Thursday, November 27, 2014

Looking Back on Thanksgiving

Looking Back on Thanksgiving

It's not always easy to look back when you have more years behind you than in front of you. Did you do the things you set out to do? Did you become the person you wanted to be?  

I had great designs on life.  I was going to be the great American writer following in the footsteps of the writers I loved - Philip Roth, Tennessee Williams, Chaim Potok.  I was going to be a great painter or printmaker like the artists I loved -  Giorgio Morandi, Richard Diebenkorn,  Degas.

I would get married, have children, travel, be creative, etc., etc., etc.  Then real life got in the way.

A long term relationship that went awry, that I couldn't get away from, leaving me not wanting another relationship for a good long time.  Parents that needed me to take care of them, support them financially and emotionally, leaving me with little time to have a life of my own.

Yes, I could have said no.  I could have lived my life for myself and turned my back.  But it's not who I am or who I wanted to be.   And I was ill equipped, from an emotional standpoint, to walk away from my parents, who despite what they asked of me, I realized loved me.

Over time, with a lot of soul searching (and therapy) I started to make my way back to my own life….to think about what I wanted.  I started to paint, but didn't consider myself an artist.  I started to write, but didn't consider myself a writer.  Most importantly, I started to ask for help.  And when I did, I got it…from EVERYONE I asked.

I was older than I would have liked to have been when I started living my own life.  I really had to start over, in my mid-late 40's to try to figure out what I wanted for myself.  Not for others.  And I had to look back at what I didn't have that I thought were the most important things…a husband, children, grandchildren.

As I looked at my life I realized at that time I did have much of the things that I wanted.  I didn't have a husband but I had incredibly close family and friends that consistently proved that they would be there for the good (to support my art, my dreams, my creativity), and the bad (two breast cancer diagnoses in 8 years, the loss of a parent, the loss of a job I loved and thought I would have until I retired).

I didn't have biological children, but I had young people in my life I loved and who loved me back.  I was blessed with Scott, Ian, Dan, Alex, Zach, Rachel, Jake, Alyssa, Em and Sam, as well as a family I absolutely adore, and would do anything for, in New Mexico.

I have great nieces and a great nephew, Chloe, Alexandra, Abraham, and Amelia and my little ones in New Mexico, Gianni and Giada.

This year, as I turned 65 and retired, I could look back and see what I didn't have or I could look at what I'm blessed with and what I have to look forward to.


Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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