Looking for answers to life's questions

My sister came by this week for a short visit and was asking some very pointed questions. She was having a great deal of guilt because she thought she had cheated me out of a childhood. Even our mother admitted to friends that I raised the kids. My sister was sad that I could remember few joyful memories of my childhood. They were there; they just don’t stick like the hard times do. My joy came later when I had my children though it was balanced by the difficulty of my other relationships. I think that’s what life is, yin and yang, light and dark.

I assured my sister that my life has had many good moments and it continues to get better and better. I had the impression when I was very young that I came into the world to take care of people. It’s what my astrology and numerology chart say also. I’m the caregiver, nurturer, teacher, etc. I tell friends that I was born 108 years old. If our parents had been more capable, I probably would have found someone or something else to take care of, but as luck would have it, our parents had very little to work with or perhaps the plan all along was for me to be in charge of all of them. Yes, I raised mom too.

Grandpa holding my baby sister a  few months old.

Grandpa holding my baby
sister a few months old.

I read stories every day, of people with less than idyllic childhoods but most of the stories end up with these people growing into the most wonderfully capable, kind, caring people. Ours was not stable or nurtured but it certainly was interesting. Each of us turned out to be kind, caring, productive members of society.

When friends ask my sister why her life has been like a carnival ride, she tells them it was because a five year old raised her. We both know that’s only part of the truth. She came into the world with an agenda of her own. Part of that agenda was to challenge the world’s archaic thinking and she is doing a fine job of it. It’s a tougher job than any I’ve ever had. Her enthusiasm in life balances my stoic quietness. Thank goodness. Yin and yang once again.

Ready for the challenge

Ready for the challenge

She was all mine to love and discipline. Me at 9, she was 4

She was all mine to love and discipline. Me at 9, she was 4

I told my sister that we didn’t get the cottage home with a white picket fence and Mr. & Mrs. Cleaver weren’t our parents but we got something else. We had an adventurous life and an extraordinary bond. We were never afraid to say “I can do that”. There is still so much to learn and experience. We are still alive and the adventure is ongoing. There are questions to be asked and answered. Would I have traded any part of my life for a more carefree existence? I don’t think so. Our lives are different than most and continues to evolve in that direction. I am in a unique position to create the life I want to some degree. Other than this stupid illness (Bells Palsy), nothing is holding me back. Life is supposed to be fun but mostly, I want it to be interesting. Different, odd, unique, adventurous, even downright hard is better to me than ordinary. I volunteered for it and I wanted to make sure she had no guilt left when she left here.

Would you prefer simple and ordinary over hard and different?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of a Different Kind of Life" (28)

  1. I wonder if anyone really has a ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ childhood? I don’t know many who got through unscathed in one way or another. Our dad died when I was 9. We lived in poverty, while my mom worked a low wage job and raised me and my two sisters. Losing my dad was the hardest part of my young life, followed by difficult years with a mentally ill sister who took all of mom’s attention and very little money for even the basics. We lived in an affluent community, on the other side of the tracks with no car, no TV and no extra money.

    Here’s what we did have: perseverance, independence, self reliance, tenacity and the ability to overcome. I wouldn’t trade those life lessons for the world now, but wish I could have gotten here with losing daddy.

    Very nice, thought-provoking post, Marlene.

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    • Thank you so much Alys. Like you, I’ll take perseverance, independence, self reliance, tenacity and the ability to overcome. anytime over being a simpering, spoiled human. Losing a loved parent is difficult anytime. I’m sure your dad is very proud of who you turned out to be from his vantage point. It’s like memories. We learn best from the hard memories because they stick better. Thanks for reading.

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      • Thanks, Marlene. I wish he could have met my husband, my boys, seen my garden, pet the cats…so many things we missed together. Dad died August 2nd, so this week is always a bit tough. Further, he was 54 when he died, the age I’ll be in October. It really gives you pause.

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      • I sure understand that,Alys. My first husband died at 42. We celebrated my son’s 42 birthday with special notice. He was concerned about the hereditary congenital defect of the heart. My daughter was 17 when he died and I wasn’t sure either child would make it through the ordeal. Being younger makes it that much harder. I’ll send good thoughts for you on Friday. P.S. They can see your family from where they are, we just can’t see them.

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      • Oh, dear, Marlene, that is so young. My heart goes out to you and your family. 17 is on the cusp of adulthood, yet young and vulnerable. It had to be a trying time. I’m glad you all came through it.

        Does you son get regular checkups? We know so much more now than we once did and we have many more medical options, too.

        Thanks for holding your best wishes. I appreciate that.

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      • He does work hard to keep himself healthy. He is lucky to have my fathers side of the family’s genes so he will be just fine. Losing a parent at any age is hard. Thanks for your kind words.

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      • I’m relieved to here it. Your children sound wonderful. You must be so proud. I know what a struggle it was for mom after dad’s premature death. My hat is off to you.

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  2. JackieP said:

    I had a tough childhood also, but it made me who I am today in many ways. I had a bad marriage, but again I grew from it. Some people would take our childhoods and blame it for doing wrong. We are stronger than that. We make do with what we have and go forward. I’m glad you accepted your childhood and grew strong from it. I like your attitude.

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    • Thank you Jackie. I like your attitude as well. There are quite a few us who decide blame is not the way to go. It serves no one. Thanks for reading.

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  3. wonderful – thanks for sharing

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  4. My favorite line is “LIfe is supposed to be fun, but mostly I want it to be interesting…” such great perspective! Thanks…

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  5. How awesome is it to have a sister so close that really appreciated your contribution to her upbringing. I don’t have a sister and relationships with brothers are a bit different I think. I feel like a sister with Alys, our childhoods we not too similar yet we have many many things in common. I think my adult life has been very different from most of my girlfriends as I always worked, never had children, divorced and managed a country home on my own. I spent the first 40 years in a lot of Kaos and only now am able to enjoy ordinary and simple. It’s a welcomed change.

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    • (((Boomdee)))

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    • My sister and I are as close as we can be. We have very different lifesyles and very little in common other than a spiritual quest and our childhood. I cherish differences in people. They provide contrast. I don’t think everyone has to have children. There are plenty other ways to be in the world. I was meant to have 2, period. Managing a country home is a big deal. I want to have one all my own now. But chaos is something I’m done with too. Stress kills and debilitates. I still want interesting, just not stressful. I’m a quiet kind of girl who would rather read, write or make something pretty. Thanks for reading.

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  6. Marlene, I learned early on that it’s not a competition to see who had the harder life, we need to realize that it’s in how you handle it that matters. I love the picture of your sister ready to take on the world. 🙂 There were days I would have said I wish my childhood had been different, but I wouldn’t want a life without challenges or opportunities. I see now that my early life formed who I became and liking who I am I wouldn’t want to be any different.

    I hope you relieved your sister of her guilt, guilt is a painful weight to carry, and for her, she couldn’t have changed anything anyway.

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    • Thanks for reading. Guilt absolved since there should have been none in the first place. It was her perception of my life.It was good in many ways and built character. I’m grateful and your are correct, it’s not a competition. We are all just unique. Maturity brings perspective.

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  7. […] Not all of us had the picture perfect childhood, some of us lived quite different lives from what you might expect.  Marlene took her childhood in stride, it was just the way it was.  But her sister felt something quite different.  This is a wonderful post on how guilt can burden you well into your adult life. […]

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    • Thanks Lois. I know you had a tough time too. My sisters was many times harder than mine but I’ve found guilt to be most debilitating as is worry. Both are unproductive. Too bad it took us so long to learn that lesson. Appreciate your reading and comment. Guilt is something I remind her about often. We operated out of guilt for so many years that it’s a hard pattern for her to break. I’m so done with it. 🙂

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  8. A beautiful post and thanks for sharing 🙂 As one who had a less than idyllic childhood myself I know I have grown to have a resourcefulness and strengths that have helped me overcome much, though in truth….I would’ve rather have had a nicer start to life, to have known peace of mind from an early life would’ve been nice 🙂
    I am interested that you do astrology charts, I think one must find that very helpful in life, I have never been able to get my head around them lol.

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    • Thank you for reading. What I’ve noticed about those of us who haven’t had great starts is that we tend to be more empathetic towards others. My last husband had an ideal childhood and only cared about himself. Didn’t see that going in. I can do my own numerology chart with a book but Astrology I left to the experts. I was looking for a little extra guidance system to understand my next direction more. They are meant to be helpful, not followed blindly. It helped me to understand why I kept picking men that needed taking care of. Oddly, the 2 charts say exactly the same thing! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’ll drop by your place tomorrow.

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      • Yes, I agree people can be more empathetic. We never do see much going in, do we 🙂 as they say “Love is Blind”.
        Ah ok. Astrology interests me, I would like to get a chart done sometime, but yes I do agree they should not be followed blindly 🙂

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  9. I’m just getting caught up here, after the craziness that has been my summer!

    What a beautiful post! You know, guilt really keeps us tied to the past, and doesn’t really do anything positive. I’ve been carrying a lot from a specific time in my childhood (adolescence, actually). I don’t think I’ll ever truly be grateful for it, but I can accept that it is what it is, and appreciate the life that I have NOW, which likely would not have been the same, without the lessons I learned from that time.

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    • Thank you for reading. I’m getting caught up on your posts as well. I have found, much too late in life, that guilt and worry are the 2 most useless emotions we can have. I used to operate strickly from guilt. Worry was my first name. Done with both and life is oh, so sweet. Won’t load that onto my kids either.

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  10. willowmarie said:

    It’s never too late to have a happy childhood & you Marlene deserve one!

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    • Thank you Willowmarrie. I am in the troughs of it now. I have plenty of toys now and am happy to play with anyone that wants to join my fun. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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RIGHT FROM YOUR HEART

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