It seems as I get older I find my self reexamining my life and where I am in this journey. I ask the same old questions; Am I satisfied? Was I put on this planet to do something more? How can I be better?
I believe if you are a somewhat motivated human, these questions will pop into your head often. I believe the humans are also competitive. Maybe that is why we have survived for so long on Earth.
My start in this life was quite humbling. My parents divorced when I was 2 years old and my father was in jail. It was the late 60s and wild times from what I hear. We were living in Southern California and my Mom made a quick get-away to the midwest after my brother was born. She insists it was to continue her education, but I think she may have been on the run. Regardless, she work long hard hours and my brother and I spent lots of time with babysitters and relatives. I don’t know how she did it, but she did. She had a few boyfriends and a few husbands, but mostly it was the three of us. I remember when we celebrated her raise at work to $10 a hour. Times have changed.
Was she happy? I look back now and she was a very young Mother, but she seems much older. Don’t get me wrong, she is beautiful. But maybe it was the fashion or society’s idea of what a 30, 40 or 50 year should look like. In her own right she was a bit of a rebel. She was one of the very few women who canoe raced, kayaked and took river trips down the Grand Canyon in the 70s. Did boating make her happy?
I feel as though I have this keen ability to watch and listen. I am not a patient person, but as time goes by I find myself watching and observing the lives of people I grew up with and relating past characteristics with their current state of life. I watch my kids and their friends. I don’t say much, just observe. I say it a lot to my daughters, “There is “one” in every grade.” It is so cliche, but true. There are always the clique group of kids in each school. There is the tough-girl who ends up getting pregnant by senior year and the nerdy guy who ultimately becomes a rocket scientist.
Sadly, as a parent you can’t label the kids as you see them. It tears at your heart when you see the same signs in your daughter’s friend that you saw in your own high school friend who was a star athlete with a scholarship and had a promising future, but ultimately ended staying in our hometown because he/she didn’t have the courage or desire to venture beyond those walls.
Of course, I only observed this from the outside. I have not had a deep conversation with any of these people ever. They are put on a pedestal of sorts growing up. Are they happy with their choices now? Completely satisfied with life as it is? Maybe? Who am I to say?
I can’t even answer those questions for myself. I am still looking, asking and evolving into the person, I believe, I want to become. I know my friends are all asking the same questions of their lives – right now. That is all we seem to talk about when we go to parties, walk, ride bikes, have dinner. We are searching for our purpose. Our happiness … what does this all mean??
I am reading a book right now by Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project. She is so different from me in many ways and yet the same in others. She inspires me to look deeper and explore my own “Happiness Project.”
I have a travel bug. I admit it. It started early with exciting airplane rides to California when I was small. Then watching my Mom soften the blow of the failed marriage with a week or two adventure to change the scenery and an attempt to get a new perspective on life. I got that bug.
Instead of escaping when things aren’t quite right, is it better to stay at home and find happiness within? Do the same problems follow you around and eventually reappear?