What constitutes a good life? How do you define living “The good life?” Somewhere over the past few days I heard a woman say that when she was in high school she knew she wanted the finer things in life, the big houses, the expensive cars, the big brass ring. That really struck me and got me to thinking. Never once in high school did I think about that, never once did I recognize that I had a choice. I guess I thought that you work hard, do your best, and deal with the cards you are dealt. I am still thinking about this days later. Insecurities creep up now as I think of the lack of direction I had then. I am assuming that others knew what they wanted in life as a teenager as well. More than anything I wanted to “fit”. I wanted to have a family of my own, a husband, children…the house, the belongings were never important to me. Looking back, the goal of having a family wasn’t a bad thing, but if I had it to do all over again I would have established a career, ascertained that I could make it on my own (and well), and THEN I would have sought out the relationship, the family, etc. I was raised to believe that I would be taken care of by a husband, that education was not important for girls. (Yes, I’m THAT old.. the dark ages) In years of late my parents have since apologized for this. At any rate, I have never been taken care of, nor did I acquire or have the family I so longed for. Oh well, life goes on.
Always wanting to help others, I like to make others laugh, or smile. I found myself wrapped up in “fixing” others that I realize today, I could not fix, nor could they fix me. So while others were building lives, families, homes, careers, inheritances, I was scurrying about, acting as if I knew what I was doing, but I did not. I was married for almost a decade. When that relationship ended I was devastated. My world was turned upside down. Fear filled that my life was over at 30, I later learned, it had just begun. It’s funny how time can change your perspective. Something that hurt you so deeply then, becomes a gift later. What disappeared with that marriage and has never returned was a false sense of security. I thought I was part of something sacred, that I had found a home and place where I was safe, secure, sound. I don’t know how else to describe it. An innocence was stripped from me when this marriage failed. I painfully learned that no relationships are exempt from failure, but it takes two, and also that security is and was a false sense of illusion.
There is a line in a Bob Seger song “Wish I didn’t know now, what I didn’t know then”.http://youtube.com/watch?v=PmrkY-EZy74….but life goes on, we learn, we live, we grow. I learned and loved tremendously from the next long term relationship I was in. Having already learned to look for security within from the end of my marriage, this ending brought different pain, thus growth and insight. There are so many ways in which we lose people we love. Try as we might, we can love a person, but we cannot fix them, nor can we save them from themselves. The complexity of all that was involved with this relationship will forever haunt me. Alcoholism- cunning, baffling. Yet still, I learn, I grow.
So today, as I shovel my own walkways, pay my own bills, do my best to maintain a 75 year old house that’s in need of much work, run a business, be a good daughter, sister, aunt, friend, momma to my furries, responsible and contributing member of society, I become frustrated that my life is where it is at times. I visit friends with nice houses (Not elaborate, but nice well kept homes), who have husbands, partners who support them in their careers, dreams, challenges. I am happy for them. It’s been a long time since I’ve instilled trust in someone else with my well being, other than family/friends. After repairing cracked cement blocks, vacuuming up water in my cellar, chiseling ice, checking the air in my tires, cleaning up the garbage that a local dog strewed, I soak in a hot tub, close my eyes, and pretend to be a princess, where I live in a house where all the windows open and close easily, where maintenance and work is low. Where I can sit around, paint, design jewelry, write and pop bonbons, get pedicures, take long hot baths, have friends over for tea, and retire the 15 lb sorrels that are a mandatory part of my winter wardrobe. Oh what would I be able to accomplish if I could create, design, teach without the weight of the world on my shoulders? It is frustrating for me so much of the time. When friends/family will say “You should do this, or why aren’t you doing this”. Honestly, I love that they believe in my talents and abilities, but my time is limited because I work to pay bills first… and then my energy and motivation aren’t always on. I know I am capable of great things, I just have to find my way around all the challenges in my life, or are the challenges in my life the very purpose or lesson in my life today? Will this be the rest of my life? Is this as good as it gets? I’m sure this is no different than anyone else… How few people really can say at the end of each day when they lay their head on their pillow “Yes, I accomplished another dream today!”
Now I’m recalling a line from Kenny Loggins “Where’d all the dreams that we once had? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIvMs7nnEHE This is the time to bring them back? What were the promises caught on the tips of our tongues? Maybe tomorrow…..
Still, I am grateful for all the blessings in my life. I believe it is in the movie “A wonderful life” when he has cursed the broken ball on the banister, but at the end when he races home, runs over to the stairs, the ball comes off into his hands, and he smiles and I think he kisses it….I am smart enough to know that every thing I shared that frustrates me is indeed a gift, if I just flip the lenses in my glasses around, open up my heart and mind to a Will that knows far more than my own Will could ever know. Just as painful transitions from my past have proven to be gifts, I’ve no doubt that all of this is too. I just hope it comes lined with a tiara!