Here we go again. It’s that time of the year. The time when you look back at what has gone before and wonder about what is to come. The time when we all say how fast time passes and we wish everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Happy New Year.
As I look back over my life at the end of each year one question always springs to mind for me.
What would my life have been like, where would I be now, if just one thing had been different all those years ago. Who would I be now if I had grown up in a loving home? What would my life have been like if I had been raised in a way that nurtured good self-esteem in me?
Every year I wonder and every year I stop wondering as soon as I think of my kids.
If I’d had good self-esteem I wouldn’t have either of my children because I wouldn’t have slept with their fathers.
My first child was the result of too much alcohol and an opportunistic man. I didn’t get pregnant that night but I kept seeing the opportunistic man. I didn’t recognise how poor a choice he was but, even if I had, I wouldn’t have believed I was worth better.
My second child was the result of several bad self-esteem choices. Getting pregnant to a one night stand and having an abortion led to meeting the father of my second child. If I’d had good self-esteem I would not have had the one night stand. That was poor choice number one. Poor choice number two was having the abortion. I believed no child would want me for a mother and, when the child’s father told everyone in town I was lying about him being the father, I figured the child had no chance of a decent life with me. I could never adopt my child out so abortion seemed the only option. While I was in hospital for that I met the father of my next child.
If I’d had good self-esteem I would never have looked twice at him! He was visiting his married lover at the hospital. She was married to a man he worked with and thought of as a friend – more or less. I would never hook up with such a man now. I would know such a man does not respect marriage vows or value friendship but I didn’t see that then. He told me it was all her fault and I believed him. I hooked up with him, unfortunately, and I should have expected what happened next. He cheated on me. Instead of throwing him out as soon as he confessed, which anyone with good self-esteem would have done, I got pregnant to him. To this day I can’t understand how I could have been so blind and stupid but it got worse! He ran off and left me to have the baby alone. Almost two years later he came back and, instead of recognising he was back for the children and would never actually love me, I married him. If I’d had good self-esteem I would have shared the kids with him but I would not have been so foolish as to give myself, again, to a man who had made it crystal clear he didn’t value me at all!
Thirteen years later, predictably, he cheated on me again.
This time it was different because I was starting to develop some self-esteem. I wasn’t comfortable with his claim that I was to blame for his decision to cheat and I couldn’t shake the belief that it was his turn to put in some effort to make the relationship work. I waited for him to express some remorse and give me some evidence that he valued me and wanted to keep me. I waited for two years which was how long it took him to find someone else or, perhaps, someone he was willing to tell me about.
Looking back there are a million things that would be different now if only I’d had good self-esteem. I wouldn’t have given my virginity to a creep, I wouldn’t have been suicidal, I wouldn’t have been expecting to die young so I would have thought about the future and planned for it. I would have believed my teachers when they told me I had abilities and I might have done something with my life. I wouldn’t have slept with the wrong men or got married to the wrong man and maybe, just maybe, I might be happy now instead of bitter and cynical.
I have good self-esteem now. Yes indeed. My self-esteem is so good now that I didn’t even try to win the man I wanted when I met him ten years ago. When another woman came along I just stepped aside and let her take him. I figured if she could take him from me then he didn’t want me enough to make him worth winning.
I can’t help believing if I hadn’t wasted all those years on the wrong men I might have met the right one while I was still young and attractive enough to win him.
Then I think about the kids. If things had been different I wouldn’t have them but maybe that would have been for the best. Maybe my son would not be going bald or suffer from allergies if he’d had a different father. Maybe my daughter would not have had so many health problems if she’d had a different father so maybe things would have been better for them too if I’d had better self-esteem.
It’s the first time that thought has occurred to me. That the kids might have had a better deal if things had been different so that just leaves one single objection to the idea of things being better all the way around if only I’d had good self-esteem from the start.
Would I have found God if I hadn’t been so miserable and empty? Would finding Him have had the same impact on me if I hadn’t felt so unlovable and worthless? Would I trade what I have with God now for what might have been? Would I trade bitter and cynical in God’s arms for happy ever after in the arms of Mr Right if it could mean not knowing God the way I do now?
Not for all the happiness in the world! Not for true love, not for youth, not for beauty, not for wealth, not for fame, not for anything or even everything the world has to offer would I trade my current relationship with God!
I am a tired, cranky, bitter, cynical old woman with no dreams, no hopes, no goals and no interest whatsoever in anything this world can give me. All I want is for God to take me home so I can be with Him completely. I have let go of this life. I really don’t want it any more. I want to go home but God won’t take me so I have no choice but to go on living until He is ready for me to come home.
I’m unhappy but I’m unhappy because I can’t be even closer to God than I already am and I would much rather be unhappy with God than be happy without Him!
If an angel appeared before me right now and told me God was willing to send me back in time to a vastly different life if I wanted Him to. A life with two parents. Loving, nurturing, protective parents who would ensure I wanted for nothing. A life free of the pain, misery, abuse, bad choices, bad luck and unhappiness I have suffered through. A perfect life filled with everything anyone could ever want but a life that might, only might, lead me away from the relationship I have with God right now. If there was even the slightest chance I might not have what I have now I’d refuse the offer without a single second of hesitation!
If I wouldn’t change a single thing, if I’d rather suffer more to keep what I have than suffer less and risk losing it, perhaps I’m not as unhappy as I thought.