How many times in our lives do we think we deserve more than we were given? We are settling for Joe, when Johan is out there waiting for us. You see, Joe and Johan are not the same.
What happened to all the fun? Youthful smoke mellowed days of partying with friends and letting the sun bake your skin to a deep golden bronze while blasting Zeppelin at ear-piercing decibels. Reckless and carefree without the slightest thought of future skin cancer, potential liver damage or permanent hearing loss. Living with no rules, no regard and no regrets. Thinking only of yourself.
And by the way, what happen to my fairy tale? The one where I find the perfect Mr. Right, we make our fortune, live in a beautiful home and have the perfect life. Where is my piece of the pie? Are the times to Carpe Diem really over? Is this all I get?
I struggled with publishing this post, feeling apprehensive about showing this negative side of myself. Then I realized feeling discontented with life is no new thing. From the Bible to Shakespeare to Steinbeck to the Hollywood big screen, many have lamented over the cards they have been dealt. In the movie The Family Man, Nicolas Cage plays Jack Campbell, a successful Wall Street Executive bachelor who gets to see what his life might have been like had he given up his perfect life and stayed with his old sweetheart. Much like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, Jack encounters an angel on Christmas Eve who offers him the opportunity to see life from another path. After a shocking wake up call on Christmas morning in middle class suburbia, wearing Walmart sweat pants and surrounded by all the other mediocre trappings of normal family life, Jack flees back to the city only to discover his former perfect life is nonexistent.
Upon returning to his bland middle class life, he encounters his now wife Kate who rips into him for leaving his family on Christmas day, letting him know how frantic she has searched for him. Jack replies “Look, you don’t understand. I woke up this morning here. And this is very strange because… this isn’t my house… And those aren’t my kids… I’m not Dad… You’re not my wife.”
Sometimes I look at my own life and think what happened to me? As I am surrounded by the cracking plaster on the 50 year old walls of our country home. The badly patched hole in the ceiling, the unfinished crown molding and the wood floor that still lacks a threshold. The leftover casualties of the countless DIY projects my husband eagerly starts, but never seems to finish. I look at the lines on my 50 year old face, the gray in my hair and I do not recognize my own reflection in the mirror. Who is that person looking back at me? I look at my daughters, now in their twenties, and think that’s who I am. I should be out living it up!
I’m not this older woman looking back at me. Frazzled and twenty pounds overweight, trying to manage my household while working and caring for my own elderly parents. As I am dealing with my parent’s multiple medical issues, doctor’s appointments, bills that need to be paid and trying to determine how to handle the next ball I’ve been given to juggle; I see my family go about their daily lives and I want to scream “I need to be taken care of!” “I’m hanging on by a thread here!” “Dear God, please give me another life!”
Then a somber reality hits me like a ton of bricks and just like George Bailey and Jack Campbell, I realize I would be nothing without them. An empty shell. A dried husk. A tumbleweed blowing in the wind. They are my roots. My anchor in the storm and my nourishment after the rain. They are my Zuzu’s petals. My reality and my reason for being. They are my destiny.
So I shamefully fall to my knees and ask forgiveness for being so selfish. Then say a prayer of thanksgiving for all that I have. I get up, wash my face, then wash the 8,968th load of laundry and smile as I ask “What are you hungry for tonight?” Because the simple fact is I am blessed beyond measure and cherish the life I’ve been given.
When it’s all said and done, I still choose us and it is a wonderful life…