I've Lived In Chico, CA 9 Years Now. Incredible.
Opening the Door to Karmageddon: Life from 30-40 Years
The decisions I made in the decade of years spanning 30-40 would set the stage for what my life would be forever after. Of course, any of us could say that, but now I was making decisions less influenced by forces instilled from the past.
That decade I became divorced, moved, started a job in a career move that scared the bejeepers out of me, I fell deeply in love, lost my love to his own career choice in a distant land (Chico California) met another man, remarried, bore two more beautiful boys, saw my daughter married to her love at age 22, saw my oldest son become a good young man, even while dealing with the reality of his own father not being present for him (or his daughter for that matter)…. whew, a lot happened that decade.
As always, my lessons emerge clearly thanks to the reflection and retrospect of the years after all of this. There are lessons that emerged only after great personal pain and fears. I bear some residual guilt for some life events, but mostly I am sad wherever there was a life-fail. I will always be wishing I might have been a little “more,” but do settle and am grateful for what this good life has given.
Here’s what I learned, emphasis on I, with no excuses or self-justifications intended:
- It is possible to love a foster child as if they’d been born to you, and when you no longer have them after many years, the tremendous sense of loss is not only hard to describe, but difficult for anyone else to understand unless they have been through it. It is a very lonely grief.
- Once again, there was for me no love greater than that between a mother and her children, even when her decisions were not always the best or came at a time with too few options available.
- Nothing is more frightening in a marriage than the growing sense that perhaps you do not know the person as you’d thought or wished them to be. With human beings it is difficult to sort out the difference, because it’s complicated. In this case, it is much easier to deny the perceptions of others than admit how perilously vast the difference actually is.
- Your own problems are enough – there is no need to adopt anyone else’s. Be there as you are so moved to be sympathetic, but be gone quickly enough to attend to your own concerns.
- It may be an excellent thing to move way out of your comfort zone, away from your family and everything familiar, for at least awhile. I can’t downplay the often irrational but deep anxiety that I felt. The experience forced me to confront myself, amuse myself, and make choices unavailable to me before. The pull of the familiar can be very good, or very bad, and a little distance can help a person decide what is really going on.
- From the age of 30 – 32 I did not know how to have fun. I was serious, intentional, and limited.
- When you are a serious, intentional, limited person, you are a perfect candidate for a ministry setting that feels all wrong the more seriously you begin taking that. The world can be full of judgment when folks don’t know anything as well as their capacity to judge that which they do not know.
- Getting published early in life can result in embarrassment later on when your ideas change.
- Take the job you want that frightens you; it will not be perfect, but it can change everything. I learned I loved travel, making friends around the world, and having enough income so as not to worry constantly.
- Although I got credentials later, I learned how very, very far you can go WITHOUT a degree or the accoutrements of conventional life. Many of my friends are self-taught, whether or not they have academic cred of any kind. They are brilliant people who teach me as well as anyone else.
- No matter what else you have to equip yourself for life, luck doesn’t hurt—but it’s wrong-headed to blame it when things aren’t going as you wish. As Churchill said in so many words, persistence is everything.
- As long as no gross injustice or crime is involved, it is possible to recover as if by miracle from most anything. In fact, I know people who have recovered their "selves" after suffering the effects of crime and gross injustice.
- It is one thing to surround yourself with family, it is quite another to find and dwell in life with your tribe.
This exercise in looking at the decades has shown me that there are great consolations for the inevitable litany of losses we face as we age. Also, with two more decades to look at, I am a wealthy woman. You young’uns—see how it is that, no matter what you have been through or wish for that you do not yet own, there is still much ahead.