We are having springlike weather here in Dixie -- almost uncomfortably warm for this time of year. Today I went to the grocery store, and it was almost warm enough for thin clothing. Weird January weather, a deep-freeze in the teens, then warm, hot, plunging back to the single digits.
I will post a couple of photos below -- the bench and mirror I bought at the Flea Market. The bench will not remain like this, with a throw and pillow, because we plan to pad the seat and arms with upholstery. We've already painted it though, just waiting to find the right fabric to compliment colors in the living room.
Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I can't believe that I am past 50. I will begin to remember my teenage years, and worry that I have become what I never meant to be. I suppose all teenagers have fantastic and unrealistic life plans. However, I have this specific recurring memory...
A slow, hot Saturday afternoon with my three sisters and mother at home. Mother hoping that daddy will be in soon, and we can all go somewhere. She was bored, I'm sure, and seemed always expecting our lives to improve.
I recall just staring at her and thinking that I would NEVER allow myself to sit home and "wait" for a man. That I would be independent, self-sufficient, have a career (as an executive secretary, airline stewardess, journalist, writer -- whatever I was dreaming of at the moment for my future) and that I would do as I pleased. I would never marry, never have children to tie me down (the last vow holding true), never be a "home-maker" or do housework, cook for a family, be a doormat. Oh, I was so sure that I would never make those mistakes, never allow myself to be captive of anything or anyone that threatened my independence.
Of course, I ended up marrying too young (at age 19!), but was at least adamant in my stance against having children. And I do have a good, loving DH, who has been supportive of my writing obsession. No, I can't say that I regret marrying who I did...but I DO regret that I didn't leave this area, see different places faraway. Perhaps visit New York city, maybe even live there for a period of time. It's not like I didn't have opportunity...for I took the civil service exam and was offered a position in secretarial work, one job even in Washington D.C. right out of high school. I often wonder what my life would have turned out to be if I had moved to Washington D.C. and taken that position? Ah, the stuff of a novel, I suppose.
But as I get older, occasionally I seem to dwell on the past more often. Especially those fateful teen years when dreams CAN be turned into reality. And I wonder why I didn't pursue certain goals more fervently? Maybe it's more my introspective, solitary nature than choices I made, since I prefer being alone to being around people?
When I graduated high school, I had a reason not to leave the area: my family needed me. I moved out after high school, found a good clerical job, and rented an apartment. But my mother and daddy were having problems, they were separated and mother was working...so I felt my younger sisters needed me. I moved back home. Then daddy came back, and I just wanted to get away again. When I met DH, it seemed like a good escape, a quick getaway into marriage and safety, security.
Just when DH and I were on the verge of moving away from here, daddy died. Then my mother/sisters really did need me, as well as DH. The next seven years were devoted almost entirely to their welfare. I know they are all happier today because of this...but still, "family" became synonymous with "duty" and "burden" in my vocabulary.
In my 30s, I did make several attempts to leave here...but somehow, I never made that final break. Did I lack the courage? Or just find it easier to take the path of least resistance? I'm not sure. But even IF I had left, would I have been worse off, more miserable, less happy?
I only know that often I find myself wondering, pondering how I came to be the person I am today -- and not the one I hoped to be when young. Perhaps this is a universal experience, one that other older people have too. I doubt that even the ones who did pursue their dreams, whether it worked out or not, wouldn't accept a chance to do it all over, knowing what they know now.
Here's the photos: