How Did I Get Here?

Have you ever woke up one morning and thought, “How in the world did I get here?” Here we are, in our 50s–well, I’m actually pushing 60 (3 years and counting), and is life everything you imagined and more?

For some of you, life may be great. Amazing (or close to amazing) husband, loving marriage, successful children, grandchildren, mortgage is paid off or about to be…wow! Life is grand. Sure, you’ve had your ups and downs, but for the most part, you’ve been “blessed”. Which, by the way, I detest the phrase, “I’m so blessed.” Really? And the rest of us haven’t been?

Then for some of us (and I include myself in this category), life did not turn out how we fantasized it would be back when we were in our youth. I always thought I’d find Mr. Right, be happily married and ready for retirement, traveling the country, and maybe even the world, with my husband. My children would be grown, successful, and I would have in-laws that I adored and grandchildren galore.

So, I have one of the things I listed above–successful children. Or, at least one is. (“I’ve been blessed.”–UGH!) My other child is just ready to begin college, but has high aspirations and the potential to be a successful musician one day. (Yes, musicians can be successful, but that’s a discussion for another time.) Everything else–notta. I suppose I can also say I’ve been reasonably healthy, which I am very thankful for, so I don’t want to sound like my whole life has been a crap hole.

So, how did I get here? This is where I go into the psychoanalysis of me and why I made the not-so-good choices in my life. For whatever reason, I, like many women, suffer from extremely low self esteem. Why? I’m not sure (subject for another blog). As far as I can tell, my parents adored me. My parents were farmers, and they didn’t have much time to spend with me. To add to the lack of attention that I felt, my parents were quite old when I was born. My mother was 45, and my father was 51–pretty unheard of in the 1950s. Having much older siblings, I grew up as an only child.

I was fairly shy among strangers, although very outgoing among friends–often the life of the party. But, among the opposite sex, I had very low self esteem, believing that I wasn’t attractive. Part of this could have been the fact that every one of my high school friends had a boyfriend and was married within two years after high school graduation. Or, maybe I really wasn’t attractive….(see, I still believe it was me). I was the only one who went on to a 4-year university and obtained my Bachelors’ degree. Truthfully, I would have been happier to stay in my small town, marry a farmer and raise children.

So, at the ripe old age of 21, I thought I was an old maid. I was getting ready to graduate from college and no boyfriend or any prospects of marriage. Good lord, what would I do when I graduated? So, one night, I met a gentleman (well, not really a gentleman), who was interested enough in me to call me after a night of 25-cent beers, and continued to call me, until finally he whisked me off to a jewelry store three months later to pick out a ring. Wow! He must love me, I thought, and I had little to no regard as to how I felt or even who he was, but I can tell you, I wasn’t feeling love, and I didn’t know anything about him.

So why would I marry him, you ask? Please tell me that there aren’t others out there who didn’t do the same thing? You’re well-educated, smart, successful, but maybe no common sense, rose-colored glasses? Maybe didn’t believe you could do better? Yes, that was me. For better or for worse, I married a man that I didn’t love, a man who was addicted to alcohol, drugs and gambling. A man who had been married 3 times before me (yup…you read right…I was wife #4). For 13 years I stayed in this relationship, because for better or for worse, it’s what I chose, I believed it was all the better I could do and so I needed to live with it.

And later this week, the rest of the story….