survivingmiddleage

the ups and downs of life

This Birthday

In a couple of hours it will be my birthday. At this age birthdays usually don’t mean much. Well, they do to me. This birthday is especially significant. I share a birthday with my mother. She has been gone for 24 years. This birthday I will be the same age as she was when she died.

This birthday makes me think. It is a mix of emotions. I am happy to make it to 49. I am sad Mama isn’t with me. I am scared. I know that our days are numbered and we don’t know when our number will come, but I really want to live longer than she did.

I don’t want to live in fear. I want to live my dreams. I want to be happy. I want so many things. I shouldn’t tell you my birthday wishes, but these are my wishes. Maybe it’s not so bad since I’m not blowing out candles? I don’t know.

All I do know is that I am about to be 49 and it’s not scary because I’m getting older. It’s scary because I might not get any older.

My Christmas Miracle

I have been very stressed recently. I have been facing a medical issue with my cat. She is 11.5 years old and I found a tumor recently. We did a needle aspiration but it was inconclusive. The next step was to remove it surgically. The cost on that was between $700-$900. I’m single and struggle to make ends meet.

I had some people say, “It’s just a cat.” Well, she is more than a cat. She’s my baby. I don’t have children and she is my baby girl. She is my sympathetic cat. If I cry, she consoles me. If I’m sick, she tries to help me. She’s not just a cat.

Since this is all happening at Christmas time I put a post on Facebook and told my friends what was going on. I told them that I didn’t want Christmas presents this year and that if they’d considered giving me anything that I would prefer they donate to her medical fund at the animal hospital. I listed the number and they could call and make a payment.

My baby’s surgery was yesterday and it was a messed up day from the get-go. I finally got her picked up at 5 and I went to the counter to pay and they told me my total. I told them that couldn’t be right. It was quite a bit lower than I anticipated. The lady smiled and said, “You had another donation today. I didn’t get the name but that total is correct.” I burst out crying. The office staff teared up. We were all emotional and they told me, “Girl, you are loved! We’ve never seen people help like that.” I paused and said, “I guess I am loved.”

So I got my Christmas miracle in the form of financial help. But another miracle happened. I felt loved. I have struggled throughout life to feel loved. To just feel loved for myself. And yesterday, I felt that. Some of the people who donated don’t even know me in real life. We just know each other through Facebook. But we’ve formed a friendship that is absolutely real. And I felt loved and supported and cared about. And I felt like my babies were loved and supported and cared about. And for someone who has always wondered, “Does anyone love me?” this means the world. I’m not unlovable.

My girl is doing great. She is worrying me to death because she won’t settle down. But she isn’t in pain tonight. Last night was bad with pain. But tonight is good. My other girl is being a brat, but we have meds for that. They’re not working yet, but hopefully soon. We’re all tired of her hissing.

Merry Christmas!

There Are Times

There are times when I wonder about the complexities of life. I wonder why some people have it so easy while others struggle so much. I wonder if I will ever feel truly loved. I wonder if there will ever be a time when I feel like I am “home”.

I try to quiet my mind when it gets restless. I busy myself. Sometimes to the point of exhaustion. When I am too exhausted to do anything but sleep, I can finally rest. If I am only tired, my body can rest but my mind will not. It does as it pleases. It will replay events and scenarios over and over and wonder what I could have done or should have done differently.

I have to remind myself that we can only live in the moment and hope for a better future. We can only do our best. I cannot undo my past. I can only learn from it. I have made mistakes and will continue to do so. I am only human. I have to keep reminding myself that I am trying each day to be a better person

There are times I believe all of this. There are times I don’t. There are times when I feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof. There are times when I feel like crying for no reason. There are times I lose hope momentarily. Thankfully I have friends who raise me up during those times. Because there are times when I need them because I don’t know what to do.

There are times I just want a hand to hold because I need to feel like all is right in the world. Maybe one day.

Limited Time

I was talking with an old friend about people we knew growing up. We laughed and reminisced about old times. We got to thinking about so many friends. Of course this led to a Facebook search of some.

I had one person on my mind in particular. He was someone I had a crush on when I was in the 3rd grade. He was the sweetest boy who had a smile that would light up a room. He had eyes that would twinkle with mischief. He was just a really nice guy. I had wondered about him over the years, but never looked him up.

I kept combing through Facebook and couldn ‘t find him. I found his sister, though. I sent her a friend request and she accepted. I sent her a message and asked her about him. Her message back broke my heart. He passed away seven years ago.

I felt so bad for opening up a wound for her. I felt so bad for not telling Billy how much he meant to me through school. I felt horrible for not telling him I loved his laugh and how he always made me smile. I loved seeing all the mischief he got into. He made school fun. I loved when he called me over the summer of 3rd grade. I felt special. I wanted to tell him he was a big part of my childhood whether he knew it or not.

My heart hurt because of the early loss of someone who was so sweet and kind and funny. He was a good person. I didn’t know him in adulthood, but I am sure he was just as good.

I saw some pictures on her page and instantly knew the smile. It was the same smile as when he was a kid. It lit up the whole picture.

As I thought about what a special person he was, I thought how even though I was crying I was also smiling. Isn’t that a great thing? To think of someone with sadness that they’re gone, but with a smile because you knew them…I hope that when I leave this earth that some people will think of me that way.

I know Billy will never know that I miss not getting the chance to tell him how wonderful I thought he was. Make sure you tell people when you can how you feel. Tell them you care. Tell them you value them. You may never get the chance again.

Authenticity

How many of us are truly ourselves? Are we authentic with the people we interact with? Do we put on a fa├žade with people we speak with? Do we paint the smile on our faces…the one that never quite reaches our eyes?

Why is it that we feel the need to be so fake? Why can’t we be authentic? Why?! I just want to be Amy. When someone asks me how I am, I want to say, “Well, today hasn’t been the best.” And I want them to actually care. Or I want to say, “Today has been fabulous!” And I want them to ask, “Why?!”

Instead, when someone asks how we are, we typically put on our Barbie-smile and say, “Fine, thanks! And you?” And we expect the same pat answer in response so that we can move on with our day as if nothing happened. We can tell our friends and family that we saw So-and-So earlier and that they’re doing fine. But are they? Really?

Why not look at that person when you ask, “How are you?” and see what is happening in their face when you ask? Do their eyes look sad? Do they seem uncomfortable? When they tell you they’re fine, don’t let them off the hook so easily. Ask them, “Are you sure?” But only do this if there is genuine concern. If you don’t really care and only want to gossip, just say, “Good!” and keep it moving. But if by some miracle you do care, let them know!

We need more authentic people in this world. We need more empathetic and caring people! We need people to stop hiding their feelings and troubles. People need to be able to let things out and be heard. They need to release their hearts, feelings, anxieties and fears. If they keep it all inside, they become a ticking time bomb. Help them by just listening. You may be the person who needs that ear one day.

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