“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 Joel 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.
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. 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.
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.