Image copyright Jupiter Images 2008
Myself? I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve done in this life. It took me a long time to grow up. Very long. Through one marriage and into the second, where I finally, finally grew my wings. (Thank to the snuggy, supportive nest my Alph made for me.)
I went back to college pregnant with my second child and delivered her between semesters. Twenty five years later that child became my colleague and partner in our psychotherapy practice. Imagine that?!! The joy I feel from this is beyond measure or description. But more than that, I love that we are able to give our services to those who cannot afford it. Kind of like Robin Hood. We get the max from our affluent clients and give it back, time wise, to our less fortunate ones.
I’ve learned to enjoy fun. I never played at all until a few years ago when I looked at some application which asked me to list my hobbies. I didn’t have any. For me, an A type, learning, seminars, learning, work were all I ever wanted to do. (Tightly held secret: we shrinks rarely apply to ourselves the very things we try to teach our clients.) It so bothered me that I thought: what have I always wanted to try? For me? That turned out to be decoupage. Hours and hours of learning how to do it, but playing, enjoying the process, the creativity. Creativity had always been what sustains me, but I’d put it aside in my quest for achievement. Now I’m making jewelry. Another joy in the process. If my efforts produce lovely results, great! If not, I still had fun. I’m also waiting for my new camera to arrive (thank you, Amber, for putting the bug in me!) because I’m longing to express myself by capturing the other love of my life: nature.
If I should die today, my career goals would have been accomplished. I would die knowing that I became the therapist I always wanted to be, who helped a lot of people. The ones whose heartfelt thanks cannot begin to be measured and who I will never, ever forget. The ones who trusted me with their pain and their wounds, who inspired me with their courage, and who taught me so much.
Have I become the woman I wanted to be? Well that, too, was an evolving process. First I wanted to be a homemaker and stay at home mom. When that changed and I wanted to get an education and a career, the trouble started in my first marriage. That’s not what he signed on for. And in all fairness, that’s not what I’d originally agreed to. We were so young. We just couldn’t navigate these choppy waters. We were only 21 when we married for goodness sake! Babies! What did we know about relationships? Giving?Flexibility? Growth and change? Nothing. Nothing at all.
It was a very painful divorce. Volatile, yet so sad. But as Carol Burnett once said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
My onset of lupus and subsequent stroke have actually been blessings too. Not a life lesson I would have chosen, but they were not exactly electives in the school of my life. I’ve had to learn to rely on others which has been a humbling experience. A giver all my life (parentified child) it has been hard to learn to receive. Also…very nice…and quite beautiful. And, of course, having come so close to death, I’ve learned to appreciate every moment of every day, and to thank God for the gift of my life.
I read somewhere once that we’re bound by our fate only as long as we accept the values that determine it. I never forgot that. In fact, reading that, and getting it, is probably what changed my life. I got rid of my culturally imposed role of what a woman should be, and I learned to define myself. My self. MY self.
I learned that personal authenticity is my primary value, and always will be.
So if I should die today, I would die happy with my journey. Happy that I died as ME.