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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The unconditional condition of the present.

(pictured above: The Port Orford Lifeguard Station, now a Heritage building, full of old memorabilia.)

We used to dream about palaces, big houses with many rooms, for all the things we were going to be! Two, three stories tall, with grounds and gardens and pools. We pulled pictures out of magazines and drooled over them. We dreamed hard; we worked hard; we played at what we would become before we became. We lived on two coasts, the Atlantic and the Pacific. We, Hubby and I, supported each other through our early marriage years, putting each other through school, graduate degrees, post-graduate fellowships, taking turns taking care of our babies or making a living. We hobnobbed with Nobel Laureates, sipped imported wines while eating French food served by butlers, and knew what art to buy, and who wrote the latest bestseller.

Both of us were first-generation college graduates. We were self-made and proud of it!
Our money bought us books, good wine, tickets to the theater.

But our ambition was always bigger than our pocketbook.
If we just paid off the car, then...
When we get the next raise we could...
After the braces and the  music lessons, we might...

When we linger over those days, we can easily slip into a funk. We have to be kind and supportive to our old selves.  We have a lot, we tell ourselves. We did more than we anticipated. We raised beautiful children who grew up to be wonderful adults.

We had real muchness in  our lives.

We have always been clear-headed and resourceful. Now, at this time in our lives, we know what needs to be done and no magazine picture or expert opinion is necessary.
Our health will be our dominant motivation.
If we stay focused, our present will be just as exciting and as rich as our past.




38 comments:

Linda Myers said...

You will apply the same wisdom and skill to your current place in life as you did in the past. That's a very good thing.

Brian Miller said...

there is great wisdom in this..buying things will never fill the void we feel in out consumption...a bigger house will never really make us happy because it will always be a bigger one...

Suz said...

yes, rosaria, it will be

Monkey Man said...

So true. Richness can't always be measured in monetary terms.

Rubye Jack said...

Isn't it interesting how human beings tend to strive for more throughout their lives. It is as if something within us is never content for our world as is and it is natural to want more. I don't think this goes away with age by any means but perhaps our desires become more quiet and settled, such as reading good books, writing, gardening, crafting,...protecting our health.

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

This is a wonderful post Rosaria!
When I was pregnant with my daughter who is my 3rd child I took a class at church on parenting given by James Dobson. The one thing I remember from it was this...
He said; If you fail at being a parent, no amount of success you ever achieve in life will make up for that one failure"
I look at my 3 wonderful children and know it was the only success I ever needed. The rest is all gravy and I'm blessed and grateful!

Dawn said...

Words of wisdom! Thank you Rosaria.

Eva Gallant said...

Sometimes we get so busy striving for what we want, we forget to be grateful for what we have!

ds said...

You are wise--and rich in the real sense of the word, which has nothing to do with "things".

Grandmother said...

I like the image of you two being kind to your old selves. You gave the world the next generation. How brave. You had muchness in your lives. How rich. Now you've made deliberate choices about where you live. Raise your glasses high and drink a toast to you! Well done.

Helen said...

'we have real muchness in our lives' .. may I quote you?

ellen abbott said...

there are many things I did not do, many things I did not have but what I did do and do have is enough.

That gentleman's lady said...

I have no doubts, Rosaria, that it will be :)

Love to you

Journeyin' Lady... said...

So true, so true.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'm sure it will, Rosaria.

Elisabeth said...

I recognise these sentiments well, Rosaria. A good friend of my husband's is suddenly very ill, and only in his mid sixties.

It brings up thoughts of mortality and the need to take stock, and to care for ourselves in a different way, after all the years of caring for others.

Sightings said...

Congratulations on a life well lived, because if you did more than you anticipated, then you should have no regrets. Me? Oh well, regrets, I have a few ...

dianefaith said...

Today I traveled back to Emory University, a place where we began what we thought was our upward climb. In fact, it was a good place to be when we were in our 30's and 40's, but just a place. Our older, quieter world is a fine place, too.

yaya said...

Each decade in my life has had its challenges, triumphs, decisions..all viewed now in retrospect. I could have made different choices in some cases...wish I had in some cases, but it is what it is and I'm happy. In my line of work I've learned that the investment of good health is the smartest one you can make in any time of your life. I hope you can have the healthiest life possible.

Lisa Beck said...

Port Orford Station...ah...those were the days

Helga said...

I really am looking forward to your thought-inspiring posts, and this time your expression 'We had real muchness in our lives' hits home. We are blessed with so much, which most of the time we hardly acknowledge and are barely conscious of. Also, I am still trying to wrap my mind around 'the unconditional condition of the present'.

The Broad said...

I like your words so very much. It is so easy as we get older to become melancholy and regretful, to forget our blessings and dwell on our failures. Happiness is sometimes hard work, but as often as not we simply do not see it...

Rob-bear said...

We have always dreamed small and lived within our means.
We are comfortable in our retirement, because we believe we have enough to survive.
But I've been drawn into the ranks of the homeless through my commitment to Occupy Saskatoon. And there is another story, altogether different.
How are we going to find enough for everyone to just stay alive?

becky said...

Your head is on straight, Rosaria.

the walking man said...

I still want a house with a big wrap around porch but know that I am in the house I will have until the end of my time and it may not have a place to really sit or have the grand kids over so they can run around danger free but it is home and it is ours.

NitWit1 said...

I love the nostalgic post. I sometimes have similar reflections

However, goals were somewhat different.After owning two houses, one when single, and one while married, and no children, we realized we could live with much less and engage in giving back what others had generously provided us, not necessarily in dollars.

After a series of serious illnesses to both of us in our mid 40's we decided to semi-retire in an area of lower living costs, so as to bring ourselves "in pay as you go by 65." It took awhile to find our way, one decision was a manufactured home on a lot, not in a park. That was paid off in 10 years. We had several cars but we have settled on two paid in 3 year vehicles and do not dream of the latest thing." We cut up credit cards.

We've changed our attitude about the frenzied buying and giving at holidays. We take all we splurged on a small group of friends and give it to those who do not know us. Most time the gifts were unneeded or unused.

So do some our friends. Instead of lavish meals requiring so much cooking and cleaning up, we take a couple at a time out to dinner near Christmas.

shopgirl said...

Rosaria, all I can say is well said and good advice for those of us who are getting on in age. We all need to learn that most of us have more than enough and enjoy and be thankful for that which we have - our health.

Have a lovely day Rosaria and thanks for the reminder.

decomondo said...

Producing and buying is not what I find interesting but creating and exchanging is fun!
I'm convinced that what you have done was to create and exchange.

Josh said...

I, too, am I first-generation college graduate. I can identify with a lot of the things you mention in this post.

However, having a butler serve me wine ... I couldn't bear the ridicule from my blue-collar family.

They'd never let me live it down, lol.

#1Nana said...

I don't know that I've gotten any smarter, but as I've gotten older my wants have changed. I enjoy the occasional splurge, but I most look forward to seeing the new Muppet movie with my granddaughters. I am grateful and content with a simple life.

Ruth said...

It seems to me this could only be written out of the understanding that comes with age. It's beautiful. What meaning do our lives have? It's what we give it, daily, moment by moment.

It does sound as though you have lived a very interesting life. All that richness has made you who you are, today.

fiftyodd said...

I'm convinced good health is everything, then the rest is much easier.

Vagabonde said...

It is nice to look back and remember all these times and it also gives a sense of accomplishment. You certainly accomplished a lot and now you are happy with new priorities. This gives you a peaceful philosophy acquired by a life well lived.

RNSANE said...

Reading your posts, Rosaria, with the wisdom, therein, is always so helpful to me, especially when I need to focus on reality - which I so often do!

Janet said...

Thanks for putting life into perspective.

I'm realising how precious life gets when there is less of it to waste. Now to find the confidence to take the "leap of faith" and hope like all hell it isn't "a flight of fantasy"

Lydia said...

From beginning to end, this is one of the most skilled and heart-filled pieces I have ever read about the stages of life. Focused, clear-headed, and with only slight sentimentality, it inspired me so much that I am going to print it to keep. Muchness....wonderful.
Thank you.

Lyn said...

So wise Rosaria. Your accumulated experience and wisdom shines through in each post you share. I haven't been by in a while however I have been thinking about you and hoping that your heart is healing...

Step-parent's Cove said...

I truly understand. I too dream of one day owning that big house located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. LOL's. Yet somehow I know it is only a dream, but a good dream therfore I will keep it safe within my minds hope for a better life for me and my family.