The Incredible Enough-ness of Being (bumped)

(I wrote this the year I turned 50 in 2008 – it still seems timely – I have lost a beloved mother and three pets, but life is still Short and Sweet and Full of tickle grasses… so I am sharing it again.)
More than half my life is over. This year I turn fifty and I can no longer console myself with thoughts of “Oh, I still have over half my life to live…” I suppose this was true when I was 45, because even then it was very unlikely I had another half to go. Having a pacemaker, I might have been pushing it to wish for ninety, but now that 50 approaches I have to think realistically and face the reality 100 is a faint flicker, gradually sputtering toward being permanently extinguished.

So why am I happier now than I have ever been in my entire life? It isn’t that life has necessarily gotten any easier or less stressful. In many ways – I have more worries now of a more complex nature than at any other time in my life. Maybe it is simply the fact OF life that makes me feel content. I am here, now, and this is life. So, I make the best of it.

At one time in my life, I wanted to be an actress. Now that I am approaching fifty, I can relax and let that little fantasy fade to black, as they say. It is an absolute certainty I will never appear in a major motion picture or, my personal secret goal, a full blown Merchant Ivory costume, big screen feature film depiction of some obliquely pertinent English novel: something by Henry James or another long suffering closeted gay late 19th century, early 20th century writer. Knowing that ingénue roles will never again be a possibility for me is really quite liberating. And the fact that I wasn’t able to fulfill my completely irrational fantasy to portray tightly corseted ingénues rules me out of the completely left field fantasy to play free spirited, gray locks flowing down the middle of my back, blowing in the wind, spinster character roles as well. The bottom line is this: it’s over – I will not be an actress. So that’s that.

Somewhere in my late twenties I began to develop a passion for interior decorating. Not the kind you see in furniture showrooms; my own individual quirky kind. I determined I loved all white interiors. I crafted all white slip covers and painted everything I could get my hands on with Martha Stewart ironstone white paint (before Sears had the paint.) I was an interior decorating version of Emily Dickinson, only my house was my preferred medium. I suppose you could say I was fashioning my own private sanatorium!

I carefully studied my favorite magazines, Victoria, Country Home, Country Living even English Country Living! I once actually paid $89.00 for an entire year to receive Country Living, English Version. I gardened (gardening is a whole other blog post, so I will save THAT topic for later.) I was consumed with decoration and little lovely things. I CREATED little lovely things. By the time I was thirty five, I even sold some of my little lovely things. Victoria Magazine was my absolute favorite and my actress dreams became “Clever Me Featured in a Magazine Article” dreams. I hired a photographer (a student at the photography school) I had professional pictures made of my little lovely things, I designed a unique and gorgeous letter to Victoria, I sent it. They actually replied and said they were very interested and would get back to me in a year or two, since everything was planned that far out. And then, Victoria folded, the magazine shut down just as the two years was about to be up and my “Clever Me Featured in a Magazine Article”dream faded away as well. I sat on my white couch in my white living room and pondered Martha’s ironstone white walls and thought, well, that’s that.

I still have all my pretty slip covers and things, but I consider my house to be fully decorated and keeping up with the times doesn’t hold the appeal it once did for me. My house will gradually descend into outmoded. Soon, it will be like a typical grandmother’s house. Neat and tidy with things that people decorated with over twenty years ago. My twig wreaths will be the 21st century equivalent of crochetted tissue box holders. I have to face it. It is over. It was not my destiny to be featured as a clever doer of lovely little things in a magazine. And you know what? It is ok.

With the exception of acting, I still do many of the things I used to do. I make pretty little things. But I find that I can’t part with them. They made me happy while I created them and the memory they provide makes me happy when I pull them out and look at them. Maybe that is why I am happier now than I have ever been. Somewhere along the way, I discovered the joy of being satisfied. It has filled me up and it has made me whole.

Now, I look forward to what lies ahead for my daughter. Only, I try not to impose any expectations. I only want her to discover this same happiness I have found. I hope she finds it sooner than I did. I want her to know this joy of enoughness, the pleasant realization of this is it-ness, the contentment of here and now-ness.

I want to say Happy New Year to all who read this. May you be filled to the brim with self contentment and the life affirming spirit of liking yourself-ness…

7 thoughts on “The Incredible Enough-ness of Being (bumped)

  1. I’m beginning to realize one can be satisfied even in a world that is falling apart. Self-contained joy – the happiness that is powered from within.

    Beginning to realize.


  2. Hello

    I’ve got to your blog by a strange route, looking for links between Emily Dickinson and ‘the woman in white’ (as she was called), trying to find out whether there was any link with Wilkie Collins. Anyway, I think it’s a wonderful site – visually and content both, and I will look forward to reading and exploring more. Your piece on ‘The Incredible Enoughness of Being’ chimes really well with my current preoccupations and a piece I’m currently writing, so thanks for that. Very satisfying to read a piece on contentment, particularly at a moment when it is proving elusive! Thanks.

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