Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life Lessons

So it's been a while since I have sat down to write a blog.  With my birthday soon approaching (a Milestone one), I have done a lot of thinking about what I have learned in  my almost 50 years here.  First I can't believe that I am turning 50, nor can my mother, I think she may be more upset about it than me.  I still feel like I'm 35..because I think it was at 35 I started to feel really comfortable in my skin....although at 49, my skin is not looking anything like it did at 35 and that's probably the one thing I really don't care for about getting older.  Oh that and that awful thing called Menopause...which hit me like tsunami.  Of the 34 symptoms I had counted 21 that I had in full force which I was totally not prepared for.  I credit my wonderful, amazing Dr. Paz with making me feel better.  And I'm sure Max and Gary would like to thank him as well as I was pretty much an emotional tyrant for a while.

I've learned in my years that there are lots of things I like, dislike, can't tolerate, want to do, dream about...

I'd like to be able to retire now.  I mean really.  If I could I would because as you get older your appreciation for time consumes you.   I used to look at time in years, months, now it's hours, minutes.   I try to utilize my time as  best I can but it goes by so is hard to wrangle it.    I do find that I don't do things I don't want to do (if I can help it and within limits) with my time.  I don't let guilt dictate what I do with my time.  Well only if it's my son making me feel guilty.

I still and it will never change, have no tolerance for bullies, and it bums me out that in 2012 not only do we still have bullying going on in the schools it is actually in the work place as I sadly must say have seen in my own workplace.   Bullies are just mean people.  They are typically unhappy people, they must be, because only unhappy people would choose to make other people unhappy.  It just breaks my heart and I am trying to teach my son to recognize and shut down a bully if he sees someone being hurt by them.  And I don't mean physically shut them down I mean notify someone, or verbally say something or move the victim out of the area away from the mean nasty  bully.  And bullies I have learned are everywhere including in families where pretty much it all if you know of a bully or you know of someone being bullied...don't sit  by casually and ignore it.  Step up.  A lot of bullies stop the behavior once they are called out on it.  

I will never have time to visit all the places in the world I want to go like Africa, Australia, Ireland, Italy, but I sure am going to try....

I have no regrets about not being married though I have been asked, interviewed, grilled, harassed, cajoled, about not being married.  I am fortunate to be with a man who has the same views on the subject, the same fears about it, and we have successfully had a child together, have remained together for going on thirteen years.  I will never have any reason to hate him, we will always do what is best for our son.  We do not have vicious fights because well we only see each other on the weekends.  We both live in two different countries and have homes in both that make it pretty cool for Max.   Don't get me wrong I did have expectations to get married have three kids and live happily ever after, but I'm a realist and the reality of marriage being "happily ever after" wasn't something I believed in because I had witnessed too many of them fall apart.  I witnessed my parents marriage disintegrate, and my sister's and most recently my brother's...could it be that our own parents marriage played a part...who knows..I think it did for me, only because I was afraid of that, of having kids, of putting them through a bitter I took a different path, and it is one I believe was the right path for me.  Now, do I want my child to get married?  Absolutely, because I do believe marriages are successful my Aunt and Uncle were married for 50 years, my neighbors in both the US and Canada seem to have healthy marriages (oh they have their moments but they all do!).  And Max gets to see these relationships, and gets to understand that families are different.  But for Max yes, I do hope to one day be at his wedding, and that will probably be the second happiest day in my life.

I've learned that friends are absolutely critical, they make all the difference in having a happy life.  I love love love my friends.  And I have also learned that you make new friends in unexpected places and some of the friends I have made recently have been the biggest supporters of my art work, they encourage me, inspire me, and are huge cheerleaders.
Friends truly get you through difficult times as I have truly found out in the last year, when the loss of Gary's Mother occurred, my father's battle with cancer, and my little sweet dog's passing.

Speaking of dogs,  I've learned that I will always have two, I will always adopt rescue dogs, as the two dogs I adopted were proof of how amazing  older dogs are.  The ones no one wants because they aren't cute puppies are the best dogs ever, because they are so grateful for being saved.  As much as Max would like a puppy, he knows that adopting rescue dogs is the best path for us to take.  Our little dog Chance is still hanging on, the victim of horrible horrible abuse, he is loved day after day, and although he can't see, and he has trouble walking, he snuggles with us, and eats, and keeps me up at night with his crazy sleep noises but he is are little animal angel, I think he senses how much we miss Finnegan and is trying to make up for it.

I've learned that I want to be an artist full time one day, I know that it's a bit late in the game, but it is a dream, and it may not realistically happen until I retire as I do have bills to pay and a child to raise, but it is one of the reasons I play the lotto regularly!  To be able to sit and draw and design all kinds of fun things would be my idea of heaven!

I've learned that your family is your family, with all their flaws, and weaknesses there are also their strengths, their unconditional love, their forgiveness, their support, their "I love you's", their quiet strength.  My family...dysfunctional like so many other families, have had their ups and downs, but through it all we stick together, because that is what you do with your family, you stick with them, you support them, you listen to them, you advise them, you love them.  You don't get to pick your family but you sure pick how you interact with them, how you support them, how you love them.  Even through some of the greatest challenges, we need to be forgiving.

I've learned that having a child at 41, was a bit crazy, but crazy in the best way  possible.  I love my child, I watch him change and grow daily, I get mad at him, I laugh with him, we work on his homework and read together, I play basketball with him, I watch him excel in sports, I answer his many questions, put up with all boy craziness, nag at him to quit being lazy and pick up his stuff.  But he is the best, the very best thing I have ever done with my life.  Children teach you so much...and I couldn't have asked for a better son.  

And so as I near the 50 mark with half my life being over it makes me reflect on all that I have, all that I have done, and all the more I plan to do.  And I Thank God, for giving me the life I have because it is truly one that I am thankful for.  

I'll be in Chicago the weekend of my 50th (Not the exact day) with some dear friends and then the following week Max, Gary and I will be having fun in Hilton Head.  Good things to look forward to as I near this Milestone, and all I can say is I sure am glad I made it and hope to hit a few other BIG ones!