There are days when I sit pensive and review things in my life. Yesterday was one of those. I’m not sure it’s always a good idea to do this. Looking back I smile at the wonder I had as a child, the dreams I had as a teenager, the ambition I had as a young adult, the joy I had becoming a mother, the smiles my children gave me as they were growing up, and I remember how much I loved their father, and the reflection they gave me of that love for him.
So, one might think, with all those great memories, what is wrong with looking back on them? I suppose the combination, frankly, of admission of lack of knowledge of how to deal with what was not so good. Had I focussed on that first paragraph, would things have been different? Might I have alluded my eating disorder, and later my reliance on wine to tame the wild knots of stress in my stomach? Would I have made different choices and refused to try to please everyone, but instead simply please the needs inside of me, not all others’ expectations of me?
Realistically the woulds and mights really mean nothing now. My children are growing up primarily with their father and friends, my husband (now ex) is loving someone else, and my ambitions have dried up. Gone are the days of wanting to make it in a man’s world, of over-extended hours of volunteering, or over-extended hours of working. Gone are my needs to prove anything to anyone but myself. Found is a life of dogs, writing, reading, learning, solitude, in a quaint little apartment with little but my needs to provide for myself and my two little companions, Jenny and Rolly. Now a third, actually, Sparta my kitten. I am on-call for counseling for my children the odd day of the month. I am on-demand counseling for the other tenants in this farm house outside the surrounding cities. At 49 with several dreams I chased, and somehow caught, but watch fizzle into dust, I do not chase dreams anymore.
I stare quietly outside my window while I type and watch the cars drive by. I sometimes wonder how much time I have left on this earth, why I kept a squeezy-squeally plastic cow that sits on my desk staring back at me when I glimpse up. I wonder what steps I want to take forward, and it is a wonder because for the first time in my life I cannot see a path to take. Not even one less travelled.
Don’t get me wrong. None of this is depressing. It’s actually quite thought provoking. I have three copyrights waiting for a book to be completed, a cartoon character that can easily be sent out for publishing, I have empty canvasses and unopened paint waiting for an artistic hand to pass a brush across them. I have several books to read, incomplete knitting projects and sewing projects, a flute that has accumulated dust, a box of letters saved since I was 11 years old and a box of over 2000 pictures that need to be catalogued. I have friends to contact, and family too. I, however, have, in the past three months, remained quiet, complacent and thoughtful. For the past month, I have sent out resumes to non-demanding jobs, and become somewhat intrigued by shows on television that I really didn’t care to watch before such as Dr. Phil, Anderson and Dragon’s Den.
I wonder if I am doing this in search of my true self, or simply to take a time out from all the hustle and bustle my life projected in the first 49 years. The joy, the sorrow, the internal pain that I couldn’t command that fell prey to bulimia and alcohol. Maybe now without either of those two crutches I’m actually realizing that maybe along the way there was something I missed. Maybe it was as simple as that first paragraph.
…. just maybe.