Friday, February 3, 2012

What's Next?

Yesterday as I was driving to pick up Mom at the care center and take her to her beauty shop appointment, my usual begrudging attitude about having to do this made me ashamed. I made myself think along other lines. I love Mom and I'm certainly glad to still have her in my life even with her extra needs. But what about me? Back to selfish again. I'm sometimes tempted to sell all and move far away to some tropical utopia. (Isn't everyone?)

In looking back I have noticed a pattern in my life. (Wouldn't it be nice to have a life map and compass first?) About every decade, more or less, I have made a major change, some sort of thrilling like a beginner diving off a high board. The one that came to mind yesterday was the 1987 move. I had a respectable good paying job in 1986 and an almost paid off mortgage on my house, but it felt as if my head was bumping the ceiling. There was no way to expand my life in any direction. Plus I simply had an itch to move on, maybe menopausal madness?

So in 1986 I decided to sell my house and move to Tennessee, partly to be close to a guy with whom had a long distance relationship. I'd adopted my foster son who was now about 9 years old and much adored by my Mom and step-dad. We all lived in the same small town, and I knew they would be overwhelmingly opposed to my plan to move at least 2 states away. So one weekend when they were on an out of state trip, I listed my house with a realtor and accepted an immediate offer. Done deal - almost. This was in the fall, and it actually got a lot more complicated involving a rental house and finally a move to Tennessee in the spring of 1987. (Would have been so much more romantic just to hop on the interstate, drive off and live happily ever after...)

So anyway, I bought a house in TN, married my guy the following December, moved in with him, then moved back to my house in about March. So much for happily ever after - just couldn't make things work in the same house. Tried that again in 1989, but again it didn't work. So I bought a house in North Carolina, lived and worked there until 1997. I finalized a divorce, moved back to the town where my Mom still lived, and have been here since then.

I've often thought about how badly I messed up those years, but yesterday as I question the meaning behind all this, I realize that the trapped feeling I have now would be a thousand times worse if I had never had that adventure. If I had never moved away, I would have stayed with the same job without any advancement, the same house, the same neighborhood, etc. And I would likely have always pined for adventure growing more and more frustrated each year.

I guess the lesson is, even if life seems to be messed up, meaninless or wasted, there is always some good angle to it. Times of reflection often reveal gems of insight. Even when life seems stale and meaningless, I really need to appreciate and enjoy the now, because it does have meaning and value. If I can't quite see the broad picture clearly in this moment, I'll likely be able to see it later. I know I am where I'm supposed to be today, and my sense of purpose is recharged.

Wonder what it would be like to live in Hawaii?

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