I believe that every aspect of my life, every experience I have had and am yet to have, without exception, is the same as every other. I believe that life is simple, although sometimes, even often, not easy. I am the Common Denominator in my life, and I am strong.
There was a time, in fact for most of my time, when I tacitly believed otherwise. I thought little of myself, so I always did just as I was told. I felt relieved when a college was chosen for me, even though it did not suit me at all. When I went to law school right after college, I felt relieved to have a profession chosen for me, since I knew I could succeed doing it. I grew thinner and thinner throughout law school, punishing myself by studying constantly, eating little to nothing. That was normal to me, and deserved. I assumed that those who seemed content were born with a platinum soul – the best of the best. They were Other. Not Me. They had good luck, and I bad.
And then my children were born. One after the other after the other. And I began to imagine myself saying to them, far in the future, how I did the best I could with what I was given. I didn’t like how that felt. In fact, I hated it. And then, one day, soon after my third child was born, just the right person at just the right time told me just the right thing: It doesn’t have to be this way, for any of us. Life is sweet. That’s the secret – spread the word!
So now I have my wits about me. I trust myself, and I am at peace. My instincts guide me well, and they tell me that I have all the tools I need, that we all have all we need. We are dealt the hand we can handle. When my eldest child began coming home from kindergarten with stories of mean girls and queen bees that could have just as easily played out in my adult life, I saw the truth that had been there all along, waiting for me to catch up to it: Every new situation is just like every one that came before it and will come after it. I must learn to trust myself, and teach my children to trust themselves, to bring the same identity and disposition, the same spirit, to every circumstance of our lives.
So be it potty training my 3 little kids, writing this essay, choosing what company to keep at recess, negotiating a part time work schedule to be with my children, it’s all the same. Life is simple, just not easy. If you know it’s simple, then you’re in on the secret, and life can be sweet – even when it’s hard.
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