Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hubris of youth, joy of hope

            Reality has very rudely slapped me in the face!

            This attention grabber came at me in the form of a photograph that surfaced recently after being buried in the obscurity of my life’s history.
            I was young, I was free and I was HOT!!! And I was nineteen when this particular image was captured for posterity. Oh, those were the days . . . 1976 . . . summer time to be exact and as I recall the times were the best of my life. I look back on them fondly and with some regret.  The halter tops, bell bottoms and mood rings were all the rage and I was grabbing the good times with both hands and wringing every drop of fun and excitement I could squeeze from those fun filled days. It was the summer to beat all summers. Life was just waiting for me and I had no time to lose. 
            Looking at that picture I remember the dreams I had and the future that I fantasized about.  And I had big dreams but they were always for tomorrow.
            Now, here I am approaching my . . . ouch . . . 55th birthday—man that hurts—and I remember.  Those dreams and fantasies have never come to fruition.  That hurts even more, I think.
            I suppose we’ve all had our fair share of dreams at that age; some of us made those dreams a reality and reached the goals we’ve set for ourselves.  Then, too, there are those of us, myself included, who had no real idea how to set about making those dreams a reality and thinking “oh, I’ve got lots of time yet” and felt they would, “just happen” when the time came.
            Alas, they didn’t happen.  I never had those 2.5 children, the house in the Burbs and that $100,000 a year dream job in a top executive position.  I never attained that bullet proof cape of “Super Woman”, leading the charge of righteous feminism into the future as a hero to womankind.
            There was the devastating disappointment of my first marriage that had the life span of a soap bubble; one of those really bad choices a young woman makes when faced with great looks, broad shoulders and a forked tongue.  Honestly, we’ve all been there at least once in our lives, haven’t we?  Some wake up before it’s too late and the rest of us have to learn our lessons the hard way.  What can you do?
            There were incredible highs like buying my first car or winning an all expenses paid trip to Jamaica. Sun, surf and lots of turquoise water to dance in. Not to mention all the buff, tanned beefcake you could feast your sunglass shaded eyes on.  And there was that moment . . . that one special moment when you look into a pair of the most compassionate, warm, loving brown eyes and know you have seen your own special heaven.  The feeling of being treasured beyond all things flows through you like warm honey and satin and you know you have finally become whole.  I’m no Plato but I do believe we all have another half of us that makes us feel whole and there is nothing to match that feeling when you find that person.
            I’ve never been blessed with children of my own but I’ve known the joy of watching my nieces grow and find their own way in the world.  I’ve experienced the ecstasy in finding that one special love that made me whole.  And I’ve been blessed with the most amazing friend who has stayed by my side, literally and figuratively, over the years and has never let me down.  She was my life line when I lost my husband, my soul mate, to cancer some years ago. An angel named Anna.
            I have lost good jobs, money, friends and loved ones. I’ve even lost my dreams but the one thing that I have never lost was hope.
            There were moments, however, when my grip on hope was tenuous at best; but I held on to it. I clung to it like a scared child clings to its mother after a nightmare knowing that should I lose my hold on hope, I would be lost.
            As the saying goes “that which does not kill us  . . .etc.” You know what I mean.
            The disappointments in my life, the losses and the confusion have tempered me to a resolve of steel. It has made me strong enough to endure almost anything, I think. Every morning when the alarm sounds it gives me an opportunity to make old dreams real or create new ones if needs be. Every time the sun rises over the eastern horizon I have renewed hope that this day will be better than yesterday.  And if it isn’t? Well, tomorrow the sun will rise again and hope will be reborn.
I may be more mature now than when I was nineteen but with that maturity comes life and with life comes friends, family, hopes and dreams. Joys and disappointments. And, God willing and if the fates allow, I’ll have many more sunrises ahead of me that renew those hopes and dreams.
With a new day, come new challenges to be met.  With a new year comes a chance at a new dream.

What will your dream be?

Hope to see you here again.

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