Remember when we were little and we dreamt of what we would be when we grew up? My dream changed a million times, just like everyone else’s. But it was always something important. And in that dream, I was always deliriously happy.
For a short while, I was going to be a nun. I went to Mass at the convent. I felt very holy. I was sold, right up until the day I discovered boys, and then all bets were off. After that, it was nothing but sighs and diary posts, declaring my love for whichever boy told his friend to tell my friend that he liked me. I once had a full school year of entries that said only ‘School goes on, still like John’. Obviously it was a slow year, news wise. I wanted nothing more than to get married and have babies. I went on the college to become a dental hygienist, a profession perfectly suited to part-time work, for when the children were pre-schoolers. I would then retire at 35 years of age, and look after my family. That was going to be my raison d’être. Life was going to be good.
Around about my late 20’s, I started to get the feeling that this plan may not come to fruition. I was still single, for one thing. All of my friends were married, and there I was…not. I was slogging away, singing the praises of oral health, all the while thinking that this could not be it. Teaching people to floss did not seem like a very worthy life purpose. I should be doing more. Maybe I should join the Peace Corps? (Go big or go home, right?) But instead, I met my husband, and we joined the ranks of the holy matrimonied. Within a year, we discovered that children would not be in our future without jumping through a lot of hoops. We decided not to jump. So what now? I had kind of banked on these future children. Without them, I was, well, useless.
For a while, I found religion again. Surely God had a purpose for me. What, exactly, is the plan? I want to know. I prayed a lot. I went to psychics too, just to cover all the bases, looking for someone to tell me why I’m here. What’s the plan, Stan?
I spent a lot of years, waiting for that big thing that I was supposed to do to show up. A lot of frustrating years. I kept waiting for my ‘one day’. Finally, I stopped looking for the big plan, and instead, looked at my current life. And it was pretty damned good. No, it’s not the one I imagined all those years ago. And I’m not deliriously happy. But it’s pretty, freaking awesome none the less. My imperfect self is loved by my imperfect husband, my imperfect family, and my imperfect friends. I, in turn, love them back, imperfectly.
I believe that most of us do not have BIG purposes. I think that might even be the point of all of this living. We don’t need to do great things, we only need to see what is in front of us right now. Recognize the beauty. Love the best we can. Tap into the light that is our essence and share it with the world. For all I know, that nice thing I said in 1972 was the only thing I needed to get done this time around. Maybe the rest is just gravy. And who doesn’t love gravy?