I had this conversation with a good friend yesterday.
There is a grief, a chaos, a let-down at the retirement of a once productive person. We once were parents, professionals with purpose, prestige and identities of that purpose, producers of money, of working homes for family, of guidance, of production, of beauty, of art. We find ourselves now not knowing what we want....not knowing our purpose or even our own hearts. Because we didn't want much for ourselves but we "wanted" for others. Our jobs were as caretakers of the well-being for others or for the well-being of the institution that supplied us with money. Now, it seems those others don't want us to serve in those ways anymore or we realize that there is no appreciation for what we were doing. Especially for women, a "not knowing what WE want" seems to hit us with surprise. Because our lives did not function on the road of what we wanted. We were in service to the world, to our parents and siblings, to our children, to our employers, to our clients, to our students, to our patients, to our churches, to our neighborhood.
What do I want? I don't know. I can't seem to make out a bucket list or a to do list without it being about and for others. Were we fooling ourselves in making our lives about other people? It also seems as though some women of a certain ilk that I know who I used to deem "self-centered divas" are now crowned with adoration by those people they once "governed" rather than "served". How did I have it so wrong on my "how to be" plan? I know of people who have lived their lives for themselves with strong boundaries, with strong ideas about what they want moment to moment. They seem happier than I am now...as thought they had some information about life that missed me.
I have a young diva granddaughter like this. She is a pain in the butt sometimes when she so strongly declares that she wants the yellow one not the green one....with a fight to the death will to get her way for something that is inconsequential....she just wants her way. She often gets her way just by wearing people down with belligerence. Will she be loved more than her sister who gives and works hard for the safety and comfort and well-being of others, being empathic and caring and considerate? Is that the way the world works?
I am dismayed that life rewards those who are strong willed and pushy and grabby.
Would it be wise to teach my other kind, considerate granddaughter to know what she wants and grab it, not thinking so much about those she might have to step on to get it?
Shall I be careful to not quash my strong-willed granddaughter's fiestyness for what she wants?
I am surprised how much I don't know at this age. I used to think I was smart and that I was brought up good. Young people who set themselves up as "experts" on life issues do not know how the world turns and culture and views change. The older we get the more we know we don't know for sure.
What is the lesson for me? That is what I am trying to get at. Will H be more beloved by our children than I because he has a stronger self-will and I seem to have no will at all except to serve? Was I no more than a "hired hand", a waitress, cook, cleaning lady, chafeur, teacher? While H was a character, a personable, unpredictible, aloof mystery?....a person of interest? a buddy on par with the children?
Then how does a person who was bred to serve stop it and give herself permission and take steps toward a strong-willed self? I don't know if I want that. I don't know what I want. And if a person doesn't know what they want, how do they know where to go and what to do? How does a person have passion if they don't know what they want?