Dixie Peach: Caffeine and Rain

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Caffeine and Rain

Last night I broke my normally strict no-caffeine-after-supper rule and downed a bottle of Coke Zero as I ate popcorn and watched three episodes of Babylon 5 with B. Three o'clock AM - - and I'm speaking of after the clocks were turned back so it was really like four o'clock AM - found me lying in bed trying to fall alseep and listening to the rain beat on the windows.

When I'm having trouble transitioning from merely resting to actually falling asleep I try to think of pleasant things in an effor to soothe myself to sleep. I was thinking that I'm quite content with my current life - really happy in fact - and I tried to think back to when the last time was that I was this content with my life. To the time when I felt very comfortable with being me.

My mind drifted back over the years - my working life, my first marriage, college, high school, on and on and the last time I felt pretty well in my own skin was when I was in the fourth grade. I thought a little more about my life as a ten year old and decided that I wasn't quite right with my life then. That was the year I had those horrible teachers that made us scrub down the classroom every week and the year my math teacher pronounced that I was a complete idiot at math and would never learn it. I thought back further in my life, discarding years due to one reason or another until I reached the time I was in Kindergarten. That was it. That was a perfect year in my life. I loved being that age and loved going to school for the first time. I loved my classmates and my teacher and I felt smart and accomplished and like I fit in perfectly.

What about the thirty-nine years after that? Well, we'll just say thirty years because I've been in Germany for nine of that thirty-nine. I think back on it all and see time after time after time where I made bad choices, wrong turns, taken the paths that lead me to some place I didn't want to be. I wasn't miserable all this time - I have many wonderful memories from my life - but there were enough errors made along the way to make me slap my forehead and ask myself what in the hell I was thinking when I made this or that decision. Not studying properly, not learning self discipline, hanging around people who only wanted to use me for their own advantage, letting my lack of self esteem direct my decision making, not taking good enough care of myself, staying in crap jobs too long, not claiming my independence from the oppressive influence of my parents - especially my mother, not using money wisely and worst of all, marrying a person I should have never even started dating.

They say that a person should learn from mistakes but never regret making them because those paths we choose have lead us to be in the place we are now. Is that true? Am I happy now and content with my life because ten years ago I had a terrible job and twenty years ago I married the wrong person for me and twenty five years ago I was a lazy college student and thirty five year ago I hung around certain girls only to seem popular? I suppose we can make the argument that I learned from these mistakes and learning brought me to the place where I'm happy but I am skeptical. It wasn't until I was content and could look back over the times leading up until now that I could recognize the bad paths I was on. Maybe I did learn lessons but I feel like I kept screwing up until I walked away and completely started my life anew.

Maybe I'm looking back over my life and seeing all the rocks and pitfalls and wrong turns I made over the years and they stick out so clearly because I did end up in a place where I am once again comfortable and content, just like I was in Kindergarten. It's when you have it so good that you can recognize better when you had it so bad.


Blogger sari said...

I was thinking about this same sort of thing earlier today while I was ironing.

Ironing seems to be a reflective time, ha ha, maybe because I let the ironing pile up and it takes about 2 hours to iron.

I am amazed that I ended up so well DESPITE all my horrible choices, and believe me, there were years worth of bad choices.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Hilda said...

I do believe the choices we make and the events that happen over which we have no control lead us through our lives.

For example Dixie, if you hadn't married the wrong man, and had married a good man - even if he wasn't your soul mate, but with whom you were content enouhgh - you wouldn't have been open to Burkhardt, and you wouldn't be living the life you are living today.

We've all made bad choices and taken the wrong path - or had things happen we couldn't control - but I like to believe they all lead us to where we need to be.

5:20 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

I love the raw, thought-provoking honesty of your post! Thanks!


8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am very content right now. I think that having a great spouse helps. He balances me out and I focus on all the good things in my life right now. For me it seems that there are just as many ups and downs as there were at any other time, but I seem to be able to handle them better and feel rather good most of the time. I am not sure if that contentment is 100% due to companionship with my husband or if it is partially due to having grown up and learned that life is what it is, take the good with the bad, be happy with what I have? I guess if I were to think that I earned the life I had now by making right choices, that would also mean that I deserved all the crappy uncontent years?

I love this post, I think about things like this all the time.

11:56 PM  

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