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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Couch-surfing Reflections....

I sit this morning outside my daughter's home. She lives here with her long term firefighter boyfriend who has impressed us all with his sudden success and hard work at becoming certified in his vocation.

I woke up early in spit of promising myself that I could sleep in. I have already contacted the head of my new program at my grad school, updated my files and gone over any information for grad school admissions work. I have a bit of college work to go over while I can this morning but I find that I am very reflective.

I went over my Facebook Profile photos since 2008. On Facebook, these are sort of your main picture to let your friends and family know they have the right person. I was pretty good at actually updating mine regularly.

As I clicked through the shots, I watched myself transform from the scared housewife to the up and coming grad student I seem to be now.

There are photos of me with mom and I, (probably for a past Mother's Day), Manny and I and Joel and I. There are hardly ever photos of my son and I. I did that on purpose even though we are usually together. I might be Ok with my own image and info on the internet but my son deserves his privacy, so even among my Facebook friends I try to avoid slapping his image on all of my posts. I do love our pictures though most of all since we both seem to shine with such glee in the same way.

We are happy in our coastal cities that we lived in after my foreclosure while I tentatively threw myself into a scholar. We were happy in Oregon during our brief 9 months there.

He and I enjoyed Manny in our lives, I can tell by the pictures, even though I have no desire to speak with this past boyfriend or even check on how he is doing.

My son and I loved being in Europe and returning home even though it was a bumpy ride. That boy never complained even though we were hungry during the last 3 weeks quite a bit. He had that spirit of adventure that one gets from watching Indiana Jones movies too much as a child.

All of it is reflected in our pictures.

I lost a few computers since then and that means that I have no way to get back hundreds of European photos we took or several year's worth of pictures that were stored on the computer, but not anywhere on a SkyDrive in the Ethernet....

But the Facebook photos have become a treasure trove of pictures gone by. I am not one for living in the past. Most of my adult life after my break up with my Ex-husband I have been very focused on the future, to be quite honest. But this morning I wanted to take a look back and look ahead as well.

I have loved everything I have had on my plate. Perhaps our small town Italian life was more interesting since we were hungry during the last part of it. Perhaps having the grouch of a boyfriend for 5 years, who steadily worked his way into a Blue Funk that would not abate, helped me to spring forward.

I do know what it is like to be happy. I was happy with Joel, but knew I wasn't staying around here much longer. I was happy with my Ex. I tried to go back to school when our lives were blissfully oriented towards our children and our community, but I could not climb past a cranky counselor who was disgusted that I brought toddlers along for my appointment to consider Columbia Community College nearby. She had no desire to make school possible for a woman who was interested in womanly things like homemaking. She never even gave me a chance to say I wanted to study languages.

I think being happy might not make me ambitious. I think it might even make me feel so joyful and complacent that I lack motivation to change a thing.

Under my normal circumstances those photos I just clicked through on my computer would not have included much outside of Disneyland treks and happy stay-at-home weekends, with home improvement projects and gardening shots.

I never stayed home out of fear of trying anything more. I have heard this sort of thought bantied about by those who are threatened by anyone who chooses to be a stay at home housewife and homeschooling mother. I think it is far richer and more satisfying than endless rounds of new school experiences and I know I chose wisely when I spent decades raising my children and others I hold dear. I never wasted a moment in that life.

I know how to can jelly and jam. I can pickle garlic, mushrooms and tons of vegetables. I can spin wool with my own spinning wheel and sew almost anything by sight alone. I can make foreign foods in the kitchen and cook over a fire.

But now I never have time.

Now I can also survey a culture, situation or experience with an analysis that includes all that I have been before, in my words. I could never write a report for a dignitary in the future about a new culture to be encountered without bringing into my words the rich knowledge that I gained from raising my own children and being a stay at home mom. I happen to like this new life a lot. I feel successful and joyful even as I limp along with my head being droopy from excessive effort.

I am grateful for my education but I think it has only enhanced the gifts of being who I was before.

I feel incredibly grateful for my foreclosure and divorce. I think this version of me will be useful to more then my immediate family. Maybe I can help be the change I want to see in the world since I know what it is like to be a wife and mother, poverty stricken and well to do. I think I can help change the political equation.

Yes, I am a couch-surfing homeless person. But I think that is proving to be just as important in shaping my future as student, wife or mother did.

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