We have all made choices in life. They have led us to the lives we lead today. Whatever the reasons we had at the time, they must have been good enough reasons then, based on the lives we were living, to have made the choices we made.
When I was 26, I chose to leave the man I was with in place of eloping with him to Vegas as we had discussed. I had other dreams for myself which I felt convinced I could not have reached had I stayed with him. Dreams that were all realized within the first 12 months of my having left him. My dreams were for me to move to Manhattan, to go to Europe and to get my Masters. After having crashed at my mother’s house for 6 months, I did find my first apartment in Manhattan where I lived for the next 10 years. I traveled to Europe for the first time when I fell in love with Italy…Italian wine, Italian food and Italian men. And the day I returned from Europe was when I received my acceptance letter from the only Business School I had applied to.
I spent the next 4 four years working full time for a law firm while attending school at night until I obtained my Masters Degree in Business. It was at that law firm where I not only learned about many aspects of business as the true life example of what I was learning in school, but where I also learned that people…no matter where they were from, no matter where they were educated, no matter how much money they had…we all put our pants on one leg at a time. I am not sure if I ever really believed that those who came from “that world” were better off than I was but I quickly realized that they suffered from different types of problems that I would never understand.
But regardless, while most people who came from the world I came from were busy getting married and having children, I was busy obtaining something which my mother always told me no one could ever take away from me…an education past college. Then I watched how many of the lawyers got married…one who actually told me he was engaged in order to have children. Well there ya’ go! In case you needed a reason…though where I come from, you don’t have to be married in order to have children, but maybe that’s just details.
But halfway through my journey through Business School was when I lost my mother. So in case my hidden agenda had been for me to finish school and then to get married when my mother would be there to help and support me through the trials and tribulations of preparing for a wedding, that dream went right out the window. I mean, really, how could I go out and buy a dress without her honest opinion there to help me? How could I have a child without her there to show me how to change a diaper or burp my child? That’s right…I couldn’t!
So what did I do? I spent 5 years, first finishing up in Business School and then just getting into trouble with my own addictions. Not really understanding how my life could mean anything without my being able to call my mother to share the good moments with her everyday. And then, I said, “Ok, Catherine, you have got to step out of this situation and look at it from the outside. What have you always wanted to do?” Well, that’s easy…TRAVEL! And how was going to be able to do that? I mean, yes, I was earning a ton of money but I had not felt challenged in a while. So why not take some time off to go dive? That sounded like the best idea yet. I considered it to be my ticket for why I was leaving NYC while still in the prime of my career. Well, you can’t dive in NYC and you also can’t dive forever.
I mean, I had thought about moving to California when I was right out of college but the thought of leaving my mother alone made me return to the Big Apple. But at that point in my life, after I lost my mother, I no longer had my mother in NYC stopping me from “leaving her behind.” I had thought that many of my friends were going to be better about keeping in touch after I left, but I am so grateful to the friends who did and who continue to over 7 years later.
Now I am used to the fact that I don’t have a “family” during holidays like Easter and Christmas, which are real “Family” holidays. I had grown close to the family of my ex-boyfriend, but as soon as he became my “ex-“, I guess they did too. This is the second year that I have spent alone, without a family or anyone else who might include me with their plans for days like what we are expecting this weekend. And I understand that I am here, alone, because of the decisions either I made for myself, or were made for me. I understand that I no longer represent to anyone the potential mother of their potential child/grandchild and the world sees me differently than they may have in the past.
Am I going to let that realization bring me down? No, of course not, I can never allow that to happen. Just like I don’t want someone to include me in anything just because they feel bad that I’m spending this weekend alone, without a family of my own or a family from which I came from. That would not be authentic or real, in my opinion. I would only want to be included in something because it was where I actually belonged. So, tonight, when I am out with my other “single” friends who also do not have a family with whom they can celebrate Easter weekend with, what I will do is help them see that they are in life exactly where their decisions in life had brought them and that is not a bad thing.
Would they have been happier had they married or even just stayed with that loser they were dating when they were 26? Or had they remained in a relationship that had become empty just to fill their lives with someone else that had a pulse? Or will they just appreciate the fact that they are in a place in life just because they refused to end up in the wrong kind of life that was really just not meant for them? I must convince them that they represent something else to the world. They are destined for bigger things…less traditional, but maybe better.
Could I feel bad right now because I miss the one woman in my life who just adored me for being me? Of course! But can I also be envious of those who still have that but might not appreciate it? Of course! But what makes me feel the worst is the fact that I know that I will never find anyone who could ever measure up to how she felt about me, no matter what…except maybe my dog! Hahaha!
I want to wish everyone a good holiday weekend with their families and hope that they appreciate what they have…because not everything lasts forever. I am just grateful that I had the family I had for as long as I did…even if it didn’t last my lifetime.