That’s Not The Way It’s Supposed To Be

I’ve been thinking that thought a lot lately. Lots of things in my life have made it a multi-times a day appearance. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be…

Today I had breakfast with my friend Sue and we were talking about our arthritis pains. When I got in the turbo minivan to leave, I thought, “I’m too young to have this much arthritis. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

It hit me–literally an eye-popping moment–that maybe this is exactly as it’s supposed to be. One of the things I really liked about Buddhism when I looked into it a few years ago was the idea that things just are. Identifying them as “good” or “bad” comes from our egos and are meaningless in the grand scheme of the Universe*.

A small piece of me is a control freak. I want to be able to guide things along the way I want them to go. Buying a house was one of the most stressful things for me because I controlled none of it. I was at the mercy of the realtor, mortgage broker, insurance agents, attorneys, etc. As much as I tried to keep everyone on the path I needed them to be on, it never worked as smoothly as I thought it should. In the end, everything turned out as I wanted, but at what cost? Lots of lost energy trying to control the uncontrollable.

I actually thought I had truly gotten past that phase of my life. My mantra is “it is what it is.” Doesn’t that sound so advanced? So zen? But while I was thinking it repeatedly, there were still areas of my life I was trying to control.

I think the last six months have been the Universe’s way of teaching me a valuable lesson. The only thing I can control is my reaction to things.

Every one of my children has made poor life choices recently. I don’t love them any less. I adore them completely. I don’t hold the poor choices against them. What I do feel is a deep, overwhelming sadness that they have let Opportunities out of their grasps. They had things that would have made their lives easier–in my thoughts any way. (As I typed that last sentence, it occurs to me that there was no guarantee that their lives would have been easier. Another wrong thought on my end!)

Yes, their choices are not ones I would have chosen for them. But they are what they are. The wise thing to do is accept that and move on.

However, as a parent, I will continue to wish for the smooth path for my children. I want them to lead blessed, charmed lives free of angst and regret. I wish they could learn from my mistakes (some that are similar to choices they have made). Unfortunately, as the parent, I am not really a valued resource for my children. Just as my parents weren’t for me–because I didn’t let them.

I’ll accept this message from the Universe. I will try my best to accept that it is what it is. As is my nature, I will forget that simple message over and over again, having to relearn it each time.

As for my arthritis? It still pisses me off.

*To me, the “Universe” is like a giant corporation with God as the CEO. I don’t think he has time to worry about me and my petty problems on a day-to-day basis. Instead, he has assigned me an agent–like my State Farm guy.

4 thoughts on “That’s Not The Way It’s Supposed To Be

  1. This is a great post…and one to which I can totally relate. I’ve been struggling with my growing impediments for a year or so and often thought ‘That’s not the way it’s supposed to be’ but just kept on trucking because I put it down to getting older. Finally took myself to the doc last week…he thinks I have Celiac disease; I’m awaiting the results. Perhaps I was right this time…that’s not the way it’s supposed to be! Have a great Easter.

    • Good luck with the celiac testing. I hope you find what is hurting you! At 40 I fell apart. It’s a big joke here. Celiac isn’t easy, but can be dealt with. I have a brother with it.

  2. I could relate totally to this post. I just wanted to say that you are a valued resource to your kids. Just showing them what unconditional love is and being there for them. I raised my step kids for 8 years. From ages 1 and 5. Due to divorce they are no longer in my life. But, I will always treasure those 8 years. They were not easy. The oldest had oppositional defiant disorder and probably aspergers. If I said black, he said white. He would steal or commit other offenses right in front of me and then deny doing it. He was manipulative and selfish. He was sometimes a danger physically to his younger brother. He was often a danger to himself because of his lack of filter making decisions. I spent too many hours to count going over his math homework which he would admit at 9 or 10 pm he had not done. He got d’s in fifth grade because it was cooler than getting a’s. Sixth grade he managed to piss the whole grade off that nobody would partner him in projects. He would not go to the local basketball camp because it was too white (he is half Irish and half costa rican but wanted to be black) and ultimately he thru his lies and accusations broke up my marriage. His brother was opposite, a pleaser and popular, easy to be with.
    The oldest would accuse me of hating him and loving his brother. He failed to see that when I was calling him out on something he was doing wrong, it was because Ioved him and worried about him. When I would not give him money it was because he needed to learn that somebody had to work to get that money.
    Six years on. I have been told that the youngest is still a respectful nice kid despite being a teen. Also, the oldest just started at umass Amherst studying chemical engineering. I guess he did need math after all lol. The oldest may never look back at me fondly, but, that was not the point. Nobody in his life wanted to do the dirty job of being the bad guy. I did it because I loved him. I still love and worry about him. I still love and hope for the future of the little one.
    It is the little things you do for them that may seem small now, but one day will make a difference. You just have to hope and pray that they do not do anything that will permanently ruin their lives before they grow up enough to finally get what you have been saying. Good luck

    • Thank you so much for this! I needed it. I wish someone would really tell you how hard parenting will be. It’s not a job to take on lightly! Yeah, I’m sensing a blog post coming on! lol

      I’m so happy the two boys had someone like you in their lives. When you wrote that the oldest is going to school for chemical engineering, I got chills!

      I absolutely agree that the most important is not permanently damaging their young lives. I pray for all young people to be safe and healthy!

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