Life is full of questions and tragically most of us live to our ends defeated by our weaknesses, at no time bothered to search for the answers.
I don’t intend to sound depressing. It is the reality that many of us could face as we lie on our deathbeds regretting the many things we did not get to do, blaming our responsibilities that denied us the chance to pursue our dreams and furthermore, possibly blaming the people in our lives for wasting a considerable part of our waking hours taking care of them, stealing the time we could have used to live the life we truly wanted to live. What a shame, right? I do say that to myself. The thing is I do still sometimes choose the easy way out. If I do what the people in my life expect me to do, and it turns out sour, I can always say I didn’t really want to do this and that. They made me do it! Really? Hang on, my obstinate self! The mere fact that I opted for that specific option meant that it was my, decision, no one else’s, and whatever consequences ensued can entirely be attributed to me. Truly!
Why do you get out of bed every morning to get to a job that depletes you of positive energy? You are required to? Ah…
Why do we volunteer to assume extra tasks when we are already fully occupied? Because we wouldn’t want to be called selfish!
Aha! It is all about what everyone else thinks and says about our choices and more so about us, especially if we are not the norm. The fear of being labelled bad when one is not conforming to the rest of the world.
Why does she endure a rotten relationship when all she wishes for is to remove herself from it? We know why; it is easier than venturing into the unknown, which is also often unacceptable, as per the norms, that is! And does she really want to be alone? Oh no, the stigma attached to being single! Is it true though? Is she not better than the ignorant conformist that she seems to think she is expected to be? Can she really stay in a dead relationship? I bet she does think about it.
So, why don’t I insist upon myself that which I love, say writing. It’s a tough business from which to make money, I’m thinking.
Why don’t I flee to my private space for a day, or the whole weekend? Surely, the world wouldn’t cease to revolve! But, I don’t want to feel effortlessly replaceable. I don’t want to feel inconsequential. Isn’t it that if I were significant, the lives of the people around me simply wouldn’t be the same if I were not there? Ah, I refuse to know with certainty! It is a frightening thought. Is there peace and joy in solitude? Apparently so! C’mon, go on, don’t ask, “Why? Why must I spend time with me? Why the hell not!
In 1997, I discovered that my husband was having an affair with one of his work colleagues. No. I was actually informed. My ego refused to accept that he wanted to be with a pre-sales person instead of a financial manager. I know… ego! I’m embarrassed now. I guess my ego was more hurt than my heart. Why could he not find someone better than me? I know that I was convinced that I was no longer in love with him and I just couldn’t do the whole wifely obligation of satisfying her husband. Perhaps he was in a hurry to heed my advice to get sex elsewhere. Hah! Like I was so absolutely insane that I meant it when I told him to get a mistress! Obviously he didn’t know I could have been half-joking about the mistress part. I meant though what I said about not being in love with him anymore. Sometimes, as the joke goes, my mind does not only wander, it leaves me completely!
Anyway, I would not accept it. I would rather have no love in marriage than no love and no marriage at all. I equated a failed marriage to defeat. I obviously had the wrong definition of triumph, success and the like. Still, I convinced him to give our marriage a second chance. It was for the wrong reason and I found myself in the same predicament the following year except that then the third party was a nineteen-year old blonde, young and single. (This is my side of the story; he could have a different one!) He filed for divorce. And as I kept on asking why, I went out of my way to keep him. It was one of those selfish dumb moments when I wanted to keep him despite my unhappiness with him rather than see him happy with someone else. Somehow, even though I knew that the love had faded and that our union was a farce, I was convinced that it would make me a failure and place me in an absolutely distressful situation for the rest of my life. When I realized that the marriage was finally over, I attempted to end my life. I could not get answers to my whys. Not once then did I ever ask why not! I could not visualize the possibilities that are now part of my reality. If I had perhaps asked why not, I would not have the memory of my total stupidity of wanting to end it all. Fortunately, it was not my time. I had my divine intervention. I left the small town to conquer the big city.
However, we do not always get help from the divine and we therefore need to remind ourselves to ask why not, to open our eyes to see the promise of hope and to have faith in the unknown. We move from not knowing what we don’t know by taking that leap in the dark, welcoming the new experiences and finally knowing that although I didn’t know what awaited me as I started my life over, I knew that it would be fine. When I am tempted to ask why, I follow it up with why not. What do I have to lose? To quote Nietzsche, “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.”
There are blessings, even in disguise. There really are opportunities presented to us during those challenging times, if we only wish to see them. I no longer see myself as a victim as I learn to swim with the tide, overcome the obstacles to reach the other side, take the lessons and come out victoriously alive. Why not, huh?