Thursday, May 26, 2011

Didn't We Almost Have it All ... by Liimu

Sometimes I buy into the falsehood that I can have it all. And sometimes I buy into the falsehood that I can't.

Let me explain myself. As I get older, I realize that whether or not I can have it all undoubtedly depends on what I perceive "it" to be. In my younger years, it was an insanely successful career as a movie star and headlining act at Madison Square Garden, along with a dutiful but alpha male husband with model-quality good looks and 6-pack abs, as well as equally dutiful children - 3 or 4 of them, at least one boy. I would also have clean and friendly relationships with all of my family of origin and an enviable relationship with God. Oh, and lots and lots and lots of money.

It was my birthday on Sunday. There have been many, many birthdays where I found myself incredibly disappointed because I didn't get what I wanted, even though I didn't even know what it was that I wanted. This year, I was pleasantly surprised to not receive very many tangible gifts at all. Instead, I was given the gift of a full-night's sleep by my husband, followed by a beautiful "Happy Birthday" serenade by the whole family. As I wiped the sleep out of the corners of my eyes and took in the scene - painfully handsome husband, three beautiful (and incredibly precocious) daughters and an unexpected miracle of a son - I felt myself choke up with pride and joy. Later, as I skated around the roller rink with my 7 and 5 year old at a birthday party and we laughed and laughed as they fell again and again and we sang our favorite pop songs as loud as we could, I felt it again. This is "it," I thought. This is joy. At the end of the party, someone actually recognized me as the girl who had sung with Patti Labelle. I had even slipped a little bit of fame in there a few years ago when I had my moment on the stage in front of 10 million viewers.

Years ago, sitting at dinner with my hugely successful (and incredibly unhappy at the time) brother, he was pressing me to reach for the stars, to push to be the greatest, the best, at whatever I chose to do. To crush the competition, to be NUMBER ONE! I turned to him and said, "If that's your dream, that's fine. But it's not mine. My dream is to be happy.

There "it" is - the all I had been hoping for. I am living the dream - the one I had given a voice to so long ago. And it may be true that I don't have the car and driver, the personal chef (and personal trainer), the millions of dollars in the bank, the paparazzi following my every move (yet). But I do have it all. I have all I ever wanted - and more. And as long as I keep that in perspective, I always will.

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