All of the reasons for living the life that I was living are all tied up together like a bag of tangled wool. I did what I thought I should do because of fear, because of fear of going against convention which all led to a distinct lack of imagination. Now I am not berating myself for that any more. I chose what I chose and I have had / am having such a good life overall. My intention here is not to look back and feel regret but to learn from what it all. I want to live a life in which I am true to what I want and which is helpful to others. I am trying to live less selfishly and more open to the needs of other people. I need to feel a certain amount of freedom to be able to do this.
What I do not want to do is to continue around the same wheel. I need to get off the wheel and start the spiral; in fact I have, I think, stepped a little off the wheel. I just have to live mindfully and make decisions carefully; I cannot afford to slip backwards!
I know that I have lived a lot of my life according to how I think I should live. Convention; what is right. I was brought up to think that the aim of life is to get a reasonable job, get married, have children and go on holiday once a year. That’s what my parents wanted for me. Now – they wanted that for me because that is the right way to live but also because they were so happy living that way. My Mum and Dad lived for each other and for their family and friends. Because that was the way in which they wanted to live, their life left them free to help others. They were always doing things for others. My Mum still does whatever she can although her ability to do this is restricted now. There must be a lot of elderly people in Hereford who are missing the hot meals and cakes which Mum used to make for them.
This post started off looking at convention and my need to conform. But, just now I have changed the title to “Realisation”. As I was writing about my Mum and Dad, I saw that they chose the life they led in many ways – it was the life they wanted! Ok, they were, as we all are, constrained by circumstances such as lack of money, illness … but they did live authentically. They were true to themselves. And part of that life was looking after family and friends.
I keep talking in the past tense. Over the last couple of years, life changed so much for them and now Mum is on her own. The life that she was living with Dad has gone. But my Mum still carries on living life as fully as she can. Her friendships continue; her faith continues; her determination not to wallow in sadness and grief continues. My Mum still cares for the people around her and does what she can to make their day better whether they are the Home Staff, fellow residents, family or friends. There are such a lot of lessons to be learnt from my Mum.