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Living the Dream

By Laura Drake

You know, after 57 years on this planet, I’ve developed some theories. I love scientific theory; making a hypothesis and testing it to see if it’s valid. Since this life didn’t come with a manual (at least I never got one,) I’m still figuring it out as I go along. Following are two theories I have that have not yet been struck down through the years.

  • Everyone gets a certain amount of bad in their life.  I’m not sure anyone gets any more than anyone else.  Do some people seem as though they do? Sure. But I think it comes down to how you deal with it. It’s like pain tolerance – I broke both bones in my lower leg last year, and didn’t go to the doctor for three days, because I thought it was just sprained. My boss gets a sniffle and runs to the doctor, sure he’s got pneumonia. My point isn’t that I’m tough and my boss isn’t – it’s that pain doesn’t affect me as much. Could that be why I have more physical ailments than him? Or because I’ve led a more active life, because I’m not as afraid? Or both? I’m not sure – not enough data to judge. But it sure is interesting.

I believe that everyone has their time in the sun. A shining time in the spotlight – our x years of true happiness. You’ve seen people have their moment; the cheerleaders and football stars in high school. Movie stars, lottery winners. Are their lives perfect? Not by any means. They don’t have to be famous, or rich. Everyone’s happiness is different.  But you can see that they’re living the dream by the look on their faces – they’re in the zone –and they’re deep down happy.

I think it can happen when you’re little (Shirley Temple) or when you’re old (Grandma Moses,) or anywhere in-between. My husband’s time was college. He loved every second of it. He gets this look on his face when he recounts the memories – a reflected glow of that shining time.

I’d observed this in others, but never really thought about it in my own life – until now.

Because I’ve come into my time.

I had to learn most things the hard way, by making mistakes. Well, if you keep breathing long enough, you break through all the mistakes and what’s left is what you were meant to do from the beginning. Can you imagine, finding out what you wanted to be when you grew up at the age of 50? I found I was meant to write. My first book isn’t due out until next year, and I’m not talking about how wonderful it is, or how successful I may be (or not) as an author.

I’m talking about how writing feels to me. It’s right – deep inside, and I don’t need anything outside me to validate it. I can even see it, on my face in recent photos…that glow.

So, it’s your turn. What do you think of my theories? Have you had your shining time yet? What does it for you?


13 Responses

  1. I’m so, so happy for you, Laura! I agree with your post completely.

  2. Pain tolerance…yeah. I know what you mean! I walked around on a broken ankle for a week because my husband convinced me I had a bad sprain. um, no. He’s not a doctor. why? LOL

    As Andy Warhol said, “everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes” I think some of our “celebrities” have outlived their 15 minutes, don’t you?

    Great thought provoking post, Laura!

  3. I’ve always believed everyone has the potential for what I call “The Golden Years”–with no reference to age. Mine were definitely years ago. But lately, I’ve started to get a glimmer of hope that it might be possible for another set. I plan to be ready! How wonderful that you’ve found your shining time!
    Fae Rowen

  4. You are so right Laura. I remember when I saw my first book on the shelf! With stardom though comes more responsibility too and I think it’s how we handle that deternines how others will see us in the future. You have nothing to worry about–you’ve stayed level-headed. 🙂

  5. This is an interesting post, and something I’ve thought on quite often. I have to say that I don’t feel as if I’ve had a lot of bad in my life. I was born into a loving, middle class family raised by two parents who thought I was pretty awesome. I had a normal childhood, was moderately pretty, smart and talented. I fell in love with my husband in 8th grade and never had my heart broken. When I tried out for cheerleader, I made it. In college I was VP of my sorority, on the homecoming court and graduated summa cum laude. Got married, always had a job, got pregnant first time I tried. My husband is a dentist, we live in a gate community with two healthy, academically talented kids. Oh, yeah, and I sold 16 books to my publisher in two and a half years. Hate me yet?

    Yeah, I’d hate me, too. My life is abnormally good, so I wonder what’s down the pipeline all the time. What will I lose? When will it all end and I end up broken on the side of the road. It’s a weird waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling. And it’s scary.

    I’ve had much time in the sun…I’m brown as a berry from it. And extremely grateful. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my creator for my family, friends, health and success. I don’t take it for granted one single day, but I live in fear that the rain will come. Because it does for everyone, right?

    (BTW, I wasn’t trying to brag. Just show how blessed my life has been. When I look back, it looks sort of braggish so sorry if it came out that way.)

    • Oh Liz, you didn’t sound like you were bragging! I’m so happy for you — I didn’t want to scare anyone off with Woo-woo stuff, but if you look loooong term (like several lifetimes) maybe it does all even out – don’t be afraid this means you’re going to lose anything! You know, that ‘old soul’ kind of thing. I am NOT an old soul.

      Frankly, I think my reward would be to come back as my cat! 😉

    • Liz, I often feel the same way! Though I can’t say we’ve achieved to the same level you have, I look around and think, “nothing bad has ever happened to me.”

      But of course it’s not true. There was my mother’s cancer, psychological illnesses, and the return of the cancer before she died, as a significant example. But most of the bad stuff has led to really good things (getting laid off four days after I found out I was pregnant led to a job where I could bring the baby to work every day). So the bad stuff hasn’t had the debilitating effects it could have.

      I laughed at Laura’s comment, because my theory is similar. I keep saying this is my “reward” life, that my past lives must have sucked and this one is making up for it. 🙂

      • Yeah, I keep my nose to the grindstone, thinking that it doesn’t matter that I’m tired, because my cat sleeps 22 hours a day….

      • Well, after I wrote it, it sounded kinda over-done, but, yeah, life’s been good to me so far (to quote The Eagles) and when I write it down like that I’m humbled by how blessed I am. Sure, I’ve had some things to overcome. Nothing was handed to me, but things always seem to work out and when I see them not working for others (who are really great people) I wonder what I did to deserve such great stuff. Maybe my bad stuff is coming. I know I’ve cried tears, and maybe some of them were for others because my role is to hurt through other’s misfortunes, sticking by them, being a loyal friend and shouldering their burdens when it’s too hard for them. Maybe not everybody has bad stuff happen to them, but shares in others’ pain?

        But no matter, I do like sunshine on my shoulders (Hey, another song!) Life is good 🙂

  6. fantastic post! Have I reached my shining moment? nah, I don’t think so. I’m not done living and I think as you age and things happen and change around you–your ‘moments’ change and become different. Those glorified shining moments of your past become a stepping stone.

  7. I agree with both of these things, but I think they cycle over and over again. I’ve had lots of bad and lots of good. There is a time for each.

    I do believe that there is a wave of energy in the Universe, a sort of current that will carry you through your life. When you swim upstream, fighting that positive energy, nothing will work. When you go with it and add your energy and zest to everything you do, EVERYTHING will work.

    I know that sounds pretty woo-woo for me, but it’s what I’ve observed. I am so delighted that you are getting your time, Laura. You’ve worked like a dog for it!

    • Woo-woo or not, you’re absolutely right, Jen. As Einstein said, The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expect a different result. It feels so good when you start going with the flow…

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