Once a person reaches a certain age, it is not uncommon to look back upon one’s choices and evaluate, “Was that really the right thing?” It’s essential to your personal evolution. It is human. What we recall may cause pleasure, shame, or even an all too familiar, “Ooooh, yeah…I was so young.” No one gets it all right all the time. No. Not even you. There will always be something you could have done better.
Therefore, when I look at my sisters of a certain age, who suddenly bemoan their lives, I get a little tight. Certainly, there are some who have made deliberate choices that have turned their lives into a total cluster; but still other lives are simply the product of possessing slightly less wisdom than was required of the situation. Do better today. That’s what the life cycle is all about. Even personally, I jokingly (and on bad days, not so jokingly) refer to needing a life revolution, when really, all I need is to make better choices going forward. But frankly, is growth what our female quarter/third life revolutions are about?
Hell to. The naw. We don’t want to learn from our past wrongs through a consistent stream of good decisions and evolution. We want Mickey Mouse to show up in that Fantasia get up, wave his wand, and have dancing hippos stomp out that hot mess we’ve created…ballet style. This is because nobody likes consequences. Not you. Not ya mama. Not ya granny. We SAY we’re okay with the consequences of our actions, but we’re not really. And there’s nothing wrong with not liking them. Show me a person who likes the bad shit, and I’ll show you a person that you need to avoid. We all appreciate consequences to a point, but once we believe that point has been reached, we’re like, “Uh yeah universe…that’s enough. Back to my regularly scheduled programming. NOW!” I don’t believe in spending the rest of your life playing for human lapses in judgment, but there’s also no off switch.
We spend our 20s living our lives. That takes on many different meanings – college, motherhood, marriage, at times coming out regarding sexual orientation, the list goes on, because no life is the same. Since we’re adults with limited knowledge, we are susceptible to a lot of mistakes, and we deal with those mistakes in the best way we can. We throw ourselves into this, we detach ourselves from that, time marches on. As we heal from these bumps and bruises, all to often we, either say or hear the dramatic, “And it took my identity. *faint* *swoon* *call for smelling salts*”
Stop the madness. A pleasant life is about balance. Often, when things become unbalanced, we overcompensate at the opposite end of the spectrum. That’s OUR bad. I remember being a new mother and never sending my kids to the sitter outside of work, salon appearances were spotty at best, and I all but gave up shopping. I had a husband with whom I not only had nothing in common, but we never talked. Okay, fine. Upon my divorce, I then went to the opposite extreme: nonstop salon appointments, compulsive shopping, never seeing my kids on the weekends. I dated men who did nothing BUT talk to me. I was being ME again. The me I hadn’t been in YEEEEARS!
Uh. Duh. That’s because that me was gone. Nobody asked me to walk around looking like my own country cousin and never go anywhere. There were tons of people willing to take my kids off my hands, my stylist would allow me to assist her in the shop in exchange for services, and it was my choice to spend every spare dime on my kids and buying rather than bringing lunch. At the end, I could have blamed my choices on a bad marriage or being an overwhelmed mother; but in truth, it was my own lack of foresight, and not utilizing my available resources. The overcompensating backlash was truly unnecessary. Thankfully, I had good friends and family who gave me a reality check (in the form of a case full of sitcho*).
I am by no means the only woman that has fallen into this, and it is not specific mothers, wives, or even ex-wives. We buy into our own various forms of hype, without stopping to realize how absolutely ridiculous we’ve become. To do things, not because they are right or beneficial, but because you think that’s how you should REACT is ridiculous. So we look to revolution to erase this pattern of ridiculousness as the quick fix. If my house smells like shit, and it’s because there’s a bunch of horse shit in the living room, precisely what does throwing that out, and loading a bunch of bull shit in the back room accomplish?
On the topic of men, you will never, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER find a man that is 100% different from every man you have dated. I’m willing to bet that if you get a man who is 25% different, and it is a quality 25%, count it as a win. Very rarely do the bad choice guys come 100% wrong; if that was the case, unless you are certifiably insane, he wouldn’t have hooked you. Objectively looking back, you can pinpoint what elements of his personality you knew were going to be problematic, yet ignored. Don’t ignore them next time.
We tend to look at those past “uses” with rose colored glasses and ignore one crucial truth: This is the SAME US that got us in this horrible mess. I don’t want to go back to 21/22 year old Mel. That chick was dumb as a bag of Yaki. Most importantly, in that state, I was not fit to effectively care for two children on the precipice of puberty. There is nothing wrong with the label mother, as long as you view it as a facet of yourself and not your entire reason for breathing. If you do that, stop it. Do not, however, use it as an excuse to plunge headlong into the horizon of irresponsibility. BALANCE.
We never stop learning and roles never stop shifting, so for as long as we breathe, we will periodically have to acclimate to a new station in life. We won’t always get it right immediately, and once we get it wrong, it can’t immediately be un-wronged. Time. Experience. Patience. Tweaks. Not giant overhauls. TWEAKS. You’d be surprised to find that you’re working with more raw material than you gave yourself credit for having.
* “Sitcho” = “IF YOU DON’T SITCHO ASS DOWN!”