In middle school we had to choose a language to study. My friends chose German and Spanish. Wanting to be different, I chose French. My learning has been disjointed over the years due to moves, marriage, children, life in general but I’ve never given up. Although I’ve never surpassed advance beginner, I’m still at it.
So as a gift to myself I have begun private French lessons via the internet. I found Speak like a Parisian on Instagram. The instructor is a native speaker and is around my age. I knew I didn’t want a young teacher. Why? Learning a language is difficult and the older you get the harder it becomes. I wanted someone who might have shared similar experiences and was at similar life stage. It makes conversation flow easier.
So if there is something you’ve always wanted to do, it’s never too late to begin. I remember Dear Abby responding to this question:
I’ve always wanted to be a doctor but I’m 35 and it’ll take 10 years. What should I do? Her response was How old will you be in 10 years if you don’t become a doctor?
Over these past few months, my counselor and I have discussed the choices I made in the past. He assures me I made the best choices for survival at the time. While that may be true, I have wondered what was behind the choices I made beside just surviving. And I had a personal revelation. Most, if not all, of my poor choices were driven out of a fear of rejection.
My life, prior to now, was not a journey driven by a confident woman. The driving force of my life was the fear of rejection and humiliation. My life was in a constant state of unbalance. Every time the person I was trying to please changed his/her mind, I had to rush to make sure my decision still made them happy. If it didn’t, then I needed to quickly make a change. By allowing my fear to drive my choices, I never built a strong sense of who I am and what makes me happy. I didn’t speak up. I kept my hurt feelings to myself out of fear of upsetting the other person. I pretended their words didn’t hurt my feelings. I raced around like mad when relatives were coming to visit and the stayed in a state of apprehension and fear. Why? Because I was eaten up with worry, I would be a disappointment. The ironic thing is I always felt as though I was a disappointment. Even if everything went smoothly and everyone was happy, I still felt like a failure because I always believed I could have done better or it was just a matter of time people would see the “real” me, the failure.
It is not always easy to be honest. It is not always easy to make a decision which goes against the tide (or family or friends or children). A person needs inner strength not to waver when a decision is questioned. So much of my life would be different if I had not been driven by the fear of rejection. I battle the fear of rejection and being alone every day. I take on the role of scapegoat. Pointing the finger of blame at myself calms my fear of someone else doing it and humiliating me. It gives me a sense of control when I assume everything is my fault. Sadly it doesn’t provide much opportunity for joy and peace in my life.
Change isn’t easy but it is worth the effort. Change has been a bumpy road. Change has challenged in ways I never anticipated. Change is scary. It is the scariest thing I’ve ever faced. There is a reason “misery loves company” is universally understood. While I might be miserable, it is what I know and having you join me in what I know is less frightening than me leaving my miserable comfort zone.
I must be out of my apartment in 53 days and the above signs express things which have been running through my head. I can’t say I agree with the sign on the left. I agree we can choose where we make our home, but I don’t think it only exists in your mind. So many things go into making a place a home. It is not about the location, the size or the cost, it is about the memories. When I was a young mother, I had so many great ideas and plans. Then so easily was distracted by the day-to-day responsibilities I forgot all the plans I had. My daughters and I did make many happy memories and we are in the process of adding more memories all the time. But right now, not having any place to “call home” has caused me distress.
For me personally, I need a secure, solid home base and I don’t have it. In fact I am not certain I will ever have it again. Much was lost when I divorced and leaving the area I called home for thirty years was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever made. It was if I was a mighty oak tree with deeply planted roots which was ripped out of the ground. But rather than being directly transplanted into a rich soil, the beautiful tree (me) was sat to the side and forgotten. And since that time in January 2013, I haven’t found the place where I belong.
If money was unlimited then I’d have a long list of places I would like to go because I would have the ability to travel and see my children as often as I like. But with no job, very limited funds, and no job in my foreseeable future, my choices are very limited. I failed to make the right choice years ago when I learned my ex-husband, Doug Erickson, an AA pilot, was a sexual deviant wanted by the police. I stayed married because I was afraid to leave and now ultimately I am paying a heavy price for not leaving in 1999.
So the sign on the right shows how I feel. Do I go right? Do I go left? Do I move near my oldest daughter for the next three years and when she and her husband move hope I can afford to follow them? Or do I run the risk of being left in the middle of Texas with the closest airport over two hours away? Living near my younger daughter is not an option because she is still in pursuit of her career and not settled on one place. My fear has me paralyzed. I have a very real fear of being homeless of belonging nowhere. I know my readers know this. I am thankful for all the prayers they have said for me. I am praying I will hear God’s voice and know his will, so I make the right choice, the right move for my life this time.
“We have to live our own lives. We have to give freedom to those we love.” Ross Poldark in Angry Tide by Winston Graham
Ross makes this comment as he and his wife leave their children behind as they head for London. She is sad upon leaving the children at home and Ross reminds her that before she knows it the children will be leaving her.
As a parent we all must face the moment when we know our children are adults and independent. It’s bittersweet because you want them to grow up, live their lives and be happy but you will forever miss your babies. I think that is one reason as a parent it is sometimes difficult to step back when they are adults and let them find their way. In our eyes they are still our babies. As a mother there is always this overwhelming desire you fight to keep them children.
I always knew my children would grow up and go out on their own, making their way in the world. What I never thought about was the first statement Ross makes. We have to live our own lives. I forgot in those years as a mother and wife I needed to make a life of my own separate from them. It is even more true now that I am divorced. I never thought about being anyone other than a wife and mother. It is much more challenging than I anticipated to find my own way in the world. I feel like the one who has had adulthood thrust upon her unexpectedly.
I know my passion but the question is can I make a living? Can I support myself? Do I have the discipline needed to focus and make it work? That is yet to be determined.
For all of you bloggers and readers out there, how did you know you were living where you belonged? If your place of residence was not your choice but the choice of your partner or company, how did you go about making it feel like home? If made the choice to move, how did you decide where to go? I moved quite a few times between the ages of 9 and 14 every time my father received a business promotion. As a child, of course you don’t have a choice, you go where ever your parents take you. Then I married and moved again to my ex-husband’s home state followed by a move to Texas when he was hired at AA. I lived in the Dallas area for 30 years and recently relocated to Austin.
I feel unsettled. I never chose Texas as a home but as long as I was married, it’s where I belonged. Now that I am divorced, I have a choice where to live. I moved to Austin to be closer to a daughter, but she and her husband have their own lives. And I don’t anticipate that they will permanently reside in Temple, TX which means in less than four years, there is a good chance they will be relocating. So where do I go? How do I decide? My finances are limited so an apartment on 5th Avenue in NYC is not an option nor is an oceanfront property in Seattle.
So I am asking you to send me either places to consider or questions I should ask myself before I move. In my life I have lived where it get extremely hot and extremely cold, so any type of weather is fine. I just can’t go somewhere that has mostly cloudy as the general forecast. I have some time to decide and plan, so let me hear from you.