life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

feeling down today

My birthday is in 2 weeks. Even more so than New Year's Eve or Rosh HaShanah, my birthday makes me feel very introspective about my life. Maybe it's because I see an actual number -- this year I'll be 49 -- and it puts my life into perspective. I was on the train this morning and directed my iPod to play Barry Manilow's "Greatest Hits of the 70's" -- that's when I was in my teens, going through junior high and high school and starting college. When I think about the girl I was then, her hopes and dreams, and I look at my life...well, this is not what I was expecting.

there's lots of good in my life, for which I am grateful. my daughter Jen is becoming a lovely young woman, full of warmth and humor and a gift for getting along with people. After floundering in high school she has found direction and motivation in her life, and it thriving in college.

Becca is doing well in high school. she has always been self-motivated, and though she took a few blows to her self-confidence recently, she's bouncing back. she's a little dynamo, she makes an indelible impression.

my career...well, it's not what I imagined it would be, but I've discovered my niche. as a teenager reading Perry mason novels I thought I wanted to be a trial lawyer. but some time after law school I discovered that I didn't just want a career in the law, I also wanted a life. I've done the law firm routine, but now I work in-house for an insurance company now, I handle complex environmental claims. I'm not making a fortune, but I'm not killing myself with work either. people on their deathbed don't usually say "I wish I'd spent more time at the office," do they?

then there's my volunteer work. I'm on the board of trustees at my temple, I sit on several committees. my favorite committee is the social action committee. we do many collections -- food for the kosher food pantry, toiletries for the homeless shelter, new and used clothes for the outreach program. and I participate in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life, two events sponsored by the American Cancer Society -- as a survivor I feel it's important to give back.

my ex husband Drew-- now there's a topic I could write about all day. I am grateful that after all the hatred and bitterness, we've finally come to a place where we remember what we liked about each other.

friends -- I don't have a lot of friends, but the people I spend my time with -- both in real life and on the web -- make me happy. I am grateful for their kindness and support. I treasure our bonds.

now for the bad.

my family is very dysfunctional. I live with my parents and two of my three sisters. Jen was almost 4 and becca had just turned 2 when Drew and I got divorced, and I moved back into my parents' house "temporarily" while I got my life together. 14+ years later, I am still in my parents' house. Life got very comfortable and I didn't feel motivated to move, and things between me and Drew were crazy and my family was very supportive....still, I probably should have moved out 5 or 6 years ago, because the situation between me and my sisters...well, that's a post for another day; let's just say it's not a good thing, and leave it there for now.

money. yeah, there's an issue everyone can relate to. I make a decent living, but not nearly what some of my peers make...even with shared expenses in my current living situation, I feel like I'm struggling sometimes. and I don't think my daughters have a real appreciation of how hard I work to pay for the things they want. just wait until they hit the real world...

then there's romance -- or lack of it. being single in your 40's ...well, the men I meet...ugh...I would be so delighted if someone would play matchmaker and fix me up with a mensch....the last few guys I went out with were realy horror shows...

so today I was near tears in the subway, listening to old songs and wondering where my life was going....who knows, maybe tomorrow I won't feel so melancholy....

1 comment:

Christina said...

I also get very introspective around my birthday. I am quite sure I would even if it was in the middle of the year vs so close to new years.

Sounds to me like you've made the best of what life has handed to you, but I know when you are living in it, it is very hard to focus on the positives. OTOH, acknowledging what makes you feel unhappy is the first step to finding a way to change those situations.

Hugs and good luck.

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