"You know, your life is pretty awesome."
Kimmie's words have been playing on a loop in my head all day today. She's right - but again, hearing it from someone else, someone on the outside looking in, it shocks me every time. And makes me smile.
And I wonder, "Why me? What have I done to deserve so much? Why do I get to be so fortunate/lucky/blessed?"
My next words were going to be "not that life's perfect, because it's not..." and then I was going to list all the ways my life isn't perfect. But I can't, because it really is; I have more than enough of everything - there's nothing I need to make life happier.
Seven years ago, I lived in Omaha, Nebraska. I was married to a pilot who flew in the Dakotas every day - in the 5 months we lived there, he was home for only 10 days. I didn't have a job - I spent my days in our 500 square foot basement apartment (that had only one window) with our 110 lbs. Labrador Retriever, our Jack Russel/Rat Terrier, and our cat. I drank a lot of Bud Light - 9 or 10 a day. I went to the library and read a lot. I started to make some friends on the internet. I swam in the apartment complex pool when no one else was out there - it was too small for laps if anyone else shared the space. I was lonely as fuck. (But they've got a really nice zoo in Omaha. You should check it out if you're ever in the neighborhood.)
Six years ago, I lived in El Paso, Texas. I was married to a pilot who flew in Arizona Monday night through Saturday morning - he was home from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning each week. I worked in a law office downtown - my work history was in Human Resources, but it turns out no one will give you an HR job in El Paso, TX if you don't speak Spanish - and I liked my job (my boss was a young and brilliant and beautiful man named Ken), but it didn't offer me an opportunity to make friends. (Well, my boss and I were friends, I guess, and he even let me go out to a club with him and another attorney one night.) My weeknights were spent drinking beer, making friends on the internet, and talking on the phone. I was desperately lonely, but I pretended so hard to be happy, thinking if I faked it long enough, I could maybe eventually WILL it into existence. I cried myself to sleep a lot, especially on nights when I got too drunk and tried to masturbate and couldn't get off. (Did I mention my husband didn't like sex and wouldn't have sex with me? Yeah, life was awesome.) I remember thinking "is this really all there is? Is this all I'll ever have? Oh, please don't let this be all of it.", and not just once or twice - those thoughts would haunt me as I stared through bleary eyes at the Sunday morning sunrises that turned the browns of the Franklin Mountains into a colorfully painted landscape, and as I watched the nighttime stars through my drunken haze and wished I could be somewhere, anywhere, where people loved me.
Five years ago, I lived in my childhood bedroom in my parents' home in Louisville, Kentucky. I was waiting for my soon-to-be-ex-husband to send Ken $300 to cover the filing fee for the Petition of Divorce that I'd drafted on my next-to-last day of work. I worked for a company that hired me to do AP and Payroll and had yet to assign me any actual finance work - they had me calling customers to introduce myself. I was miserable, and only got paid once a month, so by the middle of the month I was broke. I had a million new friends, though, and I was going out almost every night to party with them. I felt popular for the first time in my life. I felt pretty on a semi-regular basis. I went out on dates with men who weren't 6'6" tall pilots with blond hair, blue eyes and chiseled features. I found a "friend" - a monogamous friend with benefits who was helping relieve the tension that had built up during 4 years of sexless marriage. (One of these days, I'm going to tell you ALL about that - it was fucking brilliant.) I started thinking life was pretty awesome, and that things could only get better.
Four years ago, I lived in Kimmie's upstairs. I'd found Jimi, and our love was new and exciting in an old and comfortable sort of way - we were on the verge of signing a lease together. I worked for a company that sold "Rudy Giuliani for President 2008!" merchandise. (No shit. I had to talk to pregnant women who were going to name their babies Rudy.) (They fired me after 2 months.) It was my 3rd job since I'd moved back to Kentucky, and I was perpetually poor. There were weeks when I wouldn't have been able to afford to eat - but Kimmie and Jimi always seemed to know without asking when I needed some help. I had debt collectors all over my ass. Life was good most of the time, but there was a constant knot in my stomach - fear of unresolved obligations haunted me day and night.
Three years ago, I lived in the ghetto with my sweet Jimi. We were in love and happy. I'd been with my current company for ten months and had just received a promotion and an eleven thousand dollar pay raise. My half of the rent was $262.50. Life was getting better every day.
Two years ago, we still lived in the ghetto, but we were house-hunting. Still happy and in love, and with a new addition - Finnegan the Wonder Pup. Work was stressful and challenging and rewarding and fun. Life was fan-fucking-tastic.
One year ago, we'd been here, in this house, for six months. Happy and in love. Work was the same. Life was awesome as always.
Today, my friend said, "Your life is pretty awesome." And she's so fucking right. I live here, in this house, with him, that man I love and who loves me. I have a dog and a cat who usually don't shit on the floor and are pretty well-behaved most of the time. I have a stable, secure job that compensates me adequately. I have health insurance. My car is paid off. There is food in my pantry, my refrigerator, and my deep freezer. I have a deep freezer. I have a big-ass yard and a driveway that can park six cars. I have a basement. I can do laundry in my basement while I run naked on my treadmill listening to a webcast of a Broadway musical. My family is awesome and right down the road and they love me and I love them. I have friends - real friends who know me and love me despite my flaws; friends who may tease me, but do it in a way that's never intended to hurt or make me cry; friends who keep inviting me to things even though I haven't really left my house to be social more than a handful of times in the last year; friends who celebrate my accomplishments and help pick me up when I falter.
My life is pretty awesome.
I'm not sure what I've done to get here, but I'm so glad I've arrived.
My only desire now, my only wish, is that I can continue to rejoice and be glad in the small miracles and happy moments life brings every day.
And if you want to punch me in the face, I completely understand.