I Never Expected my Life to Be Like This

Hello Very Cool Woman,

If I had a quarter for every time I heard someone say, “I never expected my life to be like this,†I’d be so rich, I could take all of my readers on a cruise around the world. I’ve said those words myself. I can’t help wonder, why are we surprised by life?

When we first considered our future, we were young. We were new at being human. What did we know? We didn’t see the vastness of the world, the nasty snares and ten-thousand pitfalls along the way—or the joys and beauty, for that matter.

Recently, two young women friends admitted to me that they didn’t feel as confident in themselves now, as compared to how they felt in high school. I suspect that in high school, unencumbered by fear (healthy or not), their confidence came from a place of naïveté. I love the boldness of youth. Yet youth has blinders and the risks we took in high school, we’d never consider at an older, more enlightened (and bruised) age.

When we leave the shelter of our homes for the freedom the world, we discover that there aren’t as many supportive people to catch, comfort and encourage us when we fall. When life comes at us, it doesn’t take many battles to realize that the world can be a cold place. As a result, self-doubt creeps in.

Everyone faces challenges. Stuff happens—that’s all I can say for sure. Unplanned events present themselves from time to time: accidents, bankruptcy, floods, untimely deaths, cancer, adultery, fires, operations, deterioration, lost jobs, lost homes, families, and last and certainly not most critical, (but can really be the straw that breaks the camel’s back), finding hairs growing in places you never expected them to grow.

Whenever I get in a funk about all this, I look to my friends for inspiration. Even in bad times, one says, “I’m so blessed,†while others tell me they, “Take it one day at a time,†or, “This tragedy brought our family together.†Knowing that John is not likely to walk again doesn’t keep him from adapting so that he can do such things as drive and hunt—living his life by counting what he can do. Courageous people inspire me.

Dad used to say, “Play the hand you were dealt.†He said it so often, we had that phrase engraved on his headstone. My interpretation of his words is that no matter what unpleasant things comes into our lives, we would be better off accepting what we can’t change. Deal with the luck of the draw.

We have a choice. We can either resent the life we have, or transform it into something unique and meaningful.
Love your life.

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