No, I don't mean "here" as in "what direction do I want this blog to take" or even "here" in the sense of "location" and the possibility of it changing. I mean "here" in reference to the direction of my life. The greater portion of my life has been spent as a caregiver - taking care of various members of my family of some other generation than my own - usually at the expense of my own desires, dreams, and even needs.
I find myself in the position now, however, of such no longer being the case. My children are either grown and gone, or living with their other parent. Of my parents, 1 is dead and the other is living in permanent, full time nursing care. I have only 1 remaining grandparent, whom I haven't been on speaking terms with for a few years now. And I would rather shoot my only remaining sibling on sight than walk across the street to piss on him, should I chance by and see him writhing in the middle of the road on fire. (Assuming, of course, that I wasn't the one who lit the match in the first place, considering his propensity towards abusive behavior towards anything female.)
For the first time since I graduated high school, I am in a position to access my own needs and wants, prioritize them, and act upon those priorities - without regard to whether it's going to negatively affect someone for whom I have responsibility. There Is no one for whom I am responsible any longer other than myself. This is a first for me, barring the 20 months (that's right, not quite 2 years) between when my oldest (handicapped) daughter was no longer my responsibility and my father (stroke victim) became my responsibility.
Seeing to the needs of my disabled family members has been my purpose in life for the entirety of my adult life. That purpose is now gone, and it's absence has left me wondering what to do with myself to become once again a productive, self sufficient, self reliant member of general society.
Do I return to college for yet another attempt at furthering my education beyond the basics? Do I instead turn my considerable experience in taking care of others, and lavish it upon my S.O.? Do I perhaps instead turn that experience into a paying job by becoming a professional caregiver?
Definitely not the last of those - I lack the patience, compassion, or empathy to become a professional caregiver at this point. Had I done so years ago, perhaps it would have worked quite well. Not now, though, after 23 years of putting myself last after everyone else's needs and wants. I could - and even desire to - go back to college for another round of educational exploits. The questions to ask myself in that regard being, "what do I want to study, this time 'round?" and "how am I going to pay for it?" Both of which are rather open ended currently, and any Productive suggestions will no doubt be entertained. That leaves, of course, the middle option - that of turning my S.O. into the focus of prior experiences habits. I doubt though that either of us could or would much tolerate the probable end results of such action. Down that path lies resentment, frustration, and burnout on my end... laziness, apathy, and the potential for self loathing on his end.
So where DO I go from here? I don't know. Yet. Finding out where the rest of this journey will take me promises to be full of surprises, though. And it will no doubt be both as adventurous and as educational as the previous years have proven to be.
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