For so long, I sat and watched other people and wished I could be like them. I wished I could be happy, have a happy family, have friendly and happy kids, and looked at my own life and thought it rather pathetic. I was almost resigned to this fact…. that my life just be pathetic and less than half of what I wanted it to be. Then, I woke up.
Nobody’s life turns out as planned. We are so innocent- so fresh during our childhood and teenage years. Then, issues and events happen. Grandparents pass away along with a high school friend or two, first boyfriends and girlfriends break up with us or worse yet, cheat with their next romance before fully breaking up with us, best friends start friendships with someone else and we are left out, and maybe high school, first jobs, first cars, beginning college, anything… just doesn’t turn out like we planned. Something goes a little wrong and then something else goes a little wrong, and then over the years, we get a little hardened. A tad bit at a time that sweet innocence of childhood leaves us. A tad bit at a time our hearts are blocked. Walls go up in self defense, and days are a little less intense; a little less bright.
We finish college or find jobs. We find spouses and enter into marriage with the highest of hopes. Nobody at all ever gets married thinking they will get divorced. Yet, at least half of us do. So, if its not us, then its a close friend or a first cousin. Divorce impacts our lives in some way. We are taught that loyalty is not always true, and that family doesn’t always stick together.
Children are born, and we find out that being an adult, being a parent is hard! I mean really hard! We secretly yearn for our room at our parents home. We yearn to once again, hear that high school bell, and to ride the bus home, and run into that room and feel safety and to be taken care of. We secretly yearn for our responsibility to be taken away for just one day. We wonder just why it was exactly that we wanted to grow up so fast.
The years pass by, one after one, trudging by in a solid and steady manner, like soldiers marching a stomp march down long streets in time. Our lives become like those soldiers… struggling to stay in order and in perfect step, and when we do fall out of step, we rush to get things back in order, back to that perfect stomping sound in our minds that assure us that our lives are moving ahead smoothly down that long street that just does not seem to end. Children have birthdays and start school, we have anniversaries, holidays come and go, all the while we document each and every moment in time for our memories though we don’t need the paper pictures as we have them in a scrapbook that exists solely in our minds. The scrapbook becomes heavier and fuller, and we find ourselves, late in the night, opening it more and more than we used to. For we find ourselves, having so much life behind us.
We second-guess ourselves, our spouses, our children. It seems there is always someone that we wish we were, but we are not. Someone is always happier, better looking, more successful, more popular, and we cannot figure it out for the life of us. We cannot figure out how people missed how special we were, and how we just became ordinary. We live in our cookie cutter houses, driving our cookie cutter cars, with our cookie cutter lives, fighting sadness because we missed the special train that dammit, we certainly had a place on.
Then, in middle age, our children leave us. Those wonderful little humans that we gave our entire selves and salaries and energy and time to for so many years, suddenly not only don’t need us, they don’t want us either, and where does that leave us? Our own parents are older now, and we struggle to care for them while getting help from siblings that we no longer know. Many of us deal with in-laws, parents in-law, or siblings in-law that don’t like us and only tolerate us, and that is just fine because truth be told, we don’t care for them either. Jobs are so stagnant; we have done this same thing for a couple of decades now, and we know the work with our eyes closed, and yet that always unseen management, that exists only in the words of our bosses and other employees, sends people who are half of our age with twice our education, and we, then, spend our days suffering in utter humiliation as we must ask this person who sees us as a middle-aged wash out and gives us grief over doing a job the same way that we have completed it for over a decade, and nobody told us that it was wrong then. We struggle to bite our lips and learn new tricks to preserve a pension that we only pray will still be there in a few years when we can finally get out of this place even though we know that we will have to work for minimum wage in a grocery store or hotel to make ends meet, but at least we won’t have any real responsiblity.
Our children get married to a spouse that, if we are lucky, will love us, and if we are not, will look at us with suspicion. Either way, we know that they are not good enough for our babies- the same babies who are now strangers, and where are those manners that we raised them with anyway? What happened to that child who loved me so much? They stand before us, yet they are gone, and we wonder where? Are they out in the place where karma and destiny and dreams exist? Cause they sure aren’t here. This can’t be the sweet child that I raised. I gave all of those years to that child, and they are only going to leave us alone in the end. Throw us in some nursing home like we are an unwanted pet that nobody truly has time for, yet everyone smiles and pretends that they care and are doing what is best for us when what would be best would be to have our children, our siblings, the people from our life still care about us and want to keep us.
But, if we are lucky, before that day comes, one day, one sweet and fine day, we will wake up. Wake up and smell the coffee, wake up and smell the roses, or however one wishes to say it but the ending is the same- we wake up. We look around at our middle-aged shamble of a life and decide to change it. Just like that. And… now we can. Now, we have the life experience, the money, the time, and motivation to change things. A new journey begins. It’s not over after all.
This happened to me. Two days ago. I spent an entire night, tossing and restless, and examining the life that others had given to me, and I had apparently accepted because here I was with it, and I decided no more. I decided to take my own life back. No more people who didn’t matter and people who did telling me what I was going to do or bullying me into making decisions, or pulling drama to make me miserable. No more. Today, I take back my life and my emotions and choose to be happy. I choose to feel time and not to let it just pass me by. The same with moments, smells, sights, feelings… I want them back. I want them back to badly that it takes my breath away and gives me a hollow feeling of urgency in my chest. I attack those walls that have been built up over these years to find that they are strong and steady and even the smallest holes have been heavily patched so I have to dig and chip away and claw at them until my fingers bleed and my tears run hot and heavy, and it is tons of work and might take years but that will be fine because on the other side, I will find me again, and I know that I am determined to get there.
I want to find me. I miss that girl. It’s been so long since I saw her. I will find her. I will.