I used to think that old people in their forties and fifties and sixties had it all figured out. They knew how to do Life, because they’d lived so much of it already, that certainly they were the experts.
And then one day I woke up and I was one of those old people who was supposed to have all the answers, and had lived responsibly and owned a home and had a serious bank account and a super-clean-all-the-time house with matching things or things that were designed to match unmatchingly. Someone who knew what she was good at and had a thriving career and a balanced bank account and was leaving the world a better place.
I spent the morning applying for jobs. Jobs with words I hated, like “ability to perform hard work” and “jump to reach high-hanging fruit” and “high intensity and long hours.” And I didn’t want to apply to any of those jobs.
As I was stirring together my peanut butter layer for a batch of decadent brownies I was making, I just really started to question myself and what are my actual abilities and do I even have any any longer?
I don’t know, Reader. I don’t have any of Life’s Important Things together.
I don’t have a successful 30-year marriage to lean back on.
I don’t have a pack of children to be proud of.
Don’t even ask about my bank account, unless you’re asking me how much money I’d like you to put into it. Unemployment comes at a cost, Reader.
My three cats are cute, but mostly ill-behaved.
I don’t have any answers to life’s hard questions. All I do is what I can each day and hope for the best. And sometimes that doesn’t work out like I hope. Many times, actually.
I don’t know what I’m good at any more.
I’m a mediocre cook who puts more effort into it than the return warrants.
I’m a mediocre blogger who writes sometimes. I have ideas that don’t always make it to the execution phase for one reason or another. And no, I don’t need you to guilt me about it, I already know.
What I’ve learned is that I muddle through on most days, hoping some things turn out okay. I just thought that by the time I was in my fifties, I’d have this shit figured out and I’d know where I was going in life and have one house paid for and would be vacationing in my second home six months a year.
I don’t have any of that.
The only thing I have on a regular basis is unprompted aches and pains. Yesterday I was walking around just fine, doing some yard work, and then out of the blue, my foot just started aching so hard I could barely stand on it. I mean, to the point where I had to figure out just how badly I needed to go pee, and by the time it wasn’t optional, I had waited too long and I may or may not have peed my pajama pants a little.
That’s not having life by the horns, Reader. I mean, if that had actually happened.
I guess the point of this is that I just don’t know. And I feel like I’m alone in this, and that everyone else KNOWS how to do life very successfully and well, and am I ever going to figure it out?
I don’t know.
I find it somewhat frightening that some people look to me to help them get their own lives straightened out. I’m the brains that is supposed to help them fix their life because they think I have some magic answer. I don’t. I’m no example. I’m not. I am not a model of success. I struggle against the current that is trying to sweep me under almost every single day.
I guess I’ll try again in the morning.
And maybe that’s all that everyone is doing. Getting up and trying again, and sometimes it works out well and it looks like you’ve got it all together. At least for a minute.