Our Two Lives

In the 1952 novel “The Natural” by Bernard Malamud about a baseball prodigy whose career is sidetracked when he is shot by a sociopathic serial killer, later turned into a Robert Redford (drool) movie, one line rings true for all of us. It goes something like this: We get two lives, one we learn from and the other we get left with.

Many of us feel that in our midlife years we are living in the life we got left with. We married the wrong person(s). We divorced and are now alone. Our child rearing efforts left us with one kid in jail and the other not speaking. We married the right person but dropped out of college to put him through med school and now, as widows, are underemployed.

In that life we\’ve gotten left with, we have fears about being alone, being destitute, having no one to care for us in our old age. We start checking out shopping carts to find one in our size!

Most of us will not face the tragedy of being totally alone and homeless…however, for many of women, that potential outcome is only a few missed paychecks and a pile of bills away. But we might very well face the prospect of living out our final years with regrets and remorse instead of with joy in our hearts.

Do you feel that you were born with a great dream for your life? Have you noticed that that dream drifted away with the diapers, the divorce, and the overused debit cards?

Don\’t despair. Resurrect that dream in the second half of your life. We\’re calling this MID-life, aren\’t we? That means we have half our life left to resurrect our dreams. Yes…yes…my grown daughter reminds me that I\’ve only realistically got a third of it left! But that is still a lot of years.

We\’ve learned our lessons, paid our dues, toed the line. Now it\’s time to come alive, to thrive, and to strive toward fulfilling that special dream that is ours alone.

Ask yourself, who am I? You have been a daughter, a wife or partner, perhaps a mother and a grandmother, an employee, a helper, and a giver. But who are you as a HUMAN BEING, not as a HUMAN DOING?

A Homework Assignment for You

Your assignment is to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side (to get you started) write down all the things you\’ve DONE in life. That\’s easy. Put down the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then on the right side, start a list of WHO you ARE. I\’m loving. I\’m bright. I\’m not as dumb as my older sister. I\’m caring. I\’m a good listener. I\’ve got great fingernails. I just love my knees (because they still work!!). Keep it positive but realistic. Humor helps to gloss over the negative. And just keep going and going and going. I want the list of you as a HUMAN BEING to greatly surpass the list of you as a HUMAN DOING.

Besides boosting self-esteem, our HUMAN BEING list can serve as a great resource for us as we age, as we fall victim to chronic illnesses that sap our ability to DO, and as we search for meaning in the second half of our life.

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A REMINDER:

If you feel you have a psychiatric emergency, go directly to a family member, a friend, your physician, your pastor, or the nearest hospital emergency room and TELL THEM YOU NEED ARE IN CRISIS AND IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE HELP.

OR

Call 911 or one of these numbers:
• 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433
• 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255
• For a Suicide Hotline in your state: www.suicidehotlines.com

Suicide is a permanent and tragic solution to a temporary problem. GET HELP.