Some people in this world are born with an inner moral compass, a strong sense of self, and an ability to do just about anything and have people overlook the not-so-fabulous. And then other people - bless their (our) hearts - just seem to stumble through life trying to figure everything out including where the boundaries are. I don't know about everyone else, but I know that I get find my rear end smarted by an invisible electric fence that I find it necessary to back into every now and again. After it lights me up, I then think I must fuss about the unfairness of it all when truth be told...I should have absolutely, positively known better.
Except that sometimes I truly don't. Times have changed.
Back in the day, life was easier to navigate. There were only a few rules to follow. Mind your parents. Don't sass your teachers. Go to church. Stay out of Miss Lillie's flowers. Be nice to people. Say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am". Count your blessings.
Our kitchens were harvest gold, avocado green, poo poo brown and burnt orange. Not everyone went to college...but most everyone went to church...at least on Easter and at Christmas. We got gifts for our birthdays and during the holidays...not every time we entered K-Mart. We trick-or-treated and watched cartoons on Saturday mornings, and played outside. We were in search of a trampoline, a pool, and homemade ice cream.
Now one has to worry about self esteem, the competitive environment, being sued, pit bulls, technology, political hacks, becoming obsolete, skyrocketing tuition bills, the annual mammogram, allergies, unemployment, illegal aliens, home invasions, AIDS, being politically incorrect, and obesity.
And that's just the short list.
I don't particularly like being a grownup sometimes. I'd love to have someone cook, clean, provide, prepare, care, worry and fret over me like I did when all I wanted was for someone to just leave me alone. Right now I'd enjoy being absolutely, positively bored. Sadly, one can only be bored when one has done all of the chores, run all of the errands, and completed the entire to-do list. In other words...I am not scheduled to be bored until I am well into my 90's. If then.
Life, of course, got more difficult as the nuances poured in. Belief systems were different than the one I was taught, educational aspirations varied as did the ability to achieve, and I found that some people had a penchant for getting caught doing whatever...and other people did not...but should have. Finances mattered to some extent. As did kin, age, performance, politics, and just plain dumb luck.
Sometimes I look back and think of things I would have done differently had I not been so stupid. If I had figured things out earlier. If I hadn't been so headstrong.
A day or so ago, I had a deja vu moment in a conversation involving a young woman (not my daughter) who was trying to figure out a relationship. She is young, and bright, and beautiful. He is young, and smart, and handsome. All appeared to be going well...and then suddenly...it wasn't. She wanted to talk...and he wanted to avoid that interaction. She feels like her heart is broken...he feels like things are moving too fast. She is in search of a relationship...he is in search of a good time. Somehow, the timing is just "off" or it may just be that they are not meant to be. That does happen. My advice was for her to just let it be. To allow him the space to figure out what it is that he truly wants. If she is the right girl...he'll be back. If she is not...it is better that she know now. I don't mean to sound like the poster from the 1970s..."If you love something...set it free...if it comes back to you...it is yours...if it doesn't...it never was..." but it isn't bad philosophy come to think of it.
They should be in search of something other than dating for seven tumultuous years before finally moving on. Marriage is hard enough if the pair is right for each other...it is torture if they are not.
All of us are in search of something. We are in search of better days, achievement, knowledge, love, or just a day off. We pursue life with a vengeance, and we win some and we lose some. But as it is often said...life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.
I know it seems like fifteen minutes ago I was reminding my daughter to wear her retainer...and she is now a junior in college. I am one year away from an empty nest. This hardly seems possible.
Tonight I am in search of some rest. Not necessarily more sleep...although that would be nice. Just rest. And some relief that we've moved past harvest gold and avocado green in kitchen decor. It really was truly heinous.