When we are young, it is all about tomorrow. We can’t wait until tomorrow. We are absolutely sure that tomorrow will bring happiness that will last forever. All our dreams will be fulfilled. All we need is the perfect job, the perfect mate, 2.5 children and a Mercedes in the garage of our million dollar home on the beach.
Then tomorrow arrives in the form of glorious adulthood. We fall in love and believe we’ve found our perfect mate. We move into our starter home. The 2.5 children turn out to be 3.5 and arrive too soon. We both have to work at jobs we don’t love. We get deep into debt trying to make ends meet because we can’t afford the Mercedes, but we have to have the SUV to carry the kids and all their stuff to school, soccer practice, piano lessons, doctor, dentist, the park and the movie theatre….ad infinitum. Our husbands have to have the F-150 Super crew cab for hunting trips and commute, or simply because his friend drives one. We look for our mate to make us happy like they did when we first fell in love. We’ve lost our way to what we thought were our dreams. The marriage dissolves because there is no longer the same perception of what happiness is.
[This is the author’s assessment of the average experience of many Americans as young adults. It is not meant to reflect her own particular or any other person’s true detailed experience. This disclaimer applies to the entire article.]
In midlife we start to reflect on what went wrong so we don’t make the same mistakes. The kids are grown and young adults. We remarry someone who has gone through a similar experience. Now we have stepchildren who are grown and young adults. This time our expectations about our happiness are based more on how we can make our mate happy. This results in them wanting to make us happy. We have found a job doing what we love doing. Our husband’s are settled into their careers. The debts of the past are being paid. Grandchildren are arriving bringing joy. At the same time our parents are older and need our care. They move into our homes, assisted living, or long term nursing home care. In a matter of time, we lose them, our siblings, or perhaps even a child or grandchild. As much as we love our mates and they love us, there is still something missing. It is not the Mercedes or the million dollar home on the beach. We’ve learned things will never make us happy.
If we are fortunate, we have had faith most of our lives when there was a medical scare or through divorce or grief. If we are blessed, we find in our senior years we need it more than we ever did. With that need we truly seek an everyday relationship with our creator. We have much fewer worries about tomorrow and what it will bring. We are at peace with the grievances of the past. We have let go. We have realized that our losses of loved ones are only temporary. We understand we are spiritual beings traveling through this life, and will return home to our real Father someday soon.
When we are reading a really great book we can’t wait to get to the end to see how it all turns out. I think life is like that in a sense. We have joys and sorrows along the way, but the Lord seems to give us answers to many questions while we are still here if we seek him diligently. Some of our books are a longer read.
I’m glad I’m still in progress. But I’m ready when he calls, because no one will ever get it perfect. I’m sure I’m one who never will. I used to say if anyone says they have no regrets they are lying. Now I believe God knew exactly what would happen, and it all fell into his plan for me. I have no regrets because I believe at this point he has given me the opportunity to make amends to those I have wronged. If I have forgotten anyone I’m sure He’ll bring them back into my life before I go. He’s really good at surprises.