Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Far be it from me to argue with Socrates, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
I think most people think I think too much. Heck, I think I think too much. Is that an oxymoron?
I tend to be a little overzealous in examining my own navel. As I surf the crest of another decade, I think I am thinking more strenuously than is good for me.
It isn’t that I think I am old. It is more that I think I can see the dream of what I thought my life would be fading from the realm of possibility. I thought my life would be a little more traditional (while also being deep and meaningful) than it has turned out to be. I thought I’d get a romantic proposal and have a beautiful wedding, crammed filled with memorable, sentimental moments that everyone would think back on in reverie as the years passed. I thought I’d have a family of kind, smart, courageous children, who I would gently rear into successful human beings. I thought those children would go on to restart the cycle of landmark moments and family celebrations, so that I would continue having new magical memories throughout my life. I thought my husband and I would work as a team. I thought we would share a world view and a rhythm of life. I thought we would think in tandem.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think I’ve run out of time.
I think most people in my circumstances would have had a moment of clarity long ago and realized that the clock was ticking away any opportunity to create that dream. At some point, I would have had to blow up the life I had if I wanted to roll the dice on that dream life. I didn’t think I wanted to undergo a violent overthrow of my happiness at that time.
Truthfully, I still don’t. While I didn’t get a romantic proposal and don’t have a husband, I have a partner in life who loves me. Our relationship may not be romantic in the same way as movies and reality television shows, but we do have our own brand of romance and affection in abundance. I don’t have any children, but I think I have made a positive impact on other people even if I did not give birth to them. I’ve also had more time, energy, and money to pursue charitable endeavors and fulfilling, satisfying activities in my own life. I may not have another generation of people creating new memories and celebrations for me, but that motivates me to create my own. I don’t think Max and I share all the same opinions, thoughts, routines, rhythms, and conventions, but I think we do pretty well as a team.
Still, I have been thinking a lot more about the “what ifs” as I orbit around my 60th birthday. I try not to feel sad about the dream life that will never be because to do so would seem ungrateful in the extreme. Sometimes, though, I get stuck at the intersection of Wistful and Regret when the light turns red. I have a moment to pause and consider the scenery of the place I might have been. Then, the light turns green and I go on with the wonderful life I have.
I do think I am exactly where I am supposed to be. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the other paths that might or might not have played out even more happily for me. I understand that some people believe in moving heaven and earth to craft the life they want. I admire them, but I also think that isn’t me. I think I’m more of a “bloom where you are planted” kind of girl. I think God put me on a particular path and that He curves that path as necessary, depending on the choices I make. The choices I make may alter the details of my life a little bit, but the basic journey is going to be the same because that is what God has in mind for me.
This is a comforting philosophy. I’d like to say I adhere to it all the time. If I did say that, I’d be lying. No matter how much certainty I muster that I am living the life I was meant to live, I still sometimes covet that other dream life that is slipping away… no, not slipping away… more like crashing down a cliff in a giant landslide of age!
What do you think? Do I think too much? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you cane email me at www.terrilabonte.com.
Have a thoughtful day!