At the age of 51, I can unequivocally say that life is short.
Holey Moley, here I am, well over half way through mine, and I haven't done a snit of the stuff I thought I was going to do when I was 20, 25, or even 35.
What were those things anyway? Things that were going to earn me fame or infamy as the case may have been, things that would earn me money, things that would have my name in lights. Entering politics, publishing a book, seeing my photographs, sketches and paintings displayed in places of note. All that stuff.
Instead, I had a couple of rotten relationships, three fantastic sons, finally got it right and married a good man, and got my wish for a daughter.
Throw into the mix the fact that my No. 3 son has Cerebral Palsy and is totally physically dependent, and you start to get a sense for where it all went right.
Yes...right. You might think that a life changing event like having a child with a severe physical disability would make life all pear-shaped suddenly.
But in fact, the diagnosis of my son's disability and the realisation of how it would impact on him and us, was like a giant lasoo flying through space, capturing me and hauling me in for branding. Suddenly, none of the things I thought I wanted to achieve in my life mattered any more.
It was all about quality of life for him and for that matter, all of us. Having a kid who can't even wipe their own nose or scratch their own nether regions is a humbling experience. It's time consuming and sometimes all-consuming. You don't have time for much else for years and years and years.
But I can honestly say it's been a good thing. What sort of selfish, self centred little snot would I have become without the introduction of my son into my life. I shudder to think.
So here I am. My two older sons are good people with loving partners. My Son No. 3 is living independently with near round the clock support...I'll share THAT little story another time, and I now bask in a certain little glow of achievement.
I have a loving husband a daughter who is the daughter mothers like me dream of, and a sweetly comfortable life.
I've learned now, that getting to the pointy bit of life has nothing to do with fame, fortune, the admiration of folks I don't even know, and acquiring stuff.
It has to do with treating people with honour, seeking to improve the lives of those who cannot act for themselves, keeping your promises, and sometimes even *shock! horror!*, putting the needs of others before your own.
My husband and I run a business, manage a home and complex family with stepkids and all the baggage that goes with it. We also lobby politicians to improve the lives of the disabled, serve on commitees that might assist in that outcome, and still manage to find time for each other and our friends. Some days we're over it, to be honest...the whole 'do-gooder' thing. But if we don't do it, then who will?
I suppose you just have to say to yourself "Who wants to get to the end of their days and say 'well, I had a good time..?"
Life is not a race...the first one to get to the finish is d-e-a-d.
Let's stop trying to be the first one to have the new generation thingy, the latest model of this, and the shiniest version of that.
Let's appreciate that the way to be remembered when we are gone, is to DO something great, not HAVE something 'great'.
Life ticks away, whether we like it or not. I like to feel my heart beating in time with that ticking, knowing that there are only so many ticks, so many beats, and to make each beat and breath count somehow.
On my Tray of Bliss today is my journal. I sometimes forget to write in it. But today I'll write that I am grateful for my bodys' willingness to continue to breathe in and breathe out. For as long as I can manage to do those two things, I will find ways to make the lives of those around me as joyous, peaceful, and memorable as I possibly can.
What's on your Tray of Bliss today?