Daily Archives: November 7, 2021

Longing

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The feeling of longing, I think, is something we grow out of as we get older.

It was certainly a big part of my childhood, all those desperate, sometimes contradictory yearnings:
  • can’t wait for new school clothes
  • can’t wait to start school
  • can’t wait for snow
  • can’t wait for Christmas
  • can’t wait for the new baby to be born
  • can’t wait for warm weather
  • can’t wait for summer vacation
  • can’t wait to go to Beaver Island
  • can’t wait to be whatever future age seemed most filled with promise at that time. I tended to long for the multiples of five, at least until I reached fifteen.

These things, that I knew were coming but seemed impossible to wait for, mingled with a few other longings that were not likely to happen. I wished that I were an only child, much loved and appreciated by my [much more stylish than in real life] parents, and that we lived in a house surrounded by a white picket fence. I longed to grow up to look like Annette Funicello. I prayed that “Little Joe” Cartwright was real, and would fall in love with me.

But, I grew older, and away from many of those childish desires. As a teen-ager, I still wished to look like Annette Funicello, or any number of other shapely, beautiful women. I couldn’t wait to grow up, and get on with real life. Though I still could hardly wait for Christmas, and summer vacation, most of my longings involved falling in love, getting married, and starting a family. Oh, and an ideal little home, filled with French Provincial furniture, and a yard surrounded by a white picket fence.

As a young adult, married with children, most of my longings were centered around home and family. I remember feeling desperately afraid that I wouldn’t measure up. That permeated every area of my life. I longed for change in my looks, personality and parenting ability. I longed for a better life personally and financially. I longed for a better house, though I had perhaps given up on the white picket fence. And there were times, though few and far between, when I felt perfectly satisfied, and that I had every single thing I ever wanted.

Later, while raising children on my own, I let go of the desperate ache for something more. Then, it was a blessing just to get by. It was so challenging just to manage to pay the bills, to put food on the table, to keep my daughters happy and healthy, that I didn’t wish for anything beyond that. I was satisfied. Through that experience, I learned to be happy with what I have.

Now, with age, longing is not really a part of my life. There’s no sense in wishing for the seasons to change. They will change in their own time, and the years pass quickly enough without me wishing them away. I look forward to holidays, or summer, or up-coming trips, but I’m happy in the moment, to wait. I am content with what I have. When I feel I’m lacking something important, I put it on a list, and work toward getting it. There is no feeling of desperation involved. There are people, gone now, that I miss, that I would love to see again, but no amount of wishing for it will bring that about.

I still have goals, and aspirations. There are things that I sometimes think might make my life richer…but even then, I’m skeptical. Mostly, I am happy to live my life devoid of longing. Because that is a life filled with contentment!