My husband and I had a good talk yesterday. We’re both feeling a little fragile, a little down, a little overwhelmed right now.
We talked about the same stuff we always talk about when we feel this way. Whether what we’re doing is ever going to amount to anything. Whether it’s worth doing, worth all the effort and sacrifices we’ve made. Whether we’ve made the right choices. Or if there are harder choices yet to be made.
We don’t have unbridled youth and enthusiasm in front of us anymore. We’ve long passed even the most generous outer boundary of “middle age”.
It’s a time for thinking carefully about what we want the next 20 years to look like, and what we have to do to make that happen. Is this the right work for us? If it is, why is it so hard?
Is it time to hunker down and dig in? Or is it time to move on to the next thing? When do you know when it’s time to simply try something else?<
Do we stay in this small New England town, where we’ve built a great family life and made many friends? Or do we look for another region of the country for this next chapter in our lives? It’s got to have lots of sunshine but not too hot. It’s got to have community access to a great lap pool. It’s got to have access to horses I can ride. NO BLACK FLIES!
Do we sell our beautiful but increasingly high-maintenance 1850’s home? Or put more sweat equity into it, both for personal enjoyment and to keep costs down? I want to state for the record right here that I personally get very little enjoyment from engaging in sweat equity. One of my favorite movie lines of all times is from a trailer from a movie starring Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O’Donnell as special agents undercover, infiltrating some sort of sex club. A studly club employee, wearing a leather harness, says to Rosie in a sultry voice, “How can I fulfill your wildest fantasy?” And Rosie says, “Go paint my house.”
How do we take advantage of these last few years with our youngest child at home?< Is this the time to travel more? Or should we stick close to home?
Money is tighter than ever, not what we expected to happen at this age.< Should we cut back on spending as much as possible? Or throw fiscal caution to the wind and live a little?
There’s no way to answer these questions, of course. All we can do is keep our lines of communication open. And keep our options open. And be open to opportunity when it crosses our path.
Much as we yearn for a more clear road map right now, we know there’s no such thing. Oh, people can plan and prepare. But life has a way of throwing all kinds of twists and surprises at you, some good and some bad.
I know, too, that some of our choices have been excellent ones. As I drifted off to sleep last night, I realized one of my best choices ever was to be with someone who wants to be the person I can talk to about this stuff.
There are many other good choices that are just as clear to me. Even the bad choices have been….instructional.
In the end, it’s not about perfect choices.
It’s being able to learn and grow from everything that happens. To stay hopeful. To keep courage. To try new things, and make new choices. And to muddle on as best we can.
Because as life unfolds, it affects people one of two ways.
They can get thicker.
Or they can get deeper and richer.
I already know which kind of person I want to be.