I feel guilty. I feel guilty. I feel guilty. I feel guilty. I feel guilty and when I get to the Pearly Gates, and God asks me to defend my life, as happened in the movie “Defending Your Life” with Meryl Streep, which if you haven’t seen, you must, I probably will be turned away to get my next life straight without guilt because I feel guilty about every aspect of my life thus far.
I feel guilty because today I took a dog for a walk, and it wasn’t my dog. My dog can’t go in the sun due to a chemo treatment he’s receiving for lymphoma. But I still feel guilty because the other dog had a ridiculouslqy good time, doing everything my dog would have, swimming in the stream, meeting other dogs, running and sniffing the air, and barking at nothing. While there, my husband called asking when I’d be home. I replied “we should be home in two hours” and he said “We? Who is we?” I feel guilty because I often take friends along on my adventures and don’t tell him I go double, not solo. He is not a spy, he is my husband, so I feel guilty that I am not inclined to clue him in to every part of my life. Like the two shirts I bought a few weeks ago, on sale, at Madewell that I don’t need, but really, really wanted and kept in their original package until he went out (he rarely goes out) where I brought them inside and hung in my closet. I feel guilty of this exclusion but it works. Every time I’ve bought something for myself at a clothing store, I fail to include the purchase in my conversation with him, thus making the statement, “Oh, this shirt? I’ve had it forever.”
I feel guilty that I didn’t take the job he wanted me to take 2 years ago because it was a financial job, and even though the pay would have been the most I’ve ever earned, I would have gone crazy insane working a financial job when I barely graduated high school with a D in Math. Finance is not my thing. I see outside the box, a vast squared off box, and have trouble reining myself in and following rules. Math is all about rules and if you don’t follow them, you fail to get the answer you want. I feel guilty for this, but on the other hand, not knowing a thing about starting a business, I did, and am so busy I feel guilty there aren’t two of me to handle all my clients. Going all the way back to our first 5 years of marriage, I feel guilty that I didn’t get my real estate license so we could go into business together. I took the college theology of real estate course and not the easy real estate course at my husband’s insistence, but couldn’t pass the Math part of the exam. Twice. I’d wanted to take the easy course instead, but I felt guilty not following my husband’s advice so I did what he’d asked.
I felt guilty when he was let go from a job three years ago and could not find a job that paid the $60,000 that he thought I should earn. I have never made more than $35,999 in my 42 years of working, and now, never will. But I felt guilty that I wasn’t better equipped to get a high paying job to get us out of our financial woes.
I feel guilty going away without him even though I believe it makes our relationship stronger by being apart. Absence DOES make the heart grow fonder. Also, I like the beach, and he likes quiet little towns. I go to the beach often, and do exactly what I want, no fighting or bickering, and return home refreshed and happy. I’ve traveled 12 hours by myself when we used to have family vacations, and then another 2 hours riding on a ferry. I’ve flown to South America twice, Hawaii, Switzerland, Croatia, Greece, and Scotland by myself. I feel guilty that I haven’t been braver, and that for 6 whole months I had him drive me everywhere.
I feel guilty that I have a lot of health issues. Since retiring, silly viruses have struck more times than when I worked. I feel guilty that I took a job lasting a month where I was unable to stand it longer than a week. I caught an intestinal flu that wouldn’t leave. He filled in for me.
I feel guilty that my business, thriving, takes me away from home for months at a time. I miss my husband, and my own pet, suffering from lymphoma. I even miss my garden. But I’m needed by other pet owners, and now that my credibility has been established, i don’t see me quitting anytime soon.
I feel guilty that I have to exercise regularly in order to curb the effects of my condition. After running, boxing, cycling, boot camp, aerobics, paddle ball and plain old power walking, I am now into tennis. I feel guilty that I play up to 6 days a week, more time away from home.
I feel guilty that my son is an only. That he has no cousins or siblings or loads of aunts and uncles that fill the rooms of our house with cheer and laughter during holidays. I feel guilty that I do not have a good grasp of what he does for a living, but I try to make up for it through praise and frequent visits. I even sleep on his rock hard sofa without complaint!
I feel guilty that I didn’t pay more attention to my family genealogy before my mother died. I feel guilty that rifts of jealously and anger created by my sister and husband separated my only sister and I for years. I feel guilty that my sister’s lung cancer is what reunited us. (We always wondered which of our parent’s hereditary diseases we would inherit. But the cancer was a horrible surprise.)
I feel guilty that I am not in touch with my cousins more often. I feel guilty that I am not in touch with some friends sooner than not. I feel guilty when I cannot help friends with their strife and suffering other than be a constant presence in their lives, wanted or not.
I feel guilty when I don’t finish books, movies, TV series, documentaries in favor of writing. I feel guilty that I haven’t finished my novel that I’ve spent four years on. To me, my characters are real people with real demands, and I’m not there for them. I feel guilty that there are dust balls under my bed that I ignore in favor of tennis, dog care, meeting friends, going to the beach.
I feel guilty, I feel guilty, I feel guilty, I feel guilty. I could claim it’s a female “thing” but if it is, more women should ‘fess up and join together to support us all. My guilt reminds me of a friend with whom I traveled to New York. She went out of her way at 11 o’clock one night to help a vagrant with AIDS and open sores get on a bus to ride to a shelter. I didn’t believe him. He held a crutch which could have been used as a weapon. We were making our way from the subway in Harlem to a hostel, yet she gave him money and helped find out what bus he needed to take. I did nothing in my veiled fear. When we arrived safely at the hostel I said, “I can’t believe you helped a stranger holding a crutch that could have been used to beat us to death.” She shrugged her shoulders, and replied, “I’d rather die helping someone than die ignoring him like you did.”
Everyone shoulders a load. Everyone handles it differently. I feel guilty for things that have not even happened yet, but I sincerely hope that when I have to defend my life, God will approve of the good that I did while on earth, how I forgave my husband many times for disagreements that threatened the end of our union, how I stayed with my mother while she died (a process that took 3 long days), and how I tried for 7 years to give my son a sibling.