Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Embrace the Gnome

Today is my birthday. I am fifty. Now I`m not telling y`all that so that I can get nifty gifts although if anyone can send me Ryan Reynolds in a box with a bow I won`t turn it down! Nope, the reason I mention that today is my fiftieth birthday goes a tad bit deeper than wanting the congrats and the way-to-goes, it goes to something that I think many of you can hopefully relate to.

Getting older mean getting wiser.

That`s quite the announcement isn`t it? I mean, come on Feral we`ve all heard that a thousand times you all are muttering. I know you have, so have I. But at least for this yodeling goatherder getting to the half century mark means that I`m getting somewhat smarter I hope. And you know there are times I can see it. I`ll give you the one of the lessons I`ve learned, one that I think may be the most important.

I have learned that life is too danged short to not to what you love to do. If you love to tap dance, then tap away! If you love to knit or quilt or paint or mold clay into little fat gnomes with big noses then mold that clay baby! If you, like me, love to write then by all the holy goats of Caprinia write! Do not let others tell you what you cannot or should not do. Do what makes your soul sing. So what if the TV is dusty or the vacuum needs run! Will those weeds you fretted about or the pile of clothes in the hamper or the mop hanging unused for a week be what you wish you spent more time with as you lay in your death bed?

‘I wish….I had….cleaned more’ is not what I want to whisper as my last breath leaves me! I would like my last words to be’ Where the hell are the male strippers!?’ or something to that effect.

This is a lesson that took me a very long time to learn. I spent years trying to be what everyone else thought I should be. I kept a tidy house and cooked big meals every night and lived and breathed for my husband and child. I spent years doing for them without thought as to what made me happy…what made me Feral…what made me a woman who was special and unique and pretty damn cool and witty.

Am I saying we as women shouldn`t care for and coddle our families? Of course not. What I am saying is that once you discover that special thing that makes you really truly happy then embrace it! Don`t let others tell you that you are too old to be a writer now, or that you`re too old to take that collage class or that you`re too old to read comics or watch cartoons or play video games or think about trying your hand at oil painting or whatever it is that some will look down upon you for. Who gives a fiddlers bow if you`re fifty-seven and want to take up belly dancing?! Heck if I had a veil I`d join you!

See I guess what this ramble is about is being happy despite the number of candles on your cake. For women it can be a very tough go because we are doused with different messages. Back when I was a kid and the brontosaurus roamed the land…or would that be brontosauri?? Well whatever the proper terminology back in the day women had one role. Mother. Two if you included housewife. Three if you tossed in wife. Okay it was the role of mother/housefrau/wife.

Sometimes I sit and ponder if my mother was really happy, I mean really happy. Did she ever have dreams of being more than what society at the time thought she should be? I have to think that maybe she did because when she was into her sixties she took a floral arrangement class. She was ecstatic about it and I was just as happy for her. Isn`t it funny how as we grow older we begin to shuck off what others think we should do and do what we want to do? Why is it that we wait until then to realize this?

I have to think that it may be because when we`re younger we tend to do what others think we should do. Teenagers move in a very tight spiral of keeping within certain boundaries lest they are made fun of and I feel that many of us, not all of course, but many of us tend to stay locked into that mindset as we move through our twenties and thirties. I`ve seen it time and time again that when a woman creeps, or is thrown rudely, into her forties things begin to change subtlety.

Her kids are grown or to the point that they don`t need fulltime mothering, her husband is getting older as well and the rush of ‘I need you at my side constantly’ is gone. Then we stop and look around and see that there is something missing, something real and strong and vibrant that is battering at our souls for freedom. It`s at this point that we begin to search for what that something is. For me it was writing.

When I stumbled upon the knowledge that I could put my thoughts onto paper what a rush it was! Here was something that I could do that made me more than the mom and the wife. Here was where my imagination could soar and I could weave stories and entertain …..Well hopefully entertain, y`all are the judges of that one I guess!

Was this learning process easy? In one word no. I had to stop being concerned about what friends and family thought about this new love of mine. I had to stand up and fight for the right to skip the damn dusting once in awhile or maybe a lot in awhile but my point is that there have been times that people have given me that look when I say ‘I`m a writer.’ You know the look. It`s the same one they would give you if you said ‘I`m from Venus!’ only they don`t call the guys in the white suits immediately.

I have learned, and it has not always been an easy go my friends, but I have learned. I have to think that this progression of mine is a beneficial one not only for my daughter but for my husband as well. For my daughter to see her mother embrace higher education can only be good. And for Mister to learn along with me that a marriage isn`t about being side-by-side constantly but sharing the side-by-side time with a truly happy mate can only be good! *Waggles brows*

To wrap up this lengthy ramble I`ll just say this and then I`ll go celebrate the fact that I made it this far.

Learn what makes you happy and then go do it, even if it takes you forty or fifty or sixty years. Run out and do what fills your heart with joy and don`t ever look back. Sing, dance, paint, skydive, run a marathon, make a candle or write a story. Even if that book never gets published or that painting never hangs on a wall other than your own, even if that gnome with the big nose only ever sees your weedy garden…….Whatever it is just do it!

Our lives and our happiness are not measured in commercial success; they are measured in the happiness we give to others and to ourselves.

Embrace the Gnome.


Michele Stefanides said...

There aren't enough words for me to agree with you more. I just want to join you and stand at the top of the Canyon and scream out DO IT ALREADY! WHATEVER IT IS, DO IT! Life is way too short not to. Write your heart out. Get your first tattoo when you're 54 (some people question the "wisdom" of that, but I say screw 'em.) Go to Finland for a freakin' hockey game for heaven's sake. And by all means, go to see Lynryd Skynryd and rock that night away! Happy, happy day Feral!

Nancy said...

I'm totally with you. I've tried just about everything I've ever wanted to try -- a supportive husband has been my cheerleader throughout most of my crazy ideas.

Happy Birthday -- and what's next for you? :)

Mr. Pip said...

Pip's mom here. THANK YOU so much for this post. I read every word and it brought me to tears. My birthday is later this week and I have been a little down about getting older, never having enough time to do what I want to do or even figure out what I want to do - spending too much time cleaning, taking care of everything, etc. I really needed to hear this message and I thank you for sharing it.

I hope you have a magical birthday! Enjoy.

Kristin (Pip's mom)

Texan said...

Yep, nodding head, uh huh, yes, agreed!

and Happy Birthday to you. Sorry can't box up the gift you wanted and send it but maybe someone else can, tee hee...

Feral Female said...

You know this seems to really be a tough lesson for we ladies to learn for some reason. Kristin I have been where you are, as have many other women. I`m glad to hear my words have touched you and others, it warms my heart. If I can pass on one thing to my fellow females it is to find that special thing and do not let others talk you out of your search! When you do find what makes you feel glorious then do it, let the other stuff slide.

Someone else can pick up the house and feed the dogs, even if they think they can`t. A happy wife and mother will bring your family a wealth they cannot imagine! So go find that thing ladies and revel in it!

Sandy said...

Happy Birthday, Feral!

texwisgirl said...

Wonderful advice. I'm trying to let my heart sing a little more and worry about finding a new job a little less these days...

houndstooth said...

Happy Birthday, Feral One! You've spoken very true words here! I agree with all of it, and I've loved your stories along the way!

Speaking of stories, how about that threesome? OMG! I had a few heart palpitations reading that one. I wondered what you thought of the latest BDB.

small farm girl said...

Feral, I'm working towards doing what I want to do. At the age of 38, I have found my passion. GOATS! I want to spend the whole day with them. Now, I have bills that I made while I was younger and dumber, so I have to pay them off. Or, just figure out how to make money with goats. hehhhe. Have a wonderful birthday Ole Wise One. LOL!

Nancy the Elfgal said...

Awesome Feral! I totally agree. I passed 50 five years ago and I am getting wiser by the minute! ;)

phylliso said...

Happy birthday to you,happy birthday to you....thank-you for your wise words,I am 56 & still needed to hear that my 1 last breath I took wouldn`t be,I wish my house would`ve been cleaner,I always say that anymore when people do stop in,having a spotless house has never been what I`ve been about,hope you & your family have a special day,phyllis

d'Artagnan said...

Happy birthday!

Feral Female said...

My thanks all, your wonderful wishes made my 50th even that much brighter!