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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Life Ain't over...Until It's Over...

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
~Sophia Loren

 A few days ago, I had a great conversation with one of my good girlfriends. We were talking about marriage; speaking about our respective partners in “that” journey… Yes, a journey with unbelievable highs and dangerous lows, but a journey which we (obviously) treasure, as we are still in it. Anyhow, in the midst of the conversation I said, “You know what, as for this thing called marriage, you will NEVER catch me at it twice! I am giving it all that I can (and have inside to) give, and right now is the single opportunity I have to make it everlasting… There’ll be no second chances; no second try. If - God forbid - this wouldn’t work… I’m good… I’m all set!” Then I said, “I’m not sure that if someone were to come and ask me my opinion on whether or not they should get married, that my answer would be a positive one…”

But isn’t that so selfish of me? I mean, I do feel as though keeping happy and staying in an healthy marriage is the hardest thing ever (compromising, dealing with different personalities, the woman’s PMS-ing, and not to mention all the things you give up… willinglyJ). I love the hubby, I love being married to him and I love the security of knowing that I have someone to grow old with. But sometimes there is a but…
Growing old with someone; isn’t it one of our main desires? Having someone to share all of our aches and joys with, having someone to just listen and sit next to. When you hit the low points in your relationships (which will inevitably come) and you’re at a point where you wonder if you can still do it… if you still have the energy to fight for the love that was once vibrant and bursting at the seams, but now seems to be slipping away, you have to then re-evaluate your thought process! That’s when you think, why leave? After all we’ve been through… after all we’ve built… No, I will stay and enjoy the fruits I’ve seeded… Why should I start over?
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the heck she is.”
~Ellen DeGeneres

That same evening (after the conversation I mentioned earlier), we were amongst family and friends at my cousin’s house and amongst us were three of my aunties. They are mothers, grandmothers and all three are at a different stages in their life, although roughly the same age.
(For the sake of their privacy I will change their namesJ)
Aunty Isabelle is a widow. She’s an independent woman who gets to travel, and enjoy her kids and grand-kids. There’s Aunty Marthe, who has been married for more than forty years and also enjoys her kids and grandkids. Then you have Aunty Nicole, who is divorced and decided a few years ago to completely change her life.
The aunties were sitting, having their dinner (with glasses of wine in hand), and we - the second generation - decided to sit and listen to Aunty Nicole, who was giving the ladies some straight talk. She really opened up and explained that after a hard, long overdue divorce from a man whom she had given all she had to give, all while losing herself in the process, she finally decided to give another go at life. In her sixties, she decided to move to another country, first with her daughter, then by herself, in this community catered to elderly independent people. Now, ten years down the road, I do see in front of my eyes a different aunty than the one I once knew…
“Francine”, aunty Nicole’s daughter, started to tell us stories of when her mom first moved on her own in the community and how it had changed the dynamic of their relationship. Francine had become the “mother” pushing her “daughter” to go make friends, to meet people, and get involved. She had become the one giving advice on what to do, what to say and how to act on a date…We laughed so hard that evening, listening to aunty Nicole tell us stories of her dating escapades and how at her age, she had no filter. She was telling the men she was dating she loved them after the first coffee date, as she felt they knew what was in her in her mind… however, ultimately scaring them off with her candidness… Francine had us all laughing hysterically at her mom’s story of dating a ninety year old man with a pacemaker, whom she sent to the hospital “as they gave a try at intimacy”… his heart couldn’t take it… While we were laughing and enjoying her tales, she seriously told Marthe and Isabelle to come over and visit her so she could show them a good time.
That night while we were laughing so hard at my aunt’s love antics, I learned a lot…
Sitting at the table, I was looking at these three beautiful ladies who have truly so much in common, as far as where they are from, the life/culture they married into and the sacrifice those marriages entail. As I said earlier, one is a widow, one is still married and one is dating and they have shown me some of the many possibilities life can bring.

I understand now, that I should never say never… Maybe my story will be like aunty Isabelle’s, one of contentment after my life partner has been taken away from me. Maybe it will be like aunty Marthe’s, where I would find no reason to change what I’ve always known and that is if I needed to consider changing it all. Or, maybe I could be like aunty Nicole, ready to take life by the horns and go for new experiences… What I have learned is to not settle. Whatever decisions you make, make them because you are comfortable with them, make them because it is what your mind, body and soul tell you to do; knowing that it aint’t over until God says its over. Tomorrow is no guaranteed but if it does come, you better be ready to make the best of it!

So if someone were to come and ask me my opinion on whether or not they should get married, I would tell them, “If you asked the question, then that means you want to. There is no surety in matters of the heart, so take a chance, live it up, and if it is meant to be everlasting, it will be. If it wasn’t … there is always a next time…”
Don’t make promises or set boundaries today on a future you are clueless of. In doing so, you are limiting your tomorrow and sealing off priceless possibilities…
“The End” of your story, to share with your kids, grandkids, and even the world, is not to be heard when you think it is over or when you think you have received and accomplished all that you deserve… Let the unpredictable be. Be random and enjoy what you may think is beyond your time and watch the abundance of new memories you create…

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