Looking back, as I sadly tend to do a lot of these days, I find that I am not really a great forward planner when it comes to myself.
I have the ability to plan anything else and get just about anything else done. If a project needs to be completed, or a report needs to be done, I am your gal. Pack for a long trip? Hit me up! I can complete such planning with complete organizational style. I will supply you with lists, and plans which cover all details, details not yet considered, and just about any hypothetical situation that might occur during a fixed period of time.
But I had plans for me.
I was going to be the divorcee that shocked all the other divorcees. I was going to look better, feel better, and accomplish more than all those other married ladies in my town. I had images of my nicely behaved children entertaining themselves as I ran three cleverly designed businesses from my home office. When I was done with my work, I would sprawl my well-exercised body onto the floor to play with my children.
Magically, the house would be clean, and the kids fed. Just the correct quantity of vegetables would have been a part of their daily diet and they would be allowed to play because their home work would have been perfectly completed by 4 PM to allow for activities and a family dinner.
The Dream – Sexy, with a boyfriend, worthy of the sneers and glares and lost friendships… bar stool sitting, sexy clothes wearing, jaw dropping, “Eat My Shit and Die”, worthy of making ex-husbands swoon with regret. This is the image I had in my head. What in the world was I thinking?? From TV Shows to Facebook profiles of divorcees trying to convince the rest of the world how well they are doing, those images create the natural desire to make our exes regret “what we they have done”. Yep, this will be me, she said to herself more than a decade ago.
The reality, that same decade later, is a sleep deprived, custodial parent of multiple children who need two parents, but seemingly only have one involved parent who must do the job of two.
So where did I fail with my planning skills? Did I forget to put myself in the plan? Did I actually fail?
It is difficult to feel otherwise. Not only am I getting older, but I am getting sick and tired of waiting for “my time”. I am certainly proud of the job I have done as a parent, but that doesn’t stop me from wondering when I can become a little bit more selfish with my planning. Have I missed the opportunity to “plan to be me”?
I never had time to become the me I thought I would become. I had big plans for myself too. This realization has slowly come to me over the past few years. At first, I said that it was fine. Life isn’t always what we expect it to be, and that is fine. Lately, this realization makes me rather sad. It no longer seems fine. I worry most about my daughter. Will she forget to pencil herself in one day?
I am facing that fact that we only get one go around, and I want some fun. I want to make some decisions that are best for me, rather than my family. Did I get married too young? Did I make the mistake of living at home when I went to University? The answer to both of those is probably yes. Developmentally, I think I missed out on that stage of growth when we are self-reliant, and not the rock that others rely upon.
I might have done things a little bit differently. Sometimes I think that I cheated myself. I love my kids, but I cheated myself out of some life experiences that I can never get back. It is very difficult to face these ideas, while raising children. My oldest son has been in a relationship for 3 years. He is all of 21. They live together. I worry.
I worry that the mistakes I have made in my own life prevent me from seeing clearly enough to provide advice. Maybe he has found this other half; we may not know until it is too late.
But, he is 21. I am 50. I am selfishly getting to the point where I understand that he won’t listen to me anyway if I tell him that he is too young to be so involved. Allowing him to grow up and make those decisions is not easy to do. It also forces me to grow up enough to understand that these are his decisions to make.
I am slowly coming to that fork in the road… I will either need to reach out for what I want, or take a risk that these things are forever lost to me.
So the question that remains, and the question that has been whispering in my ears for some time now is how does one learn to be a little more self-centered??? Is it wrong to put me first?