I have a job that I love and have learned to live very happily with very little.
I have two grown kids who are college graduates, self sufficient and very good, fun, loving people, if I do say so myself.
I own my home (which I finally love) and it's always clean. And quiet. And I've been able to decorate it exactly the way I like it.
I take a nap nearly every day...and a bath nearly every night--with a glass of wine or (most recently) a glass of flavored vodka. Mmmm...
I go to breakfast a couple of times a week with my best friend, get to hang out with sweet horses, go for long walks, have long talks, relax, read, write, watch baseball...and I smile. A whole lot.
Yes, it's a very good life and I am OH so grateful.
It certainly wasn't always this way and perhaps that's why I enjoy every minute of it so much.
Often times, I think back, and remember where I was 10, 20, 30...even 40 years ago...and I stop and take a look at Julie at that point in time. And, OH SO often, I enjoy THIS life for HER!
Sometimes, I will sit down with a book in the afternoon and think, "This is for YOU, Julie circa 1978 or so..." With four younger sisters there was always a diaper to change or a Barbie to dress or someone who needed to be driven somewhere. You'd be hard pressed to find a photo of me after age 5 or so where I wasn't holding a baby. "I relax a LOT in your honor, Sweet Juju.
Hang in there! It's going to be a really good life!"
When I get in a hot bubble bath at night, I often cry out, "This is for YOU, Julie 1987 or so! Yep, you with two babies of your OWN under each arm now. You in your waitress uniform, doing homework in the break room and coming home to cook and clean and change diapers and give baths and read stories to your sweet toddlers. I'm enjoying this bath as a reward for you, Julie! You were such a good mommy! Keep it up--your kids are going to turn out GREAT!"
I love the fact that I can grab a (low carb) yogurt and call it dinner these days! I SAVOR each bite and send out a message of gratefulness to Julie (pretty much) 1982-2005...who worked the 6am shift each day, got off just in time to go pick up the kids from school, rushed home to throw in a load of laundry or two, get the house in order and make dinner before her husband got home. In her spare time she work the snack bar at the Little League games, was room mother nearly every year for one of her kids, was Soundsation Vice President at El Toro High School, worked bake sales and car washes, chaperoned field trips and built missions in the living room...while taking two and three classes each semester, diligently chipping away at her Bachelor's degree for 17 solid years! She even used the time between her classes at school to hem Karate uniforms, write thank you notes, make grocery lists, catch up on her homework and then rush to pick up kids from school, get them to various activities...and get THEIR homework started! And then of course make dinner every night and keep the cleanest house on the block...and be the best employee, wife, mother, student.
And smile the entire time. "I am enjoying the fruits of your labors, Julie. Thank you SO MUCH for working so hard!"
I do have a drink nearly every night too, and TRULY send up a toast to Julie 2005...as she risked it all to start a new life. I say, "Here's to you, Julie, as you moved from 3000 square feet to 300 and lived alone for the very first time in your life! As you got a new job, new friends, a new car, a new neighborhood--basically a new identity--and through tears and pain, you found a whole new way of thinking and got a fresh start! And found REAL smiles and GENUINE joy...best of all, you got to start a brand new life!
Thank you, Julie, I am reaping the benefits of your hard work, your perseverance and for all the changes that you BRAVELY made that year! It was absolutely worth it!!"
Yep, a big thanks to ALL my younger selves! You were diligent and disciplined--and smiled constantly!--through adversity. You finished school and helped your children do the same (in a quarter of the time it took you!) You have always been organized and determined and a persistent and productive hard worker...
and someone that everyone could count on.
I really am the culmination of all of you and all you went through to get us here.
As I look back at my former selves, I realize that I am exactly where they--
where I--always hoped I'd someday be:
Genuinely happy, very healthy, amazingly peaceful and absolutely full of joy.
I'm sitting and relaxing and typing away in a quiet, clean, very pretty little house...
feet up, with a glass of wine and a great big smile on my face.
I know, if they saw me now, they'd all wish they were me.