I haven’t enough fingers to count the ways I have hurt people in my life. Perhaps we all have this realization – “what an ass I have been, maybe I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did, wow, if I could do things over again, I would…”
In our minds, there are so many possibilities for how things could go, or how they should have gone, but in reality, there is only one possibility – the way it went. The trouble is accepting it and moving on from there.
And that is the trouble.
It’s hard and even if you’ve apologized, or tried to do things better, it may never actually get better. The hole may remain there, gaping and festering and you learn to live with it by occupying your time with other things, projects, schedules, time with friends – some of which actually help to soften the wound, maybe even help you to heal. The worst is when you try to fill that wound with drink or drugs, or food, or excessive exercise, or people-pleasing (possibly the worst, I think) and not only does the wound continue to fester, you lose yourself along the way, or you create new wounds that also need to heal.
How do we move on?
I know for me, my first instinct is to run and make myself unavailable, but this isn’t always a healthy response. It’s better than lashing out, perhaps, but making ourselves unavailable is a bit cowardly and I’m not interested in being a coward.
I think what we do is acknowledge our feelings and recognize our participation in whatever happened. Everyone is allowed to fuck up once in a while. No one is perfect. None of us gets a cool life handbook with how-tos on living a perfect, happy, and fulfilling life. Some may claim the Bible does this, but I’ve not met a single reader who can say they followed the Bible to a tee and their life is perfect. Have you? If so, please drop their name below. If you say Jesus, remember the Bible was written after he passed. Just sayin’.
I do tend to want to run, to excuse myself from the lives of others when I feel like I’m not needed, or appreciated, or liked, or if I feel like I’m just in the way. Is this abnormal? I’m feeling like perhaps it’s not the right thing to do, but then, who wants to be in a situation or around people (even family…even our own children) when we are made to feel that way?
And is it really so odd to have a major space between ourselves and our grown children who aren’t interested in having us in their lives? Is that not how it was in the “old days,” back when people communicated via The Pony Express and even later with long-distance telephone calls? Did people worry so much about not hearing from their kids for a month, or not having texts answered?
Maybe we put too much on our children and maybe there’s a reason parents choose to move away to Florida for retirement. Maybe they just get sick of the weight of worry, along with the joint pain and the headaches.
I’m just saying.
Maybe there’s a reason old ladies team up and build strong friendships. Maybe it’s because they dislike their daughter-in-laws or son-in-laws and their children only contact them when they want something. Maybe they just want to chat with someone who cares. Maybe they want to laugh with someone who gets them. Maybe they’re sick of feeling used and tossed aside when they aren’t needed.
I’ve hurt a lot of people and I’ve been hurt by a lot of people in my life and I’m fast approaching a point where I really just don’t care anymore. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, even though it sounds that way. I mean this in a – I’m just going to live my life and you can live yours and we’ll see where we end up. I’m going to put aside the worry, for a healthy dose of faith. I’m going to stop reaching and start practicing simply being open.
And I’m going to start devoting more time to things I enjoy, rather than always worrying about what everyone else wants, or needs, or what I think they want and need.
I’m forty-three years old.
I’m a wife and I love my husband.
I’m a mom and I love my children.
I’m a grandma and I love my grandkids.
And I’m Theresa and dammit, I’m ready to put on my old lady pants and give a little love to myself for a while in the form of forgiveness and the encouragement to GO & DO and stop worrying so f-ing much.
Life is too short for all this nonsense. Like my little nephew said to his dad, “It’s okay, you’re doing your best.” That’s all we can do.