As my train coasts on this bumpy ride, so do my thoughts travel on this life that I lead. Am I truly living my life, or is my existence a non-factor? If I died today, what would my legacy be? What would those around me have to say about their experiences of me?
By no means do I feel that someone’s opinion of me defines who I am. If anything, the reverse is true; however, as I have gotten older and wiser, I have learned that one’s perception of you can be used as a tool for self-reflection and subsequent personal development. I’ve been called many things over the years: introvert, anti-social, unapproachable, ‘standoffish’, etc. The underlying theme is that I have a tendency to get lost in my thoughts and shut the world out. While I have realized that my self-worth and enrichment in life is not predicated on the thoughts, opinions, nor the judgment of others, I understand that there is something to be said about constructive criticism. Ironically, one is typically more willing to accept criticism from their colleagues and employers regarding work performance, yet when it comes to our personal lives and any character flaws that we may possess, forget about it.
I’ll be the first to admit that there have been instances throughout my life when I didn’t agree with someone’s psycho-analysis of me, simply because I didn’t want to give that particular individual the satisfaction of believing they had me figured out, encapsulating my personality into one word. I try not to deliberately judge anyone. When I notice that I am inadvertently going down that path, I identify what is happening, try to determine why I feel the need to judge, and check it. It is bad enough that we all have our preconceived notions regarding literally everyone and everything. To project any of that negative energy onto the next person is just unreasonable. To put it simply, it isn’t fair.
My desires have evolved over the past decade. I used to be so focused on fulfilling what I thought was the ultimate destination for a woman – this woman, specifically – marriage, followed by motherhood. Now that I reflect on that way of thinking, it seems so naive and antiquated to me. Motherhood is definitely an attribute to be cherished and taken seriously, because I feel that it is one of, if not the greatest responsibility that one can have. Having been a single mother prior to marriage, I soon aspired to become a wife as a way of completing my purpose in life. In retrospect, with a pending divorce and as a single mother again, I understand that I can be complete and fulfilled, a whole woman, all by myself. I used to say that my children completed me, and then my husband “really” made my household complete. If that were the case, what kind of a life would I have when my children grew up and if my marriage were no more? I thank God for wisdom and insight, via many obstacles, tough decisions, and some rather easy, yet gut-wrenching ones. At this stage of my life, I desire the life experiences that I must create for myself. It is imperative to seek opportunities to generate the memories that will last a lifetime. I enjoy giving my children avenues to explore their creative side, away from the structure and rigidity of school. I enjoy helping others through the work that I do at my job. It actually gives me pleasure to do so. My personal life does leave a lot to be desired, at this very moment, yet there is no sense of expentancy, as in the past. I used to believe that the “pregnant pause” was a good thing. It used to give me something specific to look forward to, a sense of hope. I now feel that is no way to live in the moment. How can I enjoy what is happening today, or even allow my senses to take in this day, if I’m constantly pondering whatever is on the horizon? One thing we know with a certainty – tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. So why not give yourself a chance to experience today? I have spent my life either making choices to please others or kicking myself and worrying over how others will react to the choices I’ve made along the way. I have made myself ill with guilt and self-deprecating thoughts. Silly me!
I still have short and long-term goals, but I try not to let them consume me. Sometimes this passionate Piscean lets the “dreamer” take over and fantasizes about what could be, but that just breaks the monotony, right?