As I sit here tonight, my mind wanders to how I have changed as a person throughout my adult years. Yes, I’ve had some regrets, such as never having traveled abroad before settling down, never taking the plunge to live in a southern state, and trading in my midnight blue Grand Am for a more reasonable family vehicle come immediately to mind. I can also say that I had different goals as a young woman than I do as being someone in their early forties. I am more confident in the woman I have become and I am no longer that insecure teen. But, I must say, I feel like I have stayed true to who I really am, despite an occasional meandering over to the dark side.
I grew up in a single parent household and we were, by all definitions, poor. We did not have a shower and we bathed in a galvanized tub that we would haul out into the kitchen. I know some of you who have just read the previous line are appalled by how awful that must have been, but it was not. No, our house was not much above a shack, but I wouldn’t change my childhood in that respect. I was loved. I didn’t have the latest electronics or the trendiest clothing, but I had a mother who loved me unconditionally. My meager upbringing taught me a simple reality, it’s not the objects in life that matter, it’s the people and the memories.
I would much rather have a handful of close friends who love me for who I am, the good and the bad, than have a thousand friends who are only friendly to my face or when they want something from me. I cry during humane society commercials, stop to assist shoppers who can’t reach a product in the grocery store and I donate to charities. Not because I want the tax write off, but because I truly believe that we all need a little help sometimes. My perfect day would be any day spent with my two beautiful girls. I love gazing up at the stars and listening to the rain. These characters within me have never changed.
I have trusted too easily and gotten hurt, been used and thrown aside, but they were lessons learned. I have worked hard to prevent any of the negatives I have encountered in my life to permanently change my positive outlook. Instead of building bitterness and walls, I have chosen to look deeper into the reasons someone might have chosen a particular action instead of condemning that person for their actions. I’m no saint, no, not by a long shot, but I hope that I have apologized when it was warranted and have not been too proud to admit defeat.
I am human and though my body has gotten a little older and my vision a little worse than when I was a twenty-something, I have always tried to remain true to myself because at the end of this life, we all die alone. The most important thing to me is that I want to make sure that I am proud of the woman I was throughout my life as I take my last breath. So, I must say that in looking back, I have tried to show unconditional kindness and love, remain genuine, be strong, and, above all else, be a positive influence in my daughter’s lives. And, for me, that is enough.