We all have mentors and role models in our lives. We see character traits in people that we admire and strive to emulate them. When we are young, we tend to look up to older siblings or teenagers in the spotlight. As we get older, our goals shift a little.
When I think back about who has influenced me over the years many people come to mind. One person in particular is my Great Grandmother. She was an amazing, classy and beautiful woman. I still think about the many values that she instilled in me. She will forever be part of who I am. There are also people that I’ve had less intimate relationships with but who have had great impact on my direction in life. Such as my high school English teacher, Mrs. Brown. She will never know how much her encouragement affected me. Of course, I wouldn’t have had the guts to be who I am today and make the tough decisions that I’ve made the last couple years without the support of my best friend, Cindy. She is so confident in who she is. That trait showed me that it was ok to be me.
I think by now everybody knows Betty White. I remember her from the Mary Tyler Moore show and Golden Girls. She played the neighborhood nymphomaniac. When I think back to that era, it amazes me that she had the balls to play that role with such gusto. Her expert use of the double entendre had audiences blushing and laughing uncontrollably. And as she says, not everybody “got it” but those that didn’t, no harm done. I ask myself the question, why is she still such a hot commodity today? The 89 year old woman who hosted Saturday Night Live and did a skit talking about her “hot, juicy muffins” isn’t afraid to live life. It’s her ability to just be herself. She says she wants to taste every moment. I love that!
Betty White embraces change and loves trying new things. Her ability to live in the moment at any given time keeps her young and energetic. I wish we could all have her positive attitude and outlook on life. She’s such an iconic symbol. She fits in anywhere she lands.
I sincerely hope that when I reach that age that I’m still open minded to change and enjoying whatever life brings my way. She’s LIVING her life not waiting around for it to happen to her. She claims that she says “yes” to most everything that comes her way. What a great outlook. I wanna be like Betty! I might not ever get the chance to talk about my hot, juicy muffins on national TV but if I do, I want to be brave enough to pull it off with no regrets. Betty, you’re my hero!
I have come to the realization that our problems in life can be the very thing that ultimately brings us happiness. When we face tragedy, dig through our pain, and eventually come out of it on the other side, we are renewed. In a way, it’s the pain that helps us feel joy. I believe that sometimes God has a radical way of showing us what is important. There are millions of people in the world that have what we think we want, who are in rehab, prisons, and divorce courts. We really should be careful of what we wish for. “Good fortune” can have bad side effects.
Having problems is thought to be a bad thing. But if you think about it, solving your problems makes you stronger. Having problems at work may be just the push you need to step out of your comfort zone and explore other opportunities. Being in a bad relationship can help you understand what love really means. It’s the growth that we experience during times of heartache, hardship and stress that makes us stronger, better people.
As a society, we believe that success is the opposite of failure. Not true. Failure leads to eventual success. It teaches us to persevere through life’s trials. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is reached through past failures.
We are also told that we should be happy. Don’t get me wrong, happiness is a desirable emotion. But to think there are never going to be times of sadness or depression isn’t reasonable. We need to give ourselves permission to feel these difficult emotions sometimes. It’s normal and healthy.
Occasionally, we can fear change so much that we abandon ourselves in order to keep things stable. We resist rocking the boat. We float around smiling with a smile that doesn’t reach our eyes, trying to fool the people around us because we want them to believe that we are happy when we are truly miserable. But the heart and soul have a cycle of breaking and healing. So face your unhappiness and disappointments. Make the changes that need to be made in order to achieve the joy that you deserve. Yes, this is easier said than done, but have faith that God has better things in store for you. Embrace the journey and believe that the path you are on is the right one for you. It’s ultimately what makes you unique and helps you to grow to be a better person.
It looks like I may sell this house. While I’m very excited about being able to literally move on after my divorce 1 ½ years ago, this house holds so many memories. Good and bad ones. I like to focus on the good ones. My daughter brought a song to my attention last year that says so much. It’s by Miranda Lambert titled “The House That Built Me”. This song produces such strong emotions that it can make me cry within about 3 seconds (I am a bit of a crybaby). I’ve been here for over 10 years watching both kids grow up and graduate, had a marriage that wasn’t great but did have a few good times mixed in with the bad, gone through a divorce (yes, that is a happy memory at this point) had numerous pets that came and went and are now buried here, trees that were planted in memory of loved ones, witnessed the passing of my much loved step-father, enjoyed countless birthdays and Mothers Days, had lazy days by the pool, my first ride on a tractor, watched my son pole vault to amazing heights, watched my daughter ride her pony…….. All of these memories I will pack and take with me. What I can’t take with me are a couple of things attached to this house, my back porch and my huge claw foot bathtub.
I love my screened-in back porch. There are all kinds of memories there. During the last 1 ½ years a tradition called “wine on the porch” was created. It played a big part in getting me through my divorce. Many evenings were spent out there with friends just hanging out. It was a time where I was able to put aside all the stress of the day and sit out there simply laughing and loving life. Other times saw me frustrated and feeling like life was unfair. And at times it was grossly unfair. Ultimately, after an evening on the porch, I always felt like I could keep going no matter what came at me next. Through it all I have learned that you must move on. You have to let things go because being angry and bitter just eats you up inside. I discovered how to give my worries to God on this porch. Truly letting go is liberating. It’s a freedom that is unparalleled. My friends and family say they witnessed me finding true happiness through this process. Something I had been missing for so many years. So I will miss this porch but the tradition of “wine on the porch” will definitely continue wherever I end up settling.
My bathtub is fantastic! It’s an enormous claw-foot tub that I swear I can just about swim laps in. There is nothing like sinking down in a tub of hot water at the end of the day and enjoying the peace and solitude it brings. People that know me, give me a hard time about always being in that tub any time they call. Maybe I do spend an inordinate amount of time there but I’ve known for a while that I will have to give it up one day and I want to get as much time in as I possibly can. I seriously doubt that I’ll ever have a tub like that again. Perhaps it’s a blessing to have to move on though. I’ve thought about how awful it would be to have that amazing tub staring at me, mocking me, and being too old to be capable of getting in and out of it without breaking something. That would be torture. So I guess it’s best that I will be removed from the temptation when I’m older because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to break the tub “habit” without serious intervention.
I hope the new owners love this house as much as I have. I don’t know anything about them, if they have kids or pets or what they plan on doing with 10 acres. But I do know that they will start making their own memories and creating traditions in this house right away. And wherever I settle, new memories and traditions await me.