I watch motorbikes pass and I wonder if I gave mine up too soon. I wonder if the bread I eat is contributing to my foggy brain. I wonder if menopause is on my door step and whether I can be as fortunate and determined as my sister in law who says [at the age of 70 something], “Menopause! what menopause?
My day dreaming is interrupted by a hand on my shoulder. An ex-student I meet with occasionally. She’s half my age but we relate to one another and we get along with ease. We chat about the ins and outs of our lives; there are some parallels and some extremes, but mostly we hover somewhere between general chit chat and the deep and meaningful. The “discuss deep shit” type of friendships don’t come along that often nor are they easy for me to strike. Somehow though, this woman’s life and the things she thinks and talks about remind me a little of when I was her age [maybe even how I am now!]. The desire to do something good with her life amidst so many obstacles and other things demanding her attention. I have to stop myself from giving advice like an older sister or young mother – for who am I to give it when (a) who am I to know what someone else needs and (b) how do I know what’s right when I have had no children of my own?
But it’s one of the things about us both – we like to help others be well, do good and achieve.
I contemplate how we spend our lives searching for something that will bring us happiness. We search for things we can measure our worth with or determine our value through. I have always thought of myself as a creative person and that being a creative professional would be “my thing”, that it would bring me happiness. Lately though, productivity and seeing others do good seems to be taking precedence over being creative. Is it because I’m getting on and time’s running out? Or perhaps because I was brought up with the notion that I “should be doing something more productive” – other than painting on rocks or drawing top gun logos and plans for my future home. Perhaps it’s that being productive seems more fruitful, more purposeful and achievement oriented.
In my case, being productive especially around our home gives me the sense that I am helping us (mostly my husband) look after, maintain and nurture our home and our space in the street, in the world. In doing things for my husband, our home and to sustain or improve our lifestyle, I get that sense of being part of something that feels like home and it makes me feel content with having been productive, having achieved something purposeful and nurturing. Contributing to something as big as a home and a man’s life allows me to feel like a real mature woman and to my surprise, a creative! Maybe just not in the artistic sense.
I’m of the thinking that things are shifting away from being “me-centric” – as well as away from what things I can do for me to make me happier – to being a more giving and caring person where doing things and caring for someone else could be the key to my ultimate happiness. And so I’m learning that ..
A relationship could the best investment you could make for your own happiness.
In not having been a mother, I am sensing that caring for someone (like a mother does for her child) is a life affirming thing, a confirmation that you are a capable, caring and worthy human being. I imagine it is something to dive into with all your life force, love and creativity! I hear of women who spend their whole life raising children at the expense of doing what they enjoy, what they want. I hear of the opposite too – women who work so hard they have no time for children or to nurture anyone, even themselves. I don’t think I can put myself in either of these categories. I had opportunities to do well in a previous career, I had offers to make babies too. Now that I’m in my late 40’s and menopause is knocking, my views on what is important are shifting. I know at times we all need to do “our thing”, to use our talents in meaningful and life affirming ways, but I’m thinking that solid relationships are what helps to drive those endeavours, they are what gives you inspiration, guidance and purpose.
What I am really trying to say is this:
I grew up with parents who said that there was no such thing as love (yeah, go figure). But from a very early age I knew something that a girl that age isn’t suppose to know – that there is such a thing as love. I held on to this belief all my life and despite it being very late in my life, I found a man who I love – really love (and I waited for him in order to get married at the ripe old age of 40!). Here’s the thing; he encourages me to be creative in many ways. I struggle with that a lot but I rarely struggle with helping him, loving him and doing things for him because doing so gives me purpose. That sense that I’m nurturing someone else and giving another being a reasonable if not, good life. And that is the best creative investment I could ever make.