I am 47 and unaccomplished
I didn’t necessarily look forward to this birthday, but I didn’t exactly run away from it either. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I know I would not want to be 16 again. I had my first real boyfriend, who proclaimed his love for me on our first date and would have been pleased to marry me when I turned eighteen. The idea was totally foreign and the relationship ended quickly. For the rest of my high school career, I had no pressing desire for a steady boyfriend, but to be free of any domestic entanglement. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I know I would not like to be 22 again. I had just graduated from college, with a faint desire to become a television reporter, because it was what everyone suggested. I could write. I was pretty. I could speak well and I was photogenic. I returned home to find I had a niece by my younger brother and his 16 year old girlfriend. The idea was totally foreign to me and I had no desire to be a mother. I had been a part time mother to my brothers and sister while I was growing up because both my parents worked. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I know I would not like to be 29 again. I was married and had a child. I had a husband and a daughter whom I absolutely adored. But I also had a demon chasing me, which left me feeling unable to protect my own child, because I felt too duty bound to others. The work needed to rid myself of that demon took many months and travels to parts of the mind best left unexplored. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I know I would not like to be 35 again. Family DNA caught up with me and every physical ailment which plagued my family began to plague me, no matter how much I exercised and no matter my diet. I had no right to complain because I was not dying, just inconvenienced. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I would not like to be 40 again. I looked around at my life and at the lives of some of my friends. Financially, I was not where I wanted to be. Career-wise, I was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to make my living as a writer, and while I continued to work at it, no favor was forthcoming. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I would like to be 10 again. It was the first time I remember the pretend play between my sister and myself. It was the time I could remember the doors of imagination opening wide in my heart and mind and it was the time I could conceive of a future where fantasy could be the workplace of my soul. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I would like to be 12 again. It was the first time I learned creativity from my mother. Though of little means, I learned watching her how I could change my surroundings with paint, wallpaper and fabric. The four walls around me needn’t be a constant diet of beige and white. I learned that if I didn’t like where I was, I needed to make a change. I didn’t have to be uncomfortable. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I would like to be 26 again. It was the time I walked away from the career many would kill for. I decided I didn’t like television news as much as I thought I would. I didn’t like covering murder, suicide and sewerage disruptions in a small town. I didn’t like living away from the love of my life, whom I thought I would never have. I knew I wanted to be at home with the children I thought I would never want. I missed home. I wasn’t cosmopolitan and I no longer cared if I set New York on fire. I am 47 and unaccomplished.
I would be 47 again. I am still married to a man who is so sentimental and wishy washy in a house full of women, that he can not eat if one of them is unhappy. For my birthday, I received flowers, a gift card from Victoria’s Secret and dinner from one of my favorite restaurants. I asked for sledge hammer, but that was okay.
I am a mother of three little women, who are being raised in an age where the world is really their oyster. If they want to run for president, that’s good. If they want to run a multi national company, that’s good. If they want to be the best snack mom at a suburban elementary school, well, that’s damn fine, too. I like everyday of every age after their births when I remade the decision to stay at home with my children because it was what I wanted. It was something I could give to them, something my mother could not afford to give to me.
We’re at a point in our lives where a mother and daughter can be friends. We don’t talk about sex and that suits me just fine, too. I haven’t quite forgiven her for my name, but that may come in time.
And though I am still not where I want to be financially, and have made very little for my writing efforts, I am a writer. Aside from the unintentioned dream of a husband and children, it is the one thing I’ve always wanted. It’s the one thing I have accomplished.
I am 47.