Freedom – I get to wake up whenever I choose, usually with the birds as the first flicker of light sneaks between the slats of our blinds. It means today is mine, to do as I see fit. Maybe it will be spent scrubbing my house down, or going to a movie…yes, in the middle of the day, shopping for a new dress for an upcoming wedding, or running small errands; which will include picking up something yummy for lunch. Though my favorite days include writing, whether on a book, a blog, a poem or even the task of editing…it is by far what I love to do. Then there is photography – another love of mine because whenever I engage that shutter, peace engulfs me as I capture something in that space of time that will likely change in the next second or two or perhaps a day…but I now have forever what I witnessed in that moment.
Guilt – yes, a little bit now and then…lurking in the shadows of my heart. I’m selfishly enjoying my days while others struggle to get through the traffic on their way to work. I recently had a request to help someone out for about an hour a day, but I declined. You might ask why, what’s the big deal…it’s only an hour out of your day. Right…but it’s also in the middle of the day…my writing and photography are full-time hobbies. As selfish as it sounds, I’m not willing to give up my freedom. I like knowing I can do whatever I choose with no obligations to anyone other than my husband and my home. I’m not saying I don’t help out friends or family when needed, I’m not insensitive to others and I enjoy visiting and/or helping friends out now and then…just not routinely. I will admit, if I was in Washington and my daughter needed help with the kids I’d work my schedule out around theirs…you bet, or if my son called and asked for a visit to help with my newest grandson, I’d be there in a heartbeat, because blood runs thick in our veins and each cell is pure love…nothing more needs to be said.
But here in the sunny state of Colorado…my life is mine. I’m blessed with a husband that understands my need to be free and is forever thankful for all I do for him and our home. He tells me to let go of any guilt I harbor because I can’t be everything to everyone, and it’s okay to be my own project instead…he says to be happy, happy, happy…and I am.
Pride & Gratitude – because I made it. I can look back through my life and know I worked hard to get here. Years of 50-70 hour work weeks while juggling children, their schedules, the housework, dinner along with packing lunches, homework, grocery shopping, cooking, paying bills – including who to pay with the paycheck and who not to because those pennies only stretched so far. More years than I can remember, there were no movies out, no dinners out, no manicures or pedicures to relax with, no vacation trips other than camping, no decent car to insure safety for my children. After some struggles, I was able to squeak out a small car payment to get something new and safe. Okay, so I was forced to manage it because without it I had no way to work. Was it a grand SUV or something sporty…heck no, but I was grateful. I was also always grateful for the ultimate quiet…yep, that was usually around midnight when my day finally ended. No, I didn’t stay up watching TV until midnight, I was in bed by ten…it was those few hours when I would lay there planning for tomorrow or having my mind spin over multiple issues I was dealing with on any given day. Only when I could shut down my mind was I able to slowly drifted off to sleep.
Advice or the right to ramble on – as the years went by, life started to get a bit easier – the kids became more independent and more helpful. My paychecks increased because I stepped up the ladder to get that added bonus of money until I realized I was making less per hour because I was working even more hours on a salary instead of hourly wage…oh well. Then I was hit with the teen years…not mine, my kids…oh yeah, those were fun, but again I made it.
Life continued to evolve for me and my children and today I look back and feel surprised at all the years that have passed by, all the struggles now over, all the good times we had, the tough times we endured and now I enjoy all the promises tomorrow brings.
For all of you young people out there, life does get easier…though it may not seem that way now. Find ways to decompress whenever you can, take fifteen minutes with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and your favorite book…alone. Go ahead and plan out tomorrow, but I can say with some certainty, it will come whether you plan it out or not, so get some sleep. It’s okay to realize you can’t do it all, something my generation really struggled with. It’s okay to ask for help. Be grateful if someone says yes and be understanding if they say no. But don’t let that stop you from asking someone else…you never know who is willing to help unless you ask.
I thank God daily because I made it and I’m where I want to be in life. I was lucky enough to retire a couple years early…thanks again to my husband. We keep our pursestrings tight but we enjoy our days and nights knowing we are right where we’re suppose to be.
I’m not foolish, I realize at any moment or any day, anything can happen to change my situation…until then I will enjoy, appreciate and know I am blessed…hmmm…guess today was a writing day.