My daughter’s dad worked for the only traveling opera company in the United States that sang all the operas in English. That’s how I learned to love opera. La Boheme is my favorite. The starving artists, fated romances and Paris setting lured me into Puccini’s melodic music. But I digress.
We stopped working for the opera company after the spring tour in 1969. My husband got a job at an architect’s office (he did sets and lighting for the operas) in Tampa, Florida, and we finally settled down in our first apartment. I remember jumping up on a chair and screaming the first time I saw a Palmetto bug. (Think HUGE, very HUGE roach-type insect).
I also remember selling Avon and meeting the gal who lived down the hall with her new husband. Teresa was a tiny thing with bouncy curls and dark brown eyes. She invited me over for iced tea one afternoon, and I just about opened my mouth wider that ever before when I walked into her apartment.
She had freshly ironed shirts hanging on a hook on the kitchen door. I asked her about it. “Oh, I love ironing my husband’s shirts,” she said. “They just look so good when I’m finished.” Rather than think her arrogant, I wondered if perhaps I should start ironing MY husband’s shirts as wel. After all, he had a “real” job now, so maybe that would be a good thing to do.
Our talk turned to other things and eventually got around to wedding presents. That marriage of mine was a shotgun marriage without the gun. I wasn’t pregnant. We just decided to get married, so it all happened with very little planning. It certainly wasn’t the long white dress with trailing lace veil type affair I’d always dreamed of, but it did the trick.
Theresa showed me some of her wedding presents (she and her hubbie had JUST gotten married with all the bells and whistles. We”oohed” and “ahed” over the shining crystal glasses, matching china and sparkling silver flatware. Though I loved the idea of throwing small, intimate and formal dinner parties, I wasn’t really sure that’s how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
Then she escorted me into the kitchen from the living room where we’d been drinking tea and proudly pointed out one cabinet that was filled to the brim with Tupperware. “I just love Tupperware, don’t you?” she asked.
I did. Though Tupperware had been around for almost 40 years, it was all the rage. So handy, so sturdy, so convenient. A housewife’s dream. My dream. I was beet red with envy. I wanted a kitchen full of Tupperware. But I didn’t have the money to buy it, and nobody had given me any as wedding presents.
I forgot about that incident until this morning. At one garage sale on Saturday last week, I found a GIANT turquoise blue Tupperware container for a buck. Perfect to hold my kitties’ food. What a steal. What a deal. What a delight!
Today, I don’t want a kitchen filled with Tupperware. If I had to pick a material thing out that I really want, I don’t know what it would be.
It’s ironic how our wants change over time. At some point in our lives, we want a job or a better job, a loving husband or wife or partner, children, grandchildren, a new car, a bigger place to live, more money in our bank accounts, more time off, a perky puppy, the latest fashion garb…the list goes on and on. But these are all things or people we think might make us happier.
But what is it you really want? If I offered you peace and a smaller place to live, would you take it? If a stranger came up and handed you $25,000 dollars with the condition that you had to give it all away, how would you respond? What would you do if you could have pratically no stress in your life, but you had to live on half of what you’re living on now?
It’s easy to want things, impossible to hang onto them, and simple to let your worries get you down.
It’s harder (but gets easier) to accept exactly where you are and in what circumstances you live, and to recognize you have what you need.
What’s really hard is accepting yourself for exactly the way you are, be grateful for everything and everyone you have in your life, cease judging others, and stop comparing yourself (or comparing others) to you. All of that takes a lot of work on the INSIDE. In the end, though, it’s the most gratifying work you’ll ever do.
What is it you REALLY want today? If it’s material things, more money or some of the other things I mentioned, will you really be any happier if you get it? Or will you then move on to the next item on your list of wants.
Whatever it is, I wish you peace and joy.