things we took for granted to some degree start going away. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I’ve had those same thoughts, Christine, being two years older than you. We still have a lot of growing to do. We don’t know everything yet. But we’re going to make an assessment and finish strong! We need to be the voice of reason to a new generation of women.

  6. Yes, “without true love we just exist” ~ Great line.

    It reminds me of quote (I don’t remember who said it) That goes something like this:
    If you do nothing else in your life ~ “love someone and let someone love you.”

    Life can be fragile ~ human hearts easily broken ~ basic kindness goes a long way.

    Love you, Sis

  7. I’ve always liked that song and it pops into my head now and then, but like you I don’t know anything about the movie.

    Good lyrics stick with us especially when coupled with a memorable melody. A song like “Alfie” expresses thoughts of such universal truth that it appeals to all of us in what it has to say. Taking chances is what makes life rich. If we don’t take some risks in our lives then we are much poorer for not having done so since experience comes from those risks that we have taken.

    Now “Alfie” is going to be playing in my mind.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Arlee. I guess I’m a little less cautious than many in terms of taking risks. Or not. I don’t know. Mostly I’m just trying to make the right decisions on a daily basis.

      Sorry about the song and your mind.

  8. I love, love, love your header photo…magical! Boy do I relate with your post. Sometimes I can’t shake those “Whatโ€™s it all about, Alfie?” feelings that only intensify as I age. I guess one of the positives for me is that I think through what I give me time to these days. That can’t be all bad.

    On the down side, I look at my aging parents and fight feelings of panic. I’m not ready for them to pass because I can’t imagine life without them. Once again, thanks for posting such a relative topic.

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I wanted to get photos of lights outside for my December header, but I woke up December 1st and realized I hadn’t done it yet. The lights on the mantle looked pretty, so I got my tripod out and my little star filter. Wish I had more time for this stuff.

      I think the questioning feelings have intensified as I’ve aged, but I believe (and hope) it will be like a bell-curve and as we continue over the peak, we settle into more of a knowing, or at least accepting.

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