Podcast: Play in new window | Download
With my birthday fast approaching, I find myself thinking a lot about where my life is headed, about how I got here, and about what all the seemingly scattered bits and pieces of my eclectic experience up to this point is supposed to mean. The more I considered it all, the less I got. And that frustrated me on account of I’m older now and, according to The Rules, I’m supposed to have answers.
Isn’t it written somewhere that, at my age, I’m supposed to have arrived at some profoundly paradigm-shifting realizations about the new post-racial, post-post-feminist, green-leaning world order and my place in it all? Isn’t it my job to be up on these issues since I am, after all, the world’s foremost expert on me? How come, instead, I’m sitting up in the middle of the night, tapping out an inconclusive entry when what I initially hoped for was to show up on the page oozing enlightenment, a shining example of fabulousness that so many women seem to exude without trying? Even when I was a tweener, those women, fully self-actualized at the crest of their respective sexual, psychological, and socially-oriented peaks seemed more mythic than real and unlike any of the women I knew.
They were presented as larger-than-life modern-day goddesses who handily straddled demanding worlds of home, husbands, and high-profile jobs in stacked pumps, power suits, and perfect hair. Not only did they bring home the bread, they came bearing bacon too, fried it up for their guys, and never, never let them forget they were men. I had no clue what that was supposed to look like in real life, and wondered if it involved me tailing him around the house—when I wasn’t busy making bacon sandwiches—affirming his sex by way of verbal reinforcement each time he behaved mannishly. Would it have warranted a constant clutching at his crotch as a loving reminder of his ever present maleness? I simply didn’t know.
Fast forward a couple of decades beyond my tweens, and I’m still marveling at middle-aged ladies who seem to do, be, and have it all. How’d they manage that? If it looks like I’m playing at comparisons here, you’d be right. I’d even add that after more than enough time spent stacking my life experiences up against this unbelievable standard, it’s obvious to me I was losing out every time I measured my life against values that hardly had me in mind. Even though I’ve always known this in my head, there’s a lot to be said for embodying a belief. Because when what you know in your head also resides in your bones, there’s no going back. At least, not in the same way. Ever again.
I can appreciate the twists and turns that brought me here to this very spot on my crushed velvet couch in snow-capped Colorado—for all of the short-lived loves, the interminable tests of faith, for loyal friends, for heart-and-mind-expanding travel, for committed students and teachers, for wonderful clients, an unconditionally loving pal of a cat, and more. For it all, I’m grateful. In my world, pan frying will burn if you’re not careful. And if my man doesn’t already know he’s a man, then he’d better move on because it’s not likely I can convince him.
All told, when we step out of the losing game of applying other people’s standards to our own lives, we get to see how clearly, possibly, our experiences knit together in a synchronous pattern, and we get a great reminder that all truly is well. Here’s a quote I love from Charles Schulz, creator of Pigpen, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Chucky B, Snoopy and the gang. It reminds me that, to the extent I’m able to embrace and celebrate the treasure of this unique journey as my own, guess what? I win. He said:
My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy.
I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
You might also like:
Don’t Stop Believin!
The Gift of Receiving