“When you’re done with this world, you know the next is up to you.” John Mayer
It has been a year since my mother passed away; Twelve months of me reclaiming my life. Although, I’m not sure reclaiming would be the correct term. Instead, I think I am rebuilding my new world. That is why John Mayer’s words resonate with me. The end of my era as my mother’s guardian also coincides with the end of my era as a full-time mother. My husband and I have successfully encouraged our daughters to grow their own wings and leave the nest feeling confident in their lives ahead. Kudos to us. So, the next is up to me. Where do I go from here?
The good news is I can make my choices based on over a half century of living. I certainly have life experiences, and I plan on using them to make, what I hope, are wise decisions. My husband and I live a good life in suburbia. We have enough to enjoy pursuing the activities we like to do. Because we have accomplished this goal, personal happiness is my next biggest objective.
That desire is encumbered with the many heartrending aspects I have in my life involving those I love. Friends and family, who have joy sucking circumstances they are facing. The kind that leave you searching for sunshine even when it is sparkling through your window. I realize that, especially as we mature, my situation is not unique; how I go about living my life, that is what is exclusive to me. I want to be there for those I love and support, a hand to hold, the one who listens without judgment. But, it is also my wish to be able to share some happiness with them. I want to encourage a new thought process, to not dwell on the injustice, if you will, of their lives. Instead I would like to concentrate on the bright spots in life, the obvious and more importantly, the simple wonders of everyday. I want them to feel, we are in this together.
Part of finding my new world is discovering what makes me happy, my purpose in life. Writing, I know, is definitely on the list. My part-time teaching job brings me joy, as I travel from school to school bringing a field trip to classrooms with The Scotia-Glenville Traveling Children’s Museum. I love both of these aspects of my life’s journey. I also appreciate the fact I don’t have to worry about a generous income from either.
Realizing these thoughts, I have decided to practice the art of listening to my feelings and wants. At times, putting my needs in front of others. Something, we as woman or perhaps parents, don’t always get to do as we raise our families or care for others. I have found my needs are not far from where I have been, they have just increased in their importance. Spending time with friends and my sisters is one of the most important aspects of my life. Sometimes, I have to travel to do that, but I am growing more accustomed to the idea that the cost can be outweighed by the joy the trip brings. After all, what can bring more pleasure to your soul than hearing the laughter of those you love, or feeling the comfort of a much needed hug? I am also working on having a more adult relationship with my grown daughters. All involved must change our thought process to include a more give and take relationship. Not the one that served us well as they grew, of parent giving and the child taking. This course of action will take time but I am willing to wait for the fruition of my efforts to develop.
I have learned many lessons during my 54 years of life experiences. My journey has taught me that I will gain friends and lose them. But, more importantly, to hold onto the lessons I learn from those experiences. I hope I taught my daughters the self-strength and compassion it takes to care for your mother as she slides into the nothing of dementia. I know with the leadership of my sister I have gained a new spiritual strength; learning how to accept the guidance of both earth angels and heavenly ones. Building and constantly working on a relationship with my husband is still a continual part of my life. Together we have experienced the exhilaration of holding a tightly blanket wrapped newborn, and the daunting task of helping her grow to adulthood. I have come to understand that some of the most important relationships in life are the ones with your sisters, whether they are related to you by blood or by experience. The love and companionship of those women have, over the years, given me the courage, strength and self-confidence to continue to move forward with my life.
My next world is up to me, and I am determined to make it happy. I hope to find the positive even in a negative situation. I promise to continue to build my self-confidence and make choices based on my wants. I have realized that sometimes putting yourself first, in the end, can be beneficial to those around you. I have come to relish the bliss it brings me to watch myself accomplish goals I have recently set for myself. It gives me the strength I need, to in turn wash my friends and family with the waves of my happiness. I hope it brightens even a part of their day.