Life Choices

Workouts:  sadly, hit-and-miss this week.  And I’m going into birthday week…..no telling how little will get accomplished!  5 days to 50!!

People are funny, aren’t they?

Warning:  philosophical meanderings ahead.

Everyone has a story;  everyone makes choices that seem completely unfathomable to other people, I’ve observed.  Life is complicated and yet, really, it’s very simple, isn’t it?

I had drinks last night with a friend on a lovely patio.  It was a beautiful August evening – perfect for sitting outside with cocktails, patio food and conversation.

Patio Friend talked long and solemnly about the challenges in her marriage and with her grown children.  And believe me, these are serious challenges.  It’s not a life I would take, despite the large home, backyard pool, new vehicles, big screen TV’s, financial comfort, secure pensions…..

We ended the conversation where she told me she had put considerable thought into leaving, but in the end, had decided that she couldn’t part with her material standing.  She hated her life, but she didn’t want  mine.  She actually said that.  Single, with a tiny house, less than adequate retirement savings ( but not for long…and she’s a lot older than I am), older car, no kids, less financial security.

At first I was extremely insulted although I said nothing because I was astonished anyone would say such a thing.  How rude!

I came home and puttered around the house for awhile, had another glass of wine, read on the deck (until it got too dark….the days are getting shorter!!), and then cozied into bed with my new Chatelaine magazine.  And I thought long and hard about what she had said.

My first thought was that she is selling her soul for a pool and a new car.

But then I realized that this coin has two sides – I wouldn’t want her life either!  I’m just too mannerly to say such a thing to her face.

I love the fact that my life is calm.  My house is tiny but it’s very comfortable – and it takes no time to clean and tidy.  My car is old but it’s very reliable and I haven’t had a car payment in more than 10 years.   I have an active social life although it requires much more work because I don’t have a regular date to socialize with.  I have much less interest in material possessions – I couldn’t care less about TV’s and electronic gadgets, expensive furniture, fancy vehicles and granite counter tops (although I do yearn for a new stove). I have lots of quiet time to think about life, about what I want and what’s important to me.

I have come to the realization that if I added these material things to my life, I’d still just be…..well,  me, living in my life, with the same thoughts, same likes and dislikes, same emotions and same body.

Only we can change or enhance our own life.  Stuff doesn’t change our lives, we do, and occasionally, if we’re very lucky, other wonderful people do.

And if we want to change it, it’s as simple as a decision.  The details are sometimes messy, but the principles are very simple.  If you don’t like the ball someone is throwing to you, don’t catch it.

But people are different.  Friend couldn’t imagine living without her stuff and the crises her children and difficult marriage seem to generate (drama addict?) or her big house.  I couldn’t imagine living without peace and serenity.

I think I’m going to like being 50.

Gratitude.

 

3 Comments

Filed under friends, health, joy, money

3 responses to “Life Choices

  1. I’m with you on this one…can’t stand constant drama and turmoil invading my peaceful life…I live the way I want to live, whether or not anyone else agrees or understands.

  2. dia

    Your patio friend is a mess. People with that attitude amaze me. She complains and whines about how horrible her life is (and you have to sit through that monologue), but in the end says it’s fine and she’ll keep it. Then quit bellyaching about it–it must not be that bad. Personally, I think she would love your life, but too scared to attempt it—she knows it would take effort and sacrifice to get where you are now, and that’s frightening to her. A big screen tv is not all that much fun if you don’t have a happy family to sit around it and laugh.

  3. Agreed. I’m actually a little sorry for her…she hasn’t done the emotional work to figure out her blocks and the drama makes her feel needed. But that’s her journey. It makes me feel gratitude for my own.

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