by Conlee Ricketts
The quality of my life on any given day is really what I consider to be “good.” I have my basic survival needs met on a daily basis. I smile often. I love my child and my child loves me. Every once in a while though I will have a day that creeps in while I’m not looking and I feel sad. It will follow me around for a day and I let it. I don’t put a happy face on it and try to push it away; I let it teach me something.
Why am I sad today? Because I want things. Things that I may or may not ever have. Sometimes when it’s quiet I can feel myself physically aging, and I see a future minus some things that—for the moment—I “want.” If I were able to be content and not imagine my life in its previous forms over the past 50 years I don’t think I would be as sad. Is amnesia a gift?
The future I see for me today has me alone. I am neither frightened nor sad about that, but the word “alone” makes me ponder moments long ago when I wasn’t “alone.” Then I mourn the loss of the energy, fun, and love I felt thirty years ago. I want love to feel like it did when I was nineteen, a boyfriend who could pick me up his arms as if I weighed nothing, someone to look at me and smile, time together talking and laughing until I almost pee. So here I am –not dissatisfied with myself or my future—just wanting. Today I want a cowboy again, a gentleman, a lover and a friend. This will pass, but for today…I want. I want for this to happen, and I want for that to never have happened.
I shake my head in disgust at my last failed relationship, and I box up my trust and dignity so as to not suffer again the pain, hurt, and shame of not trusting my gut sooner, of not saying what should have been said earlier, for accepting anything less than the level of honesty I had offered.
I push those memories aside and I think of other things I’ve wanted and never got. That may seem pointless but I let myself do it anyway. It may also be a waste of time to be sad about things I never got, or lost, or left behind, or let go, but feeling sad for a day doesn’t waste my time, and it isn’t as pointless as I tell myself it is.
It’s the want that creates the sadness—not the person, place, or thing that may be attached to it. It’s the want that makes me feel regret. It’s the want that sets me up for disappointment. Wanting things to be different then they are or were. Wanting things I can’t have right now, or wanting things just beyond my reality or reach. The truth is that I’m sad because I’m wanting.
When I take the time to understand the “wants” it makes it easier to set them aside after a sad day. It’s just a want—not a reality. It will be okay. It’s a single day.
I still have time to find a cowboy. I still have time to laugh until I pee—and because it’s funny, not because I’m over 50. I still have time to find a room with a view and breathe fresh air.
Tomorrow I will wake up after having played with all my wants today, and I will be able to get back to the business of living my life as it is, not as I want it to be and the sadness will have gone away.