This Is My Life

“I don’t need you to worry for me cos I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone “

So sang Billy J0el in his song My Life many years ago and I immediately connected with it.  I thought he had penned it for me.  When I first heard it I was coming out of the chrysalis that many women were in being stay at home Mothers raising their children.  And it just seemed to fit. And it still does.

I have been thinking back to how often over the years has somebody determined they knew better than me how I should live my life.

Often as with parents and then my late husband, this was always done with my best interests to the fore but there were those other ‘friends’ and acquaintances, and those figures in positions of power, who thought they knew better.

  • The friend who told me I was making a mistake getting married so young.  As an aside most of our group was getting married around the same time, she was the odd one out.
  • The cousin who said I shouldn’t move away leaving family and friends behind when we moved to Scotland shortly after we were married.  I never asked him if he changed his mind after my many moves to new places.
  • The school teacher who said I should continue with my science and language studies, but without telling me what I could do with the results of those studies and really giving no guidance at all.
  • The doctor who told me that after several miscarriages I should give up and adopt.  I wouldn’t have my lovely son had I listened to him.
  • The nurse who scolded me and said my daughter (and later my son) would grow up deprived if I fed her formula.  By the time my son was born two years later I stood my ground and fed him formula from day one.

And of course, over the years my late husband would advise me against doing something but hey It’s My Life and we eventually agreed that if I decided to do something that turned out wrong, the mistake was my own doing.  I can only now think of one really glaring mistake that falls into this category. And when I make a mistake you can bet your life it will be a biggy.

Mini

I decided to purchase a Mini Minor.  I had never owned one.  Each of the children had been given used Minis when they passed their driving tests, many of my friends either had one or had owned one earlier and so I wanted one.  But not for me the plain and simple Mini.  I purchased the top of the range GT version that was approximately twice the price of the regular model.

This was a very smart vehicle.  Bronze with gold highlighted stripes down the sides and alloy wheels.  I thought I had made exactly the right choice.

But it was what my husband called a ‘Friday car’.  The men on the assembly line wanted to get home and so they rushed the final cars through.  The car leaked through the floor, the windscreen wipers had problems working correctly because the surround to the windscreen hadn’t been cut off.  Each time the wipers moved to the top of the arc they bounced off this small piece of uncut surround.  Suffice it to say that when I took the car in for its first check there were 37 defects noted by the mechanics.  They thought it was so very funny; my husband agreed; I did not.  I very quickly sold that car and I hope that the young man who bought it enjoyed it.

“I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don’t get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time “

We often talked of that debacle in the years that followed.

And now of course, this really is my life.  My decisions without having to confer with anybody else.  My mistakes and my triumphs.

“They will tell you you can’t sleep alone in a strange place
Then they’ll tell you can’t sleep with somebody else
Ah but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it’s O.K. you wake up with yourself “.

As we go through the various stages of our lives we note that some are better than others, but each has to be lived as it doesn’t come with a choice   So thanks to Billy Joel for penning and singing the song.  And I am enjoying my life as it now is.  The Busy Years are behind me and my time is my own.

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley, (1819 – 1875)  English priest university professor, historian and novelist.

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25 responses to “This Is My Life

  1. Sorry to hear that your “big” mistake was purchasing a Mini Minor. My husband and I both drive Mini Coopers and love them to death. A good friend bought a brand new one just after I purchased mine used. She had wanted one for a long time and was so excited. For some reason, she had problem after problem with her car and finally sold it this past summer. Mine of the other hand has not had even the smallest problem. Like you, purchasing the Mini was an independent decision but, unlike you, it was one of my BEST decisions!

    • Well none of my friends had problems with theirs and my children’s Minis were both used when we bought them. I guess I just lucked out. I have looked at the very smart Mini Coopers tht are around now, but don’t think I will chance my luck again. 🙂

  2. Love that song and I have it on my iPod!

    Great quote at the end of your post–I never thought of it that way but so true.

  3. The formula guilt trip is alive and well these days. I went through it with my sons. With the first, I tried breast feeding, but couldn’t take the stress after about a week. I didn’t even try with the second and was much happier.

    I’m sorry the car decision didn’t work out better. But you’re right – it’s your life to live and learn 🙂

    • I encountered such a wall of ‘well meaning’ professionals about breast feeding. I really hated it both the interference and the breast feeding itself. Like you I tried it with my daughter for about a week and didn’t even start with my son. They have both grown to be healthy individuals so I don’t think I damaged them for life.
      And the car – well we have laughed about it such a lot over the years – my Friday Car!

  4. A Friday car – in USA we call them lemons.

  5. jacquelincangro

    This post came at a great time for me, Judith. I’ve been lamenting several “mistakes” I made and sort of beating myself up over them. But the best thing to do is just learn from them and move on. There will always be mistakes to be made!

    • And some of the so called mistakes take us to places and introduce us to people and things we might never have known. Please don’t beat yourself up any more.

  6. That song resonates with me too:
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/but-i-might-die-tonight/

    Once we cast off the invisible constraints of fear and guilt, we reclaim our freedom to dive into our dreams and pursue our purpose with passion!

    • Thanks Nancy – and I read that post. It’s great when we suddenly ‘get it’ that it is our life and only we can decide how to live it.

  7. I’m going through this right now. And it’s a push me/pull you issue with my husband. Several years ago I had to stomp and hold my breath to get my husband to let me have the used Chrysler Sebring convertible that I wanted (and needed-the car I had at that moment was on its way out). I still have this car and out of the many cars we presently own, it’s the only one that hasn’t given us any problems.

    Oh, I love nrhatch’s last remark! SO true!

    • I am glad that you stuck to your guns. It not proving eithe rof us right or wrong that matters, it’s giving the other person back the right to back their own decisions.

  8. A wonderful post. When I divorced many years ago, I made mistakes regarding purchases, decorating, investments, etc. I embraced every single one of them. They were all evidence that I was the guiding force of my own life. I still live that way, even though I am remarried.

    • Yes well after my husband died I made several foolish mistakes, some that I shudder at now, but it was all learning. I think some of those made me able to do what I do now and I am happy making my own decisions.

  9. I always liked the lyrics to that song. I’m glad you’re living your life the way you want, doing what you want to do. It seems like you’re doing a pretty good job of it.

  10. Love the song lyrics and the post. Yes, its our life and we need to own it. Beautiful words. Have a blessed day!

    • Thank you friend. When I am asked what kind of day I am having I always reply that I only ever have great days. that raises a few odd looks. Now I shall add a blessed day too.

  11. Well said… and all those twists and turns and hiccups and gallops add fuel and humor to our stories… A perfect life is one that was never fully lived. 🙂

  12. Thanks. Those people I know who work with the dying always say it is what a person hasn’t done in their life rather than what he/she has done that they regret. So no regrets. At the beginning of my blogging journey I wrote -Yesterday When I Was Young on the same subject as this blog. https://growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/

  13. No one can tell you what’s right for you except YOU. 🙂

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