I find it rather curious how we all become individuals based on our experiences and the way our lives unravel. During this recent trip back to see my family, I think this is the time when it really hit home for me. I looked at how my sister appeared to me and compared how I viewed myself (and how others have described me).
This is what I saw:
My sister is the typical soccer mom. I watched as she interacted with all the other soccer moms at my niece’s game. She fit right in. She is slow moving, like nothing is ever a rush. There isn’t any reason to be in a hurry or rush off anywhere, and her body language shows it. She also carries extra weight (not that there is anything wrong with that or that I’m criticizing it, just an observation), and her slow motion seems to be accentuated by that. She drives a Mercedes. She works if she chooses to. She has a husband who provides for the family. She lives a life of leisure, has a social life, and spends the summers at their lakeside cottage.
I am nothing like her.
I am a hard working, often overtime working single mom. I have strayed from the materialistic way of life (due to the fact that my ex-husband always had to have the most expensive-best-top of the line-keep up with and bypass the Jonses stuff. While I was never that way myself (he typically had the best and I was left with nothing to spend for myself after providing for the children and him), sometimes it would have been nice to have something for myself. I have a five year old Jeep that travels everywhere I go, I spend time in nature with my children and alone; I consider the mountains my home. I am not a soccer mom, nor would I ever fit in with them. I am a vegetarian, organic, natural and clean eater (mostly). I am a yogini. I meditate. I do not have an expensive home and I most certainly do not have a lakefront cottage. I have wanderlust, an adventurous spirit, and a camera. I am an artist and an author. My dog is my best friend and the one I socialize with the most. I’ve been called a hippie more times than I care to count. This term, as far as I am concerned, is a compliment.
I don’t typically compare myself to others because I know we all have our own paths. It just seemed so obvious to me this time. I haven’t spent time with my sister in so many years, and perhaps because of this, it became so very clear to me how very different we are.
So I suppose, what I have seen, is that life and experiences really do shape us into who we become. We had the same upbringing for the first 18 years of life. Somewhere along the way, our lives took divergent paths; neither one better than the other, just different.
I am grateful for this trip home, for so many reasons. This is just one of them. I am also grateful for the experiences (good and bad) that have shaped me into who I am. I can honestly say that I have earned all I have by myself. I have nobody to credit for my possessions but me, and my lifestyle is a reflection of who I am beyond monetary and materialistic views. This is part of my uniqueness.