Ok. So, this one will touch a little on past things, a little on current things, and a little on the future.
The other night, I watched a couple movies about being happy being single that were recommended by a dear friend of mine. The first was How to Be Single, and the other was He's Just Not That Into You.. the first probably more about being happy being single, but there are elements of the 2nd that is good, including the final monologue, which I will quote.
"And maybe this happy ending doesn't include a wonderful guy. Maybe it's you... ...on your own... ...picking up the pieces and starting over. Freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is just... ...moving on....
Or maybe the happy ending is this: Knowing that through all the unreturned phone calls and broken hearts... ...through all the blunders and misread signals... ...through all of the pain and embarrassment... ...you never, ever gave up hope."
Let's begin with my childhood. Some people had a wonderfully loving and blessed childhood. That's great for them. I wasn't really blessed with that. It wasn't HORRIBLE, but it had its challenges, for sure. I know I point to the good and happiness not found in relationships, but my life definitely had more bad over the years than the good. One could be amazed that I didn't become a completely bitter and angry person that couldn't love or be happy. But, I think part of it can be explained by looking at the dark.
I grew up poor... I mean POOR. As a kid, I didn't know poor. I just knew what we had as a life. I think almost everything I wore was bought at a garage sale or was handed down from my older brother. I recall a time when we were sharing bath water for baths. We never went hungry, and my mom is a great cook. So, there is that. But, we lived on free school lunches, peanut butter sandwhiches, and earning our own money for what we bought after school as a snack. We didn't have cable. We had an old tv and a big antenna out in our rural town that we turned with a pipe wrench to watch one of the 2-3 channels we could see for television. But, most of the time, my entertainment was found driving my bike around town or over at my cousin's house, where they had a laser disk machine, and we could rent things.
My dad was a hard worker, and I learned the value of working hard from trying to please him and watching him. But, he was stressed about his own life, as well. He would come home and grumble and be angry, so we didn't talk much to him to avoid his frustration. He would never tell me he loved me or was proud of me, and I remember well his leather belt for the times that I was bad. I would later come to understand that when he dragged me out to go hunting or fishing, where he would not speak, it was his attempt to connect. But, as a child, I was just out int he cold woods with a man that I only knew for criticism and punishment. The town was the size of 500 people, and there was almost nothing to do. I wore glasses, and I would be mocked and bullied over my years in that school, though my academic achievements in high school and being the sports bookkeeper and yearbook photographer would buy me a little less of that negative judgement.
I say all of that to say this. I knew where I lived... I knew my family. I knew our poverty, at some point. I KNEW that if I was going to be happy, I had to make my own happiness. So, I did... I did science experiments, I listened to music, I sketched with my pencil, I explored, I read choose your adventure books, and so on and so forth. This would carry forward into other stressful periods of my life... my first very long and very depressing first marriage to someone that didn't love me or even notice me most of the time. It carried me through several periods of debt and bankruptcies based on medical bills and such. It helped me when I was raising an infant by myself, while I was taking care of a woman with postpartum pscychosis and paying for bills with the financial aid as I finished my education first for my attempt at teaching and then for accounting. Through every challenge, I was always looking forward...towards a happy goal, as I was making my days as happy as I could with HOPE for something better.
Now, I will add a criticism of that, which I have only come to understand in recent years and months. Hope for something better can be empowering, but it can also be depressing, if it is not coming about. So, you have to realize something of my own thinking the last days in discussion with a friend and on my own. HOPE is it's own reward.
I used to say ... let's assume that tomorrow a tornado will tear your house apart and kill you. Would you rather live your last day stressed and depressed about that, or would you rather live in hope and happiness... right up till it ends. If I have a negative ending, I don't WANT to know about it. I would rather be happy in ignorant bliss.
Right now, I'm preparing for an extended period of being stuck, face down, at home following my 3rd and 4th surgeries connected to a retinal tear, then detachment, then more detachment and a cataract that formed. It's already been a long ordeal, and now I have to go without work pay for a month and still pay for rent and necessary bills. To say it is a lot is to be light about it. But... what am I gonna do? How will stress over it change it? The best I can do is find ways to make my own joy and hold to hope.
Hope.. not that necessarily things will all just fall into place, romantically and non romantically. The older I get, the more I realize that success means just staying ALIVE long enough to enjoy life happening around me. In How to be Single, Alice says...
"This story isn't about relationships. It's about all these times in between when maybe...just maybe... our real life's happening."
And, it is happening around all the negatives happening in those days, as well. So, I will hold to hope, find my daily joys, enjoy my friends, and not let things I can't change or what I lack rob me of the joys I can find, every day.