Our move back to Virginia from Oklahoma was a scary one for me. I’d held the same job for 10 years and owned my own company in conjunction with my two best friends. I owned my own home which I had lovingly decorated myself. I was active in the Chamber of Commerce and the community. So it was a real leap of faith to abandon everything I knew and trusted to make the move.
The first weeks back on the Virginia Peninsula were frightening. I went to headhunter after headhunter in search of a job only to be told the same thing over and over again. “You are too qualified for secretarial work and too narrowly trained for management.” What they really meant was “I was too old!” I have to admit that I had more than my share of panic attacks in the beginning. I wondered if my life might be over. But I quickly found out that it had finally just begun.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what constitutes “the good life.” If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have said that it was “a strong marriage, a loving family, a good job, and enough money to buy what I wanted.” My answer today is quite different.
The good life to me now is something so much simpler. It is being truly happy, from the top of my head to the very tip of my toes. It is finding myself smiling for absolutely no reason at all. It is walking in the hot sun or ice cold snow and not caring about the weather, but just enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. It is the simple moments that so many people take for granted like dinner with the family or a little voice on the other end of the phone saying “I love you, Nana!”
I’m not exactly sure when I slipped into the rut of the comfortable life. I certainly wasn’t raised that way. I came from a modest background. But somewhere along the line, I started to believe in the false American dream of a big house, a new car, and plenty of money. I didn’t mean to buy into the lie, but somehow I did.
Today, my husband and I live in a small apartment; our car is six years old; and we barely squeak by money wise. Yet, in many ways I’m happier than I’ve ever been in life. That just goes to prove the old adage that “money ain’t everything!”
This past weekend, my husband had to work so my daughter invited me over to BBQ. As I sat swinging in her outdoor swing, soaking up the beauty of her garden and the sweet smelling summer air, I sighed with total contentment. It was one of those rare perfect moments. And yet it wasn’t the only one that I experienced that night.
Another perfect moment occurred when my grandson threw his arms around my neck and said, “I’m so glad you’re my Nana,” and asked if I would play with him. We worked for awhile on his ABC’s, played our favorite game of “Nana’s sneak attack” and even indulged in a good, old-fashioned pillow fight. It was pure heaven!
There is something so satisfying about seeing your grandchild’s face light up when he or she looks at you. It is worth all of the diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds that exist in the world. You know, at that one moment in space and time, that you have finally made a difference; that you have fulfilled a purpose far greater than anything of which you could possibly conceive.
The good life is finding your place in the world. Oddly enough, that place doesn’t always turn out to be where you thought it will be. It doesn’t mean that you have to be someone famous, have lots of money to spend, possess a lot of “things,” or live a certain way. It is, quite simply, being true to yourself; to whom you are deep down inside and then having the courage to share that revelation with others around you.
I believe that my granddaughter and grandson see the real me; that somehow they reach into my very soul and pull out the best of me. They allow me to be just who I am and, for them, that is more than enough. It is all they want and all they need. And they reflect the light that they find back to me in their beautiful eyes and sweet little faces.
I remember adoring my grandparents when I was little. I remember believing they were the most wonderful – – and magical – – people in the world. I loved spending time with them. They were, in many ways, my salvation and my joy. They were, most assuredly, my safe haven. If I can give one-tenth of that same kind of feeling to my grandchildren, I will count myself a truly blessed human being. So far I seem to be on the right track. I’m truly happy I’m definitely living “the good life!”