The Merry-Go-Round of Life, that is.
When I was a child, I was always striving to be older. To get to that next birthday, to get those extra privileges that came with age, to be more important. Because I had 3 older siblings, it seemed like that was where the fun was, in being older.
As I grew into a teenager, that feeling didn’t stop. I still wanted to be older, to be able to drive, ah, that would be magical and really fun. And it was! I still enjoy driving, though not nearly as much. Part of that I suspect is the controlling part of my nature in that I prefer to drive and be in control, more than I actually like driving. And then it was to be 18 and vote, and being done with school. Silly girl that I was, I had no desire to continue school at that age. I didn’t ever really enjoy school that I can remember. Perhaps it had to do with the control thing again and being so out of control for most of my day. Or at least that’s how I saw it.
And the really magical age of 19. When you were old enough to buy and consume alcohol. Wow. No stopping me now. (tic)
I was 18 when we were married and our honeymoon included a trip to the Olympia Brewery in Washington. I was too young to even sample the alcohol so I got Pepsi or Coke, whichever they served at the time. And I had married a man 6 years older than myself, so once again, feeling not quite like I had arrived as he and his siblings, his friends and their wives, were all older than me.
As a young mom, I don’t remember wanting to be older, but many times I wished for my kids to be older. Yes I did, I’m ashamed to say now. I couldn’t wait for that next step, that next goal they were closing in on. Smiling, rolling over, talking, walking, entering school, moving up to the next school in the progression, and finally graduation. One more step to getting my life back was how I equated it. I strongly suspect getting married so young and moving from my father’s house to my husband’s house, and having no “me time” played into that. Because I still wasn’t in control of my life. Believe it or not, when you’re the parent, you have very little control.
Graduation came and went times three and all my children were moved out of our home and we were on our own once again. Although I do miss them, I have to say I enjoy having the house to ourselves. Not many people admit it, but I have come across a few who are like me and not too scared to say it. And guess what? Now, NOW, I understand what all those people tried to tell me when I was younger and was wishing my life away.
“It goes way too fast!” “Enjoy them while they’re young” (about my school aged children) “The older you get, the faster time goes”. And on and on and on. But I knew better.
Until I didn’t.
Now almost daily I get a strong kick in the stomach telling me what a fool I was for always thinking I’d have more time to do things, set goals, climb that mountain, etc. For wishing my children’s lives away, for wishing my life away.
Most of the time it’s a vague disturbing sense in the back of my mind, but every once in a while, it’s a really poignant reminder that death really isn’t that far away and I don’t get a do-over. This is it. So even though I still waste a lot of time, I am on a mission to make the most of what I have left. To read more books, To share my faith more. To look for opportunities to serve my Lord. To show my love to my family. To spend more time with my family and those important in my life. To make those phone calls and “connect” with people, instead of sending a text or an email. That is what constitutes the things I have on my bucket list. Climbing a mountain, not going to happen. But maybe a hot air balloon ride is still in the picture. Hiking the Appalachian Trail, probably not going to happen considering my hips and feet, but walking daily and taking off some more poundage just might.
Although I long to rescue children in orphanages and foster homes, I’m physically not up to the task, but maybe respite care for the people who do work in the trenches daily, could be a possibility.
Trying to pack the most into the days I have left has clarified my priorities. Nothing like a shortage of something to help you see how important it is. “Viva la Vida”