“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
― Allen Saunders
I was puttering around the kitchen this morning, putting away dishes, feeding animals (the furry ones, not the human ones), making coffee, and pondering what I am going to DO with my life. It was a pretty big question for 5:30 in the morning and I hadn't yet started the intravenous caffeine drip.
I spent the majority of my first 18 years on the planet looking forward to college. When I'm 18, I thought, I'll move to a BIG city and I'll go to school. I'll be ON MY OWN. And that (except for the BIG city part unless you consider Raleigh a big city...which, honestly, was WAY bigger than anywhere I'd ever lived), was what I did. I had never really looked BEYOND college, though, and was a bit flummoxed when I found myself chock full of a brand new bachelor's degree and nothing really to DO with it. I had had grand plans at one point. I was going to join the Peace Corps and Save the World. But then I got a serious boyfriend and he was fairly insistent that our relationship would end if I spent the greater part of two years in Africa. Since everyone KNOWS that a BOYFRIEND is really the best thing in life, I stayed home. I stayed home, flummoxed and floundering.
Well, that Boyfriend and I got married. And THEN I spent the next six years looking forward to The Next Big Move. He had joined the Navy. We moved to Florida and I looked forward to moving to South Carolina. We moved to South Carolina and I....well, OK, I didn't look FORWARD to moving to Connecticut but I thought it might be interesting. We moved to Connecticut and I REALLY looked forward to moving to Hawaii.
When we got to Hawaii, I started looking forward to getting out of the Navy. THEN, I thought, then life will REALLY begin. I got pregnant and I looked forward to the baby. Then I looked forward to HIS 18th birthday.
When we got out of the Navy, I looked forward to "settling down" and buying a house. And having another baby. And HIS 18th birthday. Because my Husband knew that I NEEDED something to look forward to, we planned a 10th anniversary trip. So I could look forward to traveling to St. Lucia.
And then, something funny happened. I had NOTHING ELSE TO LOOK FORWARD TO. Life stretched out in front of me like a vast wasteland of....nothing. Nothing but plain ol' regular...life. How do you DEAL with that? It sounded so...boring.
So I started taking classes. I mean, I took a LOT of classes. I wanted something to look forward to. I tried to feed myself new things in a desperate attempt to find something (anything) to cling to.
And then, another funny thing happened. I got divorced. At that point, there really was nothing left to look forward to other than, well, dying. Because I had done it all, hadn't I? I had been to college, landed the Boyfriend, had the Kids and then...nothing.
I spent the first several years after my divorce flummoxed. And floundering. I couldn't think of a single thing to look forward to.
The next 40 will be different (if I get so lucky as to have another 40). The next minute will be different. THIS minute is different already. I pause. I acknowledge. I appreciate. I am grateful.
I sometimes forget my living in the moment lifestyle and I start panicking about what I have to look forward to (other than death). And then I remember to breathe in. And out. And acknowledge that in THIS moment, I have everything I need.
Life is good.
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