Day 7: Someone Who Has Made My Life Worth Living For

Nephews.

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Day 6: Something I Hope I Never Have To Do

This one is too painful for me to think about for too long.

Let’s just say that, I hope it is a long time from now, but when the time comes with regard to certain loved ones, I really really really hope I die first.  Because having to bury them would kill me.

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Day 5: Something I Hope To Do In My Life

There is only one goal in my life that I have yet to accomplish:  I would like to have a family.  There are all kinds of reasons why people want families, and why people don’t.  I don’t really have a reason, or if I do, it’s very simple.  My immediate family is very close, though small, and I grew up in a home that was full of love.  I have always wanted to carry on with that love and create more of it, both to give and to receive.

I’ve never been in a hurry, but I had a specific plan of what I wanted and how I wanted it to happen.  From my childhood through my early 30s, this meant finding the right guy, dating for some time, getting married, enjoying being married for a few years, having a kid, then having another one.  Happy little family, done the traditional way.

Life is what happens when we are busy making plans.

I’m 37 years old now, and no closer to accomplishing this “goal” than I was at age 23.  Well, I think (I hope) I’m probably more mature and have had some life experience that makes me better equipped to handle a long-term partnership and raising a kid or two.  I have also learned two major life lessons along the way:

1.  It’s good to have goals.   Personal goals of completing school, hitting certain fitness milestones, or creating financial health are all dependent on just you, and are largely within your control, though you may have to adjust a few parameters here and there.  But trying to make a goal of something that is dependent upon another person — such as a relationship or lifelong partnership — will only lead to bad choices and a sense of failure.

Finding someone to spend your life with, raise a family with, grow old with — this is not something entirely within one’s control, not if you want it to be the right person.  The twists and turns of life might bring you your soulmate at age 18 (in the case of some friends of mine), or find you happy and solo until you meet someone who rocks your world at age 50 (in the case of another friend).  In my case, spending ages 28 to 35 in a state of chronic illness and limited social interaction put a damper on what some might consider “prime” years.  Age is arbitrary . . . it’s essentially a meaningless number when it comes to your life and what you do with it and how you give it meaning.  Yes, there is that biological clock thing.  But that leads me to the other lesson I’ve learned . . .

2.  Families come in all shapes, sizes, sorts, compositions, and relations.  I realized several years ago that my “plan” of getting married and giving birth to 2.3 children just may not be in the cards for me.  I may not find a partner during my childbearing years (see #1).  Fertility at my age is uncertain.  I could have a child on my own, it is nice to have that option, though I know my personality is not cut out for voluntary single parenthood.  The person I end up creating a life with could have children already.  With my health history, adoption could be difficult for me.  Two children would be nice, but these days I could end up with quadruplets.  Any of these options is possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not desperate.  I’m far from lonely.  Were that the case, I would have settled a long time ago (and possibly be divorced and single parenting, or at least unhappy, by now).  The other option, of course, is that I don’t find a partner or have children at all.  That’s okay, too.  Because it’s possible to create a family for oneself with no husband and no children, by keeping relatives and friends and loved ones around.  Nurturing those relationships brings tremendous fulfillment and love to one’s life, and I am lucky enough to have that in spades.

That’s why I like the title of this post, something I hope to do in life.  If I were desperate, or if this were within my control, having a family of my own would be something I plan to do.  In this case, not only is it something I can’t plan, it’s something I wouldn’t want to.  I’m enjoying creating a full and happy life for myself, and as that life takes me on its journey, I will be pleased to see wherever I end up.

 

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A brief interlude

Since going public, I have received several comments here and privately (which means more than 3 people are reading this, thanks). I would like to address a couple of things mentioned:

1. The order of posts. This is something that is dictated by the project. As I stated in the first post, I got this from The Palinode, whom I’ve been reading for years now, and who inspired me to begin writing again with this project. I don’t make the rules. I didn’t set the agenda. This is how it works, so this is what I’m doing. And yes, I know your comments are intended to be supportive of me, but trust me: stick with it and you will be pleased. I promise.

2. Who gets to do this. You don’t need my permission if you would like to take on this project for yourself. I certainly didn’t ask The Palinode’s. In his original post, he gave the list of prompts for each of the 30 days, in case others wanted to do this as well. So, join us! If you choose to do it publicly, send me your link and I will add it to my (not-yet-created) blogroll here. The more the merrier, I say.

Even if you aren’t writing, just reading, thanks for joining me. It won’t always be fun, but I hope it will at least always be moderately interesting.

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Day 4: Something I Have to Forgive Someone For

I need to forgive every man I have ever dated for ultimately rejecting me and choosing to be with someone else.

Most of these men were not right for me, I can see that now (and in some cases saw it then).  It didn’t matter.  They still didn’t want me.  Now look, I don’t need a man to feel validated.  Probably 90% of my adult life has been single and uncoupled.  I am fine, whole and complete, on my own.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy to be actively unwanted.

It’s not about self-esteem.  I am a damn good catch.  I am smart, sometimes funny, not hideous to look at.  I am both independent and nurturing at the same time.  I am very self-aware, but also empathetic.  I have many gifts to offer.

Which is why I don’t understand why no one has wanted them, and, by correlation, me.  And because I don’t understand, I get angry and frustrated.  And because I am frustrated, I end up taking that frustration out on the men themselves.  Years go by, and I will think that I am over it, and yet . . .

Since it has happened so many times, every time, I expect it to happen again.  So, with each new man I meet (which is not very often), I am just waiting for the rejection to come.  I punish new suitors for the sins of the old.  Old suitors I didn’t really want, anyway, and certainly wouldn’t now.

I would like to get rid of this baggage, please.  I would like to stop waiting for that moment of rejection.  I would like to stop building walls and avoiding getting too close.  I would like to have a future instead of being stuck with this artificial pain of the past.  I would like to learn how to forgive when I wasn’t even wronged.

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Day 3: Something I Have to Forgive Myself For

This is an easy one:  being human.

I don’t have very high standards for people.  I don’t expect much of anything, not because I am cynical and am perpetually disappointed.  The simple fact is, I believe that people will do the best they can do when they want to, and will do what they want to the rest of the time.  Regardless, we can’t control others, so having standards and expectations only sets us up for frustration and disappointment if they are not met.  It’s so much easier just to be pleased by others’ unexpected actions.

As for me, on the other hand, I am superhuman.  Or at least I am supposed to be.  The list of things I am expected to do, be, believe, accomplish . . . well, it’s quite long.  Neverending, in fact.  “Perfectionist” is not enough of a word to describe my state of being.

It’s hard for me to accept compliments for a job well done, because for me, well done is the minimum.  There is no superior performance — there is good, and there is substandard.

For me, there is no difference between a few dustbunnies under a pile of unopened mail, and a room that could be on Hoarders — in both cases the house is filthy.

All or nothing with me, and “All” is unattainable.  Therefore, I never, ever succeed.  I am always failing at something, usually at most things.  The result is that most of the time, I live in this state of Substandard.  (Example: my house is rarely clean enough for company.)  If perfection is unattainable, attempting to climb that mountain is simply a waste of time.

I have no idea where this comes from.  No clue about anything that happened in my childhood, or along the way, to put me in this state of thinking.  And it’s not a self-esteem thing, either.  I happen to have a very healthy sense of myself, except in one area (more on that later).  It’s because I think highly of myself that I expect more of myself, and I know what I am capable of.

I need to forgive myself for not living up to the impossible expectations I set.  I need to forgive myself for setting them in the first place.  I need to change my thinking entirely, and see my inability to meet impossible standards as some sort of failure on my part.  I need to get myself out of this perpetual state of failure.

I’ll have to start by trying to figure out how.

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Day 2: Something I Love About Myself

I can talk to anyone.

To

ANYONE.

Anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances.  Any age, any race, any political persuasion, any religious views.  Anyone.

I don’t mean “talk to” as in, give monologues or make soliloquies or ramble on about Me.  One thing I love about myself is that I can meet someone new, start up a conversation, and find something in common to discuss.

How, you ask?  I don’t really know.  If I stopped and thought about it, I could probably come up with a few answers.  I’m not particularly charming, or well-traveled, or anything like that, but I do know how to ask people questions about themselves.  Talking to strangers, and getting them to talk back, is very simple:

You don’t have to be interesting.  Just be interested.

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