Wednesday, March 01, 2006

If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride

That's what my mom always used to say. One of those quaint sayings that I supposed came out of her upbringing on a chicken farm. She also said, "You don't have the sense God gave little chickens." Now, remember, we were children raised as Buddhist in Morningside Heights, New York City. My mom was pretty exotic, among all the Blacks and Latinos, and so were her sayings.

When I was a kid, I never got the whole whishes and horses and beggars thing. I think I understand, now.

Wishes are all about what you don't have. They're all about what is lacking in your life, how it's just not good enough. You can wish and wish and wish all you want, but all wishing alone will bring you is dissatisfaction, which is far worse than nothing.

I'm working now on NOT wishing for things. Like wishing I could go out and drink and hang out and socialize like I used to or I had more time to just write and paint and reflect. Like wishing my apartment were cleaner or I was better at taking care of it. Like wishing Gabriel could be on a schedule so I could organize my life. Like wishing I had more money and could buy all the cool things out there. Like wishing I had taken action on my career earlier, so I had some publications under my belt before I had a baby.

None of those wishes are bad. They might all make my life better, easier, more enjoyable... oh, wait. That's the trap, right there. Thinking that means that my life is worse, harder and not fun. Any life has room for improvement, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.

What I'm working on is actually CHOOSING the life that I have. This is my life, I don't want to prefer some other life, I want to be satisfied with this one. I want to choose having this life, simply because I choose it. Not because it's better or worse or imperfect or fun or whatever, simply because it's mine, and I choose to live fully in MY LIFE.

Sometimes all those wishes about how my life could be, should be, would be better if only... well, it's as if I am waiting for my life to get going, some day, when it gets all straightened out and I get those wonderful wishes and I fix all that is wrong with it. But I'm living in the future, in the not having, in the should be's- and not the IS of my life.

I guess this means I have to accept myself and my life the way I am. Accept my sloppy apartment, and sloppy tendencies. Accept that I do not have money to spare on luxuries. Accept that Sean works long hours and I am responsible for the baby and the home. Accept that the past is gone, and the only time I have now is RIGHT NOW.

It doesn't mean that I don't work on improving all these things. It doesn't mean I don't do things for my future. But it does mean I let go of not being perfect, or being enough. Life just is. It's mine, and it's what I have to work with. It's also what I have to face up to.

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