I think it’s funny how “the way it should be” is totally ingrained in our heads from such a young age that as we sail into adulthood, we put all these expectations on ourselves to be “more.” We let other people define our success. We let other people tell us what we should have by now. We let other people tell us who we should love or not love. And nobody is immune. You can eventually talk yourself out of believing in those ideologies, but I think once they are firmly rooted in your brain, it takes more than just a few meditation sessions to get past it. I’m guilty of it too. I will be 43 in just a few days and by societies standards, I’m not what you would call the picture of success. Sure it’s measured differently by different people and there is nobody harder on you than you are on yourself. I will be the first to admit that I feel like a failure. Not all the time, just when I think about how things “are supposed” to be. When I think of how far I’ve come from being a teenage mom to now, I can easily convince myself of my successes. But when I think about the things that matter to me or the things I wish I were doing, I go right back to beating myself up. I know I’m not alone in this.
Switching gears, I almost died today. It’s not the first time in my life I have escaped death. I was sitting in my car, in front of my house, waiting for my kiddo to come out so I could take him to the YMCA. The neighbor across the street had let their dog out without a leash. The dog walked right into the middle of the road as a Suburban came flying down the street easily going 50 mph in a residential 25 mph zone. She (neighbor lady) screams at the top of her lungs, maybe at the dog, maybe at the truck. I was on the phone with Nate watching this car screech and slide straight for me. And I stayed so calm. I didn’t even tell Nate about it. I didn’t say anything. I just kept talking to him as if the whole situation didn’t just happen. We hung up the phone. I dropped kiddo off at the YMCA and then I went to Nate’s for no good reason except that I wanted to see his face because there was this small part of me that thought, if today was the day that I took my last breath, I would want to make sure I saw this guy who is so considerate to me just one more time. I wasn’t rattled or shaken up like I’ve been before when I thought I was going to die. And maybe I knew I probably wouldn’t have died. I would have just had a totaled car and a face full of airbag, but that was still enough to make me re-evaluate my life.
Great kids. Job that I like. Roof over my head. Food in my belly. Shoes without holes (except the ones that should have holes). And now this guy. Sure he’s atypical, but what has typical gotten me lately? Unboyfriend… married dude… the kind of guys who send dick pics. Not the kind of guy who buys veggie pizza because I don’t eat meat. Not the kind of guy who will drive 20 minutes to see me for 5. I think in the big scheme of things, there is some level of success there. Maybe not the societal kind, but definitely the personal triumph kind.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I decided to stop worrying about how things “should be by now” and just be thankful for what is right now. Maybe Nate will end up being just like Flea Market guy and be a complete and total shit. And maybe I’ll never be a well-known author who is getting booked around the country for gigs. It’s not likely I’ll ever live out my stand up comedian fantasy. I won’t be celebrating my birthday on a beach this year. But I guess none of those things really matter, because, despite all the things that may never happen, today is good. And tomorrow is looking like it will be pretty comparable to today. And that makes this life pretty good.