It matters where you stop the story." – Peter Lamberson (a friend of mine) posted this on his FB wall a few days ago, but originally, it can be credited to Orson Welles.
Several weeks ago I posted about my plans for the rest of the year, including earning some merit badges from You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown Up Girls written by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. Several of my friends were jealous inspired by the idea and wanted to borrow the book. Um, no. I love you, but this time I'm claiming MINE!
So we started GUGS instead. Grown Up Girl Scouts. And believe it or not, we have 13 very excited women participating. To date, I have ordered a dozen merit badge books (which if you're looking for a good used book site I highly recommend www.thriftbooks.com) and our first meeting is August 30th.
I think as we grow older and therefore wiser it occurs to us that this is our life. Ours alone. And the only person who can take responsibility for living it is you (or if you want to involve more people you can always use Me, Myself and I). Consequently, you've only got yourself to blame if you have a life of uncompleted bucket list items and for that reason, I think it's up to each of us to figure out who it is we are as a person, how we want to define ourselves and most importantly, what we want out of life.
The question is, once you've figured out who you are, how to define yourself, and what you want out of life, how do you set about accomplishing these things?
Oh sure, there's video clips on YouTube, DVDs you can rent, classes you can take, or books you can read to learn just about anything and everything. But the real question is, "Are you going to take the time to do it?"
Women seem to have far more difficulty taking time for themselves that isn't related to family or home than men do. My mom, who has two grown daughters, still turns down offers to go on little weekend getaways because she feels she has too much to do at home. And the reality is, there are a few areas of the house that have gotten a bit out of hand, and yet even though she uses housework as her excuse to not go up north and spend time with her friends, the housework doesn't get done.
I'm not sure what it is, but there are several factors at work when it comes to women feeling guilty about taking time out for themselves. In no particular order:
- We're too busy being mothers.
- We're trying to keep up Martha Stewart / Domestic Goddess appearances.
- We're struggling to get ahead in this economy and break through the glass ceiling at the same time.
- We're attempting to be the best daughters that we can be to our parents.
- We want to be the our husband's best friend and lover.
- We're spread so thin being mothers, Domestic Goddesses, career women, wives and daughters that one more thing is going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Yet sometimes, it's that "one more thing" that is our saving grace. It's taking the half hour a day after the kids go to bed to read a book that helps us unwind and enables us to sleep. It's being able to meet up with friends, both old and new, to discuss the book, the ideas and thoughts it provoked from you, and to just talk about things that don't involve algebraic equations. whether the purple shirt is clean or dirty, and why swedish fish can't be counted as protein.
It's grabbing that quick glass of wine after work with your former co-workers, or managing to squeeze in a soup and salad lunch with a girlfriend you haven't seen since Christmas. It's taking a half hour and running into your favorite shoe store and finding the perfect patent leather red ballet flats that go with everything.
In short, it's living your life with purpose and making sure you take the time to do the things that make you happy. To develop into the person you want to be. To learn the things you've always wanted to know. Because at the end of the day, the only person responsible for your happiness is you. As you're the only one to blame at the end of your life if there are bucket list items left undone.
I wrote on Pete's wall that his quote was wrong. He needs to change it to read, "If you want a happy ending, write it yourself." – Monique