Friday, January 23, 2015

What Really Matters

What am I going to do today?
I could list the necessary stuff, fixing people’s computers, the trivia: laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, checking my email, checking out a few links, and the important stuff: yoga, meditation, drawing, writing, talking with my husband.

Yesterday, I watched the videos on
The folks at Emotional Mojo made a video about end-of-life thoughts, and then they had people get into a casket and watch it.  This page has the video they watched, and a video showing the reactions of their test audience, both inside the casket and out.

What surprised me was how my thoughts of what I consider a good day to be have changed throughout my life.

When I was nine, a good day involved learning something new, playing with my hula hoop, and reading a good book.

In my 20's a good day included political organizing, trying to change the world, side-by-side with my husband, and taking care of my children.

In my 30's and 40's, a good day involved getting my work done, and enjoying my family.

In my 50's and 60's a good day involved learning something new, getting my work done, and enjoying my husband.

I used to fantasize what it would be like to be a grandparent. I imagined a close family, with my children as friends and my grand children helping me explore the changing world.

But when I watched these videos, I thought about the fact that my children don’t live near me, and they don’t much like me anyway. My grandchildren see me as an occasional visitor who cooks with them, or watches them at sports.  Frankly, these days feel like they are lacking something, compared to my fantasies.

The video got me thinking about what really matters to me.  What really matters are my husband, my friends and my stories.  I want to see the world – both in person and online.  If my children and grandchildren don’t share my interests, family is bigger than genetics.  

In my teens and 20's when I was rebelling against my parents, I used to think about my two families: my family of birth and my family of choice.  I didn’t get along well with my family of birth.  And today, with the next two generations in place, that is still true.  But I have always found and enjoyed family of choice. As I have aged, my mother and brother have joined my family of choice. 

There are no limits to my family of choice.  We just have to share common interests, and affections.  I put myself into situations where I can find these people, both in town and on the web.

A woman in my yoga class saw my name on my mat, and asked me, “I know this is an odd question, but do you write children’s stories?”  Surprised, I said, “Yes.”  She said, “You are one of my son’s favorite writers.”   Wow!  My family of choice is finding me.

And that is what I can look forward to, as I continue to age.    

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