Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wrap up

 In recent conversation with my mother, I made a comment to her about how I tend to look at people born in the late 80's and 90's and am astounded by how much they think they know.  It led me to verbalize how I'm quite sure that when I'm in my sixties and seventies, I will look at my thirties and marvel at how I really didn't know shit.    That's right, people.  For all the 'know it all' comments and accusations I get, fact is that I'm well aware of how much I don't know.   

2010 was a horrible year.  I had very high hopes for 2011.  Looking at the year in a quick glance, it would be easy to say that it fell terribly short as well, but upon further inspection, that's not completely true.  Brace yourselves, I'm doing the 'cup half full' thing.  New territory for me, but terrain worth exploring.   I learned and realized so many things.  Some of them hurt badly, and some realizations had to come painfully slow and at an emotionally detrimental cost to myself and others around me.  Still, I'm coming out of this year smarter, tougher and because of those things, more happy.

Being a parent has been the happiest, rewarding, scary, most painful and gut wrenching experience of my life.  I have a grown son (grown by legal standards, that is.)   I spent the better part of the past two years trying to save him from himself...from making  bad decisions that could affect the rest of his life.  I failed, probably because it was never my battle to win.  The more frightened I got about his chosen paths, the more I attempted to tighten my grip and control.  Seeing my young self in him was terrifying to me, you never want your children to go through the same horrible phases you went through, you want them to learn from your experiences.  Funny how they don't see it that way.  Yeah, we didn't take anyone's word for it either.  Go figure.

After beating my head against  the proverbial wall repeatedly, wasting away for months crying and wringing my hands in turmoil and worry, I had an epiphany. None of this was necessary because I was done.  Not done with my son, but done with my job of raising him.   We instill in them what we think is important, we try to provide the tools that they need to be productive members of society and then we're supposed to let them go live their lives however they choose to.   Regardless of the mistakes that I see him make, I now refuse to let myself try to intervene.   He doesn't want my advice, input and saving.  He's got this.  Even if he doesn't, he's on his own supporting himself and that makes it not my business anymore.  I learned a valuable phrase this year.  Instead of my head spinning around and my blood pressure rising every time I hear a new ridiculously bad idea, I pull it out.   "Well, son, I hope that works out for you the way you want it to."   And with that, I leave it.     Everyone must carve out their own path in life, how I personally feel about his path is less important than I once thought it may be, which was not the easiest pill to swallow.  Hey, that's life.

It may not seem like a hard thing for most of you to do or understand, but it took a lot to get me here.   And I'm not leaving.   I have retired my moonlighting job as Captain Save a Ho.     Not only with my son, but with everyone else around me.   The only saving I'm doing is the saving of my own sanity.   It's a good place to finally be.   I've lost some relationships due to my newfound resolve, but there are always casualties when it comes to finding your own happiness.  I wouldn't trade it.

I have spent the past seven and a half years in a profession that is as curious to me as it is to the people that knew me before I ended up there.  It was taken up strictly because of the benefits and flexibility that it provided me in terms of being a mother.  My younger child has spent every school vacation with me and not in a camp or daycare.  I have been incredibly involved in every aspect of his life and we are thick as thieves and love spending every moment together.  That I would not trade.  But as he grows older, I see that it's time for me to take some of my life back.   I have done what I have been threatening to do for so long….. I have made a change and set the wheels in motion.

Before I go patting myself on the back, I must admit that this change should have happened two or three years ago.  Frankly, fear of change, failure and the unknown have kept me from making good on my never ending promises to just pull the damn trigger.   This year threw me right over the edge, and for once that is a wonderful thing.  I found my proverbial balls and stopped complaining and sulking about how miserable I was and started living differently.  It began with small things and snowballed up to bigger life changes.   I see opportunity everywhere, right there for the taking.   It is invigorating.

A woman like me has to admit, even if my life for the past decade had been all puppy dogs and roses, the wanderer and bohemian in me would have started nagging in an increasingly louder voice inside my brain for something different, for a change.  I know myself too well to blame it solely on circumstance.  Instead of trying to fight that part of my personality, I have just accepted it.  What a damn relief.    I have to keep moving, and that doesn't mean blowing apart everything that is good right along with the bad.  It means allowing yourself continuous evolvement without guilt.

I made the tragic mistake of thinking that all of my self sacrifice would raise me to a new and awesome level of impressive wife and mother.   It didn't work out that way.  Instead my family got the worst parts of me more often than they should.  No one wants a bitter and cranky Me around.  The normal Me is hard enough to take.  Besides, unlike 91% of Latin females out there, I don't wear martyrdom well.  It just doesn't  look very good on me.

 So really, it basically comes down to this.

1.  Learn when to let go.  You can't control everything. If you try, you will  either exhaust or destroy    yourself.  Hell, you may do both.
2.  If you don't like the life you live, change it now because it's yours.  Do it now, no one has an eternity to sit around and wait for the 'right time'.

It's hard to fathom that this seemingly unending rollercoaster  called 2011 can be summed up so shortly at the end of the ride.  But I'll take those two ideas, tuck them into my hat as hard earned life lessons and keep on truckin'.  Some of you may see these things as obvious, and the concepts are admittedly incredibly basic.  But real life application is much harder than spewing words…. at least I can say that not only do I 'get it', I'm now fully living it.

Ever Forward!


  1. This post hit home to me; specifically with regard to these two sentences (as well as your final numbered list): "I have to keep moving, and that doesn't mean blowing apart everything that is good right along with the bad. It means allowing yourself continuous evolvement without guilt." Words to remember. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You're welcome. Glad you can relate, Jylie.

    I'm not afraid to admit that my prior 'moving' oftentimes meant leaving my life in total shambles, throwing it all away and ultimately forcing personal re-invention. I"m not sure why it took me so very long to realize that it's not necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    That knowledge makes life a lot easier. ;)

  3. Rough patches force me to reach new conclusions and learn new things about myself and, ultimately, become a better and happier person with a more profound understanding about why things go wrong and how I can avoid making the same mistakes again. I'm going through one of those phases now, which is painful but good (and, oh god, exhausting). What I still haven't learned is how to deal with the fact that people close to me are unable and/or unwilling to go through that same process, and actually face themselves and learn something... trying to suck up some wisdom from you here! (Or should I just envy them? In the long run, perhaps one is better off NOT constantly questioning things, evolving, moving, changing? I don't seem to have that choice though.)

  4. Hi, Johanna! Been a while. Glad to see you.

    I understand you. I get what you're saying and I dare say that I relate. Johanna, it's difficult to face the fact that some folks very close to us are what I can only describe as 'complacent'. They are content to just 'be', nothing needs to change, they are happy in their state. Even if they are not particularly happy, they are too lazy to probe deeper into themselves and their lives and content to just exist.

    I've teetered on envy myself, because life seems easier for them, but don't envy. Would you trade your complicated and ever evolving personality for theirs? I wouldn't. Not that I have a choice about it.

    For me, I've had to make peace with the knowledge that some people close to me are just wired differently, and I can't make them be more like me any more than I can change. It's not fair to try. The only expectation that I can have in those cases is a 'you don't have to join me but you'd better not get in my way' attitude. In an ideal world, I THINK that I'd want someone like me around, but who's to say that a pair of wanderers and evolvers wouldn't just go right in two different directions?

  5. Hello, you perhaps remember me from elsewhere as 'fnord'. Anyway, great read. I'm going through the same thing with my daughter right now (though she's only 15). I'm sure I have a few years of battle left but look forward to the time that I will be in your place and can appropriately let things happen as they will.

  6. Of course I remember you! It's a rough stage, one I'm not all that keen on doing over again…
    Keep your strength and sanity. Wishing you the best in your journey! It can be a bumpy ride for sure.