Writing Our Future

I’ve been second guessing myself lately.  I’ve been reconsidering decisions I made several years ago, knowing there is no way to go back and change them.  Even if I could, it probably wouldn’t be wise.  Worrying over the past is counter-productive no matter what the situation because it simply cannot be changed.

We often make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time.  We have no way of knowing what will happen in the future so we plan for the here and now.  Hindsight is often 20/20 because we forget that we didn’t have knowledge of what would happen a few months or years down the line.  I have absolutely no knowledge of what my life will be like even a year from now but I’m planning for the parts that I believe to be true and doing the best with the information I have.  It’s easy to be critical of your past self when you’ve already seen what will play out.  It’s also easy to forget that this knowledge of the here and now is new.  This knowledge wasn’t in your possession as you were planning for the future.  You were simply oblivious to what would be.

In my youth I was never one to believe that people actually change as they grow older.  I never understood why people left relationships because their partner changed – I always thought it was an excuse to wave the get out of jail free card.  Perhaps they were just tired and didn’t want to make it work.  The younger version of me hadn’t experienced enough of life to see how time and events can mold us – for better or worse.

Writing Our FutureTime has taught me that change is good.  Life’s events bring knowledge, patience, and the ability to make more clear-headed decisions.  Time heralds change.  We can fight change and find ourselves becoming bitter, even angry.  We can accept change and allow time to mold us into better versions of ourselves.  Change won’t bring all the answers – nor will time.  We have to learn to sort out all of life’s little nuances into things that will matter and things that won’t.

I believe that who we are at birth is intrinsically related to who we have become at death.  There are small personality traits that we’ll likely carry throughout our lives.  Those little quirks and traits are what make up our basic essence – without them we’d all be shells.  There are other traits that we pick up over time or traits that are changed by all that life throws at us.  There are things that we can learn to do and be – patient, caring, forgiving.  There are traits we may lose – innocence, optimism, even hope.  While we’ll never control what comes our way, we can always do our best to control how it changes us.  If we want to grow and be better – we can.  If we’re scared and we can’t find a way to carry forward with hope we have the right to feel stuck and react negatively.

As I sit and wish I could go back and make changes so my life would be easier I forget that taking the road I did has brought me to where I am.  If I had changed one little detail I might have an entirely different life.  It could be better, it could be worse.  Yet it wouldn’t be my life.  I like my life and I think my energy would best be spent changing the here and now instead of worrying about the past or events that I can’t change.

This is my beautiful life…  This is my story and while I don’t get to write the future, I get to edit all the details that make it worth reading.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Validate my lifeEverything happens for a reason…it’s a cliché I often loathe.  Rarely, if ever, spoken in times of happiness it’s meant to offer comfort.  More often it incites anger when one’s nerves are still raw.  Given time to heal, time to breath and let life fill one’s soul again, there is truth to be found in those words.

When unsavory things happen in our lives it is easy to brush them aside and move along forgetting to take note of what the event has to teach us.  Dwelling on the event is hard, letting the emotions in to feel is painful.  If we want life to go on, we must see the lessons it has placed before us.  Brushing off hard events as bad luck or simple mistakes is far easier, yet I feel as though the events often carry lessons we were ignoring.  Little snippets of knowledge placed into events so that some good comes from the pain.

I was certain of the path my life was set upon a few months ago.  Precise plans and goals laid before me, a concise timeline to the road my life was to take.  I had plans mapped out and still I felt restless, as I always have.  Then life was placed in my womb, only to be taken away a short time later.  The bitterness and anger ensued.  As is often the case I questioned all I had planned and wondered if there was a better path to be set upon.  Over the course of a few weeks, my plans were altered beyond my control and then thrown back on course.

Perhaps the seeds of life planted into my womb were never meant to grow into a child, but an idea.  Perhaps that tiny growing soul was sacrificed to teach a lesson that I have long sought after but never found.  While I mourn the loss of the precious baby that never got to experience life and all the wonders it entails, I am grateful for the awakening it provided.  Once I stopped searching for what I was meant to do, life presented its answers on its own.

While I have been ever-present in my children’s lives, leaving behind work and school so that I could care for them full-time, I feel like I may have missed the mark in some ways.  I’ve performed all the motherly tasks, loved them without condition, but I have spent many hours wondering what I would do when I was ‘done’.  What would I return to when they were in school?  Would a career, or a new educational path be waiting on me?  I’ve rethought my career choices many times and I dare say that I have often sacrificed these valuable years with my young children by planning a future that always felt so uncertain.  My reason for uncertainty was, and always has been, that I am doing what I was meant to do.  There is no reason to constantly reconsider my choices.

At one point in all this soul-searching and life questioning I decided to checkout.  It was all more than I wanted to handle when I was already emotionally lost and reeling from the departure of a soul I’d never get to meet.  Sleepless nights spent staring at a dark wall, tears burning hot on my cheeks before I’d even knew they fell – they took their toll.  Mind and body weary, I decided to just let it go and not think about careers or college paths.  Then the magic happened.

I sat down to play with my boys, fully immersed in their world of super heroes, race tracks, and stroller races around the kitchen island.  I soaked up their crayoned projects and I joined in their silly dances and dress up masquerades.  I laughed with true happiness as we rolled around on pillow forts and fed baby dolls with wild hair.  I cried tears of true joy as my toddler curled up upon my lap to nap.  I watched, truly watched him, as he slept.  The long eyelashes void of earthly cares.  The innocence that surrounded his play and slumber slowly seeping into my own veins and reviving me from the life I had been physically present in, but emotionally absent.   Seeing myself finally at peace and at ease in the life I had unknowingly been fighting brought back the calm we all needed.

I’ve often felt judged for my decision to stay at home with my children.  I have always felt a need to explain myself, to justify my reasons for staying home and not returning to work.  Perhaps it’s because we live in a society where women are so often taught that they can do whatever men can do.  Perhaps it’s because we live in a world where monetary gains take center stage in the worlds of success and apparent happiness.  We pay entertainers, athletes, and brokers large sums of money while many child care workers and teachers barely make enough to scrape by.  It’s a message that even when unspoken is quite clear in today’s modern world.

Whatever the reason, I have spelled out my financial reasons to stay home more often than I can count.  Rarely have I spoken to or justified the emotional needs that I am meeting or the bonds I am fostering.  Rarely have a referenced the moral obligations I feel I am meeting or the motherly bonds that I am enriching.  While I spend my days feeding my children’s bodies, nourishing them for life outside my home, I am also fostering their hearts.  I am teaching them right from wrong, compassion, empathy, love, and how to apologize.  I am not opposed to women, or men, who work to support their children.  I support them, I admire them.  I am also finally giving myself permission to validate my life and recognize that it is okay and acceptable to be content (and happy) in this simple way of life.

I don’t need to explain or justify my life as ‘just’ a mother.  I don’t need an answer for, “What will you do when they start school?”.  My life as their mother does not end when they depart my home for a few hours each day.  My life as their mother and their support will not end when they move from my home.  I don’t need to serve some greater goal to feel like my life has meant something.  My children, and my husband, are my greater goal.  The work I do in my home truly makes me happy, it is that missing puzzle piece that has left me so restless all these years.  Upon recognizing that I am doing what I want to do and that I am happy, truly happy, my restless soul has found peace.

I am not lazy.  I am not without goals.  I do not need to be rich.  I do not need a larger home, a nicer car.  I do not need society to accept my lifestyle.  I am in no need of ‘saving’ nor have I been brainwashed into believing that ‘a woman’s place is at home’.  My husband would support my desires to do whatever I chose.  A woman’s, or a man’s, place is wherever they find happiness. The pursuit of happiness is grand in that it can mean many things.  I have found happiness in life’s simpler pleasures and its everyday tasks.  For me, that is enough.