it is so very far from what I had imagined.
And yet, here I am, living it.
I think at certain times during the course of a lifetime, everybody could come to this same realization. It has little to do with level of satisfaction, of goals set, achieved, not realized, or changed. It has everything to do with perspective.
And that is something I think I have gained here. Yes, literally here. Through this blog. Through interactions with all of you. Through my own thoughts, coming from my heart, out my fingers, onto the screen, and back to my brain as I re-read them 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years later.
Perspective. I used to believe that being a good mother was what I was intended for on this earth. There was no question - it was only a matter of time. I was always in anticipation of that next step... I would literally BEG God to send me my cycles (which, interestingly, started 17 years ago yesterday - and again yesterday as an anniversary gift - be careful what you wish for, I suppose) when I was the last one of my friends to receive it. Of course, there were ulterior motives. Boobs, primarily. Fitting in, secondarily. But I know underlying that anticipation was also the relief, when it finally came, that now I was on my way - to womanhood - and to motherhood.
My anticipation quickly turned to boyfriends. Oh, how I yearned for a boyfriend!! I couldn't wait to be in a relationship, begin forming memories with the man that could one day become my husband and the father of my children. Nothing ever quite passed for a boyfriend in high school, much to my disappointment. And so I waited. And waited. For what felt like an eternity.
And finally, that last hurdle overcome, a boyfriend-turned-fiance - now the ultimate dream was merely a breath away.
Seven years later... here I stand.
And I could so easily discount all of them. So easily look forward and never back, never remember the pain, the sorrow, the incredible suffering that seemed to coarse through my veins with every beat of my broken heart.
But that is not my perspective.
I do not choose to forget. I choose to accept. And in accepting, I accept fully the painful past, the powerful present, and the foreign future. I accept, and I allow it to shape me, to mold my perspective day to day.
There is a saying, and a pop song of the same title:
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
No. Not necessarily.
The choice is yours. What doesn't kill you could instead destroy or weaken you. It could persuade you to direct your hope in the wrong place, or to lose it altogether. What doesn't kill you could cause you to live bemoaning the past, while wasting away the present and failing to greet the future with open arms. What doesn't kill you could make you put your life on hold until your dream is realized, and if it ever is, you could miss out on the greatest perspective of all.
But, what doesn't kill you also has the potential to make you the person God always intended you to be.