‘Life happens when you’re busy planning life’. I’ve heard that so many times before; problem is, I keep forgetting it. Sadly, I get reminded about it under awful circumstances. Two weeks ago I was cleaning out my room. I had so much stuff lying around and some of the things I was seeing just needed to be tossed out. Therefore I decided to get busy and throw out what needed to go.
For the longest time, there was this beautiful doll sat atop the window. She’s been there for so many years, and every time I saw her I’d think, “I’m saving that doll for my kids”. I’ve watched so many movies where parents pass their toys down to their kids; not because they cannot afford new ones, but because of the toys’ sentimental value.
This doll was a gift I received about two decades ago from a pen pal. She was very beautiful: Caucasian with strawberry blonde hair and brown eyes, wearing a beige and green flowered dress. Seeing as she was my only doll, as my other toys were primarily teddy bears, I adored her; and, owing to that, I was very reluctant to play with her, lest I ruined her.
I’d seen other kids playing with their dolls until the eyes sunk into the head, all the hair fell off from too much brushing, and in worst case scenarios, they would have their limbs amputated and heads decapitated. That was never going to happen to my ‘Antonina’ (as I fondly named her), I swore to myself.
True to it, I would seldom brush her hair and redo her pigtails, and occasionally I’d wash her dress, just so she’d look clean and neat. Other than that, I never quite played with her. She was just too perfect to play with. This other day when I was cleaning my room, I just took her from where she’s been sitting for years, and I must say I was very disappointed to realize her once beautiful hair had weakened because of the wind and dust.
When I figured I was too old to play with toys, I stopped doing the routine maintenance, and somehow hoped she would withstand the test of time. How wrong I was… I tried fluffing the hair, and it broke easily when I ran my fingers through it. Previously, I’d just clean the window and then put her back, thinking, “I’ll dust her up next time”.
For a few seconds I just stared at the doll, wondering if I should just toss her in the bin… and at that moment, I felt disappointment rush through me. I missed out on a golden opportunity to play with this doll because I wanted to save her for my kids, but here she was, with hair breaking at the slightest touch. I regretted not playing with her until she got worn out, because either way, she still got ruined.
That same day, I picked from the closet, this pair of beautiful golden shoes I’d bought a couple of years ago. They were open-toe heels with a ribbon ankle strap. When I bought those shoes I was working in a lingerie store, but then shortly after I quit. Since I never go out much, I figured I’d just save them for fancy occasions since they were awfully conspicuous.
Needless to say, I rarely wore them because soon after I got into law school, where I was almost always in comfortable ballet flats or sneakers; and the occasional boots, when it was chilly or rainy. My beautiful goldies were just seated in the closet, waiting to be picked for an auspicious occasion.
I think I only wore them twice… or thrice at most; and now as I looked at them, I realized, though they still looked new, their quality had patently deteriorated. When I tried wiping them, the golden colour peeled off easily. I didn’t want to focus too much on the gnawing disappointment, so I just tossed them in the bin. I thought to myself, ‘If I haven’t worn them for this long, I certainly won’t need them’.
That had me thinking about my life generally. I miss out on opportunities, waiting for a ‘better time’. For instance, I rarely dated in my teens because I was too afraid of screwing up. I was so afraid of getting knocked up, and the dire repercussions that would subject me to.
Therefore I opted to not date entirely. I remember telling my best friend one evening when we were headed home from law school, that I never last in relationships because once I start feeling like things are getting serious, I run for the hills.
I didn’t delve into my anxiety issues, so I bet he never quite understood why I run. His reply was, “Don’t be a cynic”. He went on to tell me how men are not all the same so I should not be afraid of giving someone a chance.
Nowadays when I think of dating, I feel very lethargic. I’m afraid of getting my heart broken, and it doesn’t help that the few guys I’ve tried dating usually end up disappointing; and even when they haven’t disappointed me yet, I tread cautiously, anticipating they’ll disappoint me eventually.
I know my anxiety has played a huge role in the choices I’ve made so far… and while I can’t go back in time to do things over, I wish I had made different choices, because I’m really learning that life happens when one is busy planning life. Sometimes there’s never really, a ‘better time’. So one has to make the best of the present moment, because sometimes, that’s the best one gets.