I had a really good friend in college.  We had some legal classes together (I hold a degree in Paralegal Studies / Legal Assisting) and usually we went to lunch together after class to eat and study.  We had a lot in common.  We both had kiddos and we were trying to find our way back into the corporate world.  Our kids played together.  We compared job search notes with each other.

She always ordered the same thing every time we went to lunch.  This is what she ate every day, for two years, at lunch:

A croissant that was split with butter on it and fried on the grill topped with fried eggs, lots of bacon and cheese.  Then she topped that with a ton of mayonnaise.  I always teased her that is was a “heart attack on a plate”.  She laughed and ate it anyhow.

After graduation, we both moved on, busy with our lives.  We kept in touch but were not as close as we once were.  Christmas Eve I was getting ready to go to a family celebration and was walking thru the living room.  The news was on.  My friend was killed in a head on collision the night before.  Her sons had also been in the car but they were unharmed.  My friend was dead.

Apparently those croissants did not matter after all.  I try hard everyday to keep that in mind.

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One of my favorite quotes, from the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”:

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or too early, to be whoever you want to be.  There’s no time limit.  Start whenever you want.  You can change or stay the same.  There are no rules to this thing.  We can make the best or the worst of it.  I hope you make the best of it.  I hope you see things that startle you.  I hope you feel things you never felt before.  I hope you meet people with a different point of view.  I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  And, if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

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Last year I tured 40. I dreaded it for quite some time. I feel like life is passing me by. I feel like I am at a standstill and I have made no progress, done nothing substantial. Day after day it is the same thing only different. Dare I say that I feel “unfulfilled”? That maybe I have no purpose in life, no passion to pursue, no interests that I can devote enough of my time to.
I had my first child at the age of 18. Pregnant just out of high school. I went from being someones child to having a child. I had no time for self discovery or to find out who I am or what I wanted from life. Two more children followed. Then my last child. My only son. He was diagnosed with Autism 4 years ago and life will never be the same. I have moved from being “Louise’s mom” to “Coral’s mom” to “Shelby’s mom” to “Ben’s mom. Mother of a child with Autism”. It is my current title. Everywhere we go, everything we do it comes up no matter what. I can’t escape it for a day, an hour or a minute.
So, I have been pondering my “purpose in life”. Is this really it? All that is planned for me?
Today I had Ben at therapy and the center we go to has a program for older, challenged children/young adults. There is one boy there in particular (almost a Man) who is just happy all the time. Talks to everyone. Puts his hand up so you can give him “knuckle bumps” and then he will ask a question to start a conversation with just about anyone. Today, after the pre-requisite knuckle bumps, he asked “How was your Mother’s Day?” I responded and he conversed with me for a few minutes, then moved on continuing his duties at the center.
Once I got home I was relaying the encounter to Dane. I was explaining to him that the young man at the center was just so happy to talk to people and would be happy with any job he got to have, even if it was at a fast food restaurant just emptying trash or whatever. He was just happy to be doing something. Anything. Just to be part of the human experience.
That’s when it occurred to me. Maybe that’s it. Maybe my purpose, everyone’s purpose, is just to BE. Be happy. Be productive. Be part of the human race. Stop searching and just BE.

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