by Elizabeth Solazzo
Ms. Solazzo discovers how sometimes the sun shines unevenly and she resolves to do something about it. A wonderful piece about priorities.
I have noticed recently that I have more sun freckles (or age spots, as some unkind people would call them) on my right hand and arm than I do on my left. And that made me think that I havenít been the driver in my life as much as I should have, maybe. Because if you are driving a car you would have freckles on your left arm, the one hanging out of the driverís side car window. But if you are the passenger you might have had your right arm hanging out of the car instead.
Being a southern woman of a certain age means I have been willing to let others guide my star more than I should, perhaps. I married and had children without a lot of thought. What was there to think about, I wondered at the time. I couldnít imagine a different life. And even now, I have no regrets really. But I sometimes dream of a life spent in the pursuit of selfish dreams.
I dream of life in a big city, writing in a small cramped space by myself. I dream of no phone calls to interrupt my train of thought, no children and husband with needs to be met. No dinners to prepare or dishes to wash. I would eat take-out and only clean on occasion. I would be a hermit, reading and writing at will. Others needs would not be considered.
But that hasnít been my life at all. I have raised two wonderful daughters and worked to make a marriage succeed in order to have the stability my children and I needed. Many compromises were made along the way. Although I often had time for myself, the major consideration was always given to others. What did someone else want or need to make them happy? There were homes to keep clean and meals to make. I struggled to manage a home on a budget and worked many times with very little to stretch.
It has been a good life. I am very proud of my girls, who have turned out so well. They are kind, caring and generous sisters who are now searching for their own place in this world. My husband still loves me after so many years and I feel I am one of the lucky ones. But have I sold my soul for what I have, I also sometimes wonder? We all must make choices in life but how does one know if they have chosen correctly?
I still see that other road I could have taken and wonder. Which was I really meant to do? We only get one life, I guess. But it sometimes seems it just isnít enough. It is hard to balance all we want within one lifetime. We just have to try.
So now, as I become older and consider my sun freckles, I have decided to take back what is left of my life for my own. The time is short and now is the right time. Maybe I have fulfilled my mothering duties enough to allow me to move on to other things. Maybe it is time I take over the steerage of my life for a while. There are things I want to do with my life still and perhaps it wonĎt be too late. There may still be time. But I must hurry. I feel a sense of urgency suddenly.
I have resolved to become more selfish. I wonít clean as much or cook as often. My family is still important and I want to spend time with them so other things will have to be forsaken instead. The house wonít shine - at least not be my hand. Family dinners will be in restaurants more often than not. I will spend my free time here in my own little space, writing. And maybe I will drive my own car more, hanging my arm out with joy to get those much needed sun freckles more evenly spaced.