In response to the question “How are you?”, it’s trendy to say, “I’m living the dream.” That reply is generally meant to be sarcastic, but it just might be true. Credit for that insight goes to Gotham Gal, one of my favorite bloggers. In a recent post she asked:
If you look back at who you were at 17 or so, and what you expected in your life, are you still “the same person” inside? Is your life fundamentally what you hoped for, or is it dramatically different?
I chose to re-publish this question because I believe too many of us think our childhood dreams will never come true. Think long and hard: perhaps you’ve already achieved more than you realize.
Basically, yes, I think I’m the same person I was at 17, and that’s good and bad. As an only child, I was often lonely and curious about the world. I lost myself in a sea of books, especially biographies. I was creative in diverse ways, making doll houses from manila paper, sewing clothes for Barbie (and myself), and learning to play the guitar from library books. I was also quite spiritual, though not religious, believing that God knew me, heard me, and loved me.
These days, when I can find the time, I’m still a voracious reader of fiction and non-fiction. I also enjoy various forms of needlework, and I find God waiting for me in every dimension of my life: in nature, in people and through every experience.
The “bad”? I’m still quick to be self-deprecating, convinced that I’m the the person least worthy of praise or honors. The difference is that now I know that’s not the truth. You couldn’t have told me that back then. I’m still often lonely, as the older I get, the more I miss not having sisters and brothers and the nieces and nephews they might have produced.
At 17, I clearly remember dreaming of a life as a writer, working from a beautiful home, writing Great American Novels. I hoped to be rich, or at least financially secure, My dream included a wonderful husband, an adorable dog and at least 3 children. Much of that has come true.
Husband: My mother and my grandmother were married 3 times each. I never wanted that life. I’ve been married twice, and blessed to find a really good guy the second time around (we’ll celebrate 20 years in July).
Dog: Nope, but I’ve had a several cats and the current one thinks he’s a dog, sitting with his tongue out and eating any human food he’s lucky enough to get. A dog is #1 on my bucket list.
Children: Nope. During my first marriage, which I knew was probably doomed from the start, I went through a round of fertility treatments that failed. I thought that even if the marriage didn’t work, at least I’d have a baby. Now, I’m glad that God refused to let me succeed at such a high level of stupidity.
In my current marriage, I didn’t try half as hard; if it happened, it happened. Obviously, it didn’t happen. My attempts to persuade my husband to adopt were half-hearted. It was OK…until it wasn’t. I grieved that loss for a long time, but again, I have to believe that a Higher Power knew best once again.
Money: My husband and I are financially “comfortable,” but not secure. I worry about money probably more than I should, because every day holds possibilities I can’t even imagine.
Writing: I’ve excelled in several classes over the years, and the outline of my Great American Novel is complete. Whether I ever finish that book or not, I am already working from a beautiful home and self-publishing my writing every day. You’re reading it now, and that satisfies my soul.