By Marty Bulger | March 6, 2023
My favorite defense mechanism is denial. I love it and have used it faithfully,
shamelessly and fruitfully most of my life. It works great. Until it doesn’t and
then I have to face whatever obstacle just can’t be denied any longer, is very in
the way and won’t go away. The obstacles, whatever form they come in are
challenges and I do love a challenge. Most of the time. Facing them, meeting them
is in my DNA and when I meet them I give myself permission to be proud. What I
have learned over these past 76 is that life is just one long series of challenges.
So how am I doing? Actually, I think I’m doing pretty freakin’ good.
I get out of bed every single morning which can be challenging mentally and
sometimes physically. I sometimes think about staying under my down comforter
and doing absolutely nothing. But I can’t, so I don’t. I exercises to strengthen my
core and my quads. I’m determined to maintain my ability to pick something up
from the floor without assistance or without falling over. I am proud.
I raised 3 kids who are loving, compassionate and thoughtful adults. The
challenges there were vast and varied, carrying joy, angst, excitement and fear.
And the challenges were met and the outcomes pleasing, relieving. I am proud.
I left a sad and lonely relationship. I needed to be on my own, to figure it all out.
I faced the fear of failure, the fear of winding up a bag lady in a ratty moth-eaten
coat, huddled against the bone-chilling Rochester winter and carrying everything I
owned in a black Hefty garbage bag. Dumpster diving. That, however, wasn’t my
Karma. I am a phoenix. And I am proud.
I left my dearest friends, my faith community, my adopted hometown and moved
from the Atlantic to the Pacific without a job or a place to live. I brought with me
the belief that I would find all that I needed. A leap of faith. And I have found
all that I need.
I live my life day by day by day. I try to be mindful, compassionate, non-
judgmental, fulfilling my purpose. There are still obstacles that present
themselves and I occasionally call on Denial to help me deal with them, but not very
often. Now I actually respect the obstacles, accept the challenges they present.
I like it better this way. It’s real and bare-bones raw.
I am aging, and for the most part I am doing it with grace and gratitude. I value
my attitude and my sense of humor. I am learning about acceptance and about
letting go. It takes courage to live authentically and it is freeing. I am
courageous. I am brave. I am fierce. I am proud.