Mainlining Sanity, Part 9
I stood behind a large family in line at the currency exchange booth after I landed in Rarotonga. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying and worried that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with those that worked behind the thick glass that kept us separated from them.
I had suffered, literally, through the nine plus hour-long flight from LAX and felt a bit worse for the wear. Feeling disheveled and tired, I groped through my bags looking for my planner that doubles as my wallet. The early morning light barely showing its face, I longed for a hot shower and a soft bed, but I was still three hours out from my destination as I waited for my next flight. The large family ahead of me moved on, and I now faced my first South Pacific transaction. In perfect English, I was asked how I might be helped. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and handed the “money changer” my scant $100 bill plus a fiver to cover the exchange charge.
I walked away feeling rather smug even though I had accomplished little. I found a seat and counted my bills/dollars, while I waited for my connecting island hopper flight. Money stresses me out. There never seems to be enough and I incessantly worry about my funds. I cover up my money stress well, I have had to. Single motherhood and a recession thwarted the hopes and dreams I grew up with, that I would live happily ever after, in a castle on a cloud – that I would lovingly embrace the freedom afforded by royalty, for was I not a princess? Did I not have parents who provided everything this little princess could ever want or need, and would I not be able to provide the same for my kingdom, in my own “once upon a time”?
Sadly, reality bites.
There have been moments when life and affording life has run smoothly. Those moments have been few and far between and I gather that I am not alone, for financial struggles do not only daunt me. Hard work is in my nature, so is appreciating what I have, even more so following my recent brush with sanity. As I walked and scootered around an impoverished island paradise, I learned to find joy in the smallest affordabilities: a sunset, a broken shell, a downed coconut, a triangle shaped coin, a cup of clean and drinkable water – with ice cubes, no less, but most treasured were messages received from my kids in the states.
I counted my own blessings after having had the opportunity to drive past house upon house with no roof and no windows, as they had been blown off and out during a hurricane year ago. Finding peace within myself and what I have been able to provide thus far for my children. It isn’t all about the “things” they have, though that is an illusion we hide behind when real life gets dodgy. “If I get my kids an annual pass to Disneyland, they will forget the pain of their parents divorcing.” Maybe for a day, or for a week, the pain of that reality though, rarely goes away. Better is the unconditional love only a parent can give. I am lucky, even through multiple recessions, financial ruin, the loss of a home, two divorces, and the pain of lost love. Sanity sometimes comes at a price. For me, it is the loss of time and the loss of good memory skills. I have a horrible memory, mostly because some of those memories were too difficult to hang on to. I have trained myself to let them go and in the process, some of my memory skills have slipped away, as well. Sanity, mainlined. Continual hurt averted. Blessings reassured in mind and truth.