But not 24 hours per day, 7 days per week . . .
I learned to hear and respect the ideas my Gram would so casually (?) say, and many of her words are with me yet. I wish I could tell her how those twelve I write of today, have helped along the way.
“Ethel”, she said, “a woman has to find something, in addition to her family, that will bring joy to her life. And the more ‘hobbies’ she has, the better off she’ll be.”
Her generation also had a phrase I tucked away, too. It was, “I married him for life, but not for 24 hours a day.” A dozen words that are priceless, to me, to you, and to every man, woman alive. No matter where you live.
Of course, when she was telling me these words of wisdom, I didn’t believe her at all. Oh, most surely not for me, for I was still in that euphoric stage of marriage we all experience, but I learned.
I knew, Gram did not speak lightly and so, when the day came, when ‘family’ was not enough, her words resurfaced, and I followed her pathway right on. See, she’d been there and done that.
Pearl Buck, author, also said that if a woman tries to confine all her energies, attention and love, into the sole outlet of husband and children, she will put a burden on them as well as herself, that none of them were ever meant to bear.
The husband (or wife) will retreat (escape) in self defense to the TV, newspaper, golf, nearby pub, or ski club. And children, more outspoken will tell you to ‘get off their backs. or stay in their room, ‘live’ at some friends home, at the mall, retreat into silence, and rebel in any thousand other ways.
At first I felt guilty when I did something that my husband had no interest in. but went ahead and was startled to find that he liked those times when my activities didn’t demand his presence or participation.
What Gram had learned (as we all must if we ever hope to gain any measure of happiness), is that not one of us can or wanted to spend 24 hours (see above, second paragraph) with one person. No matter how beloved.
Gram knew kids do grow up and leave home. Death does come, and jobs, life and sickness, mental and physical, can separate people, and so, for our own balance, we must find outlets that absorb and bring delight to us. In addition to families.
Gram had several. Different generations, different opportunities, different outlets, but she cooked, crocheted and she gardened. Who can say which was more beloved, but, at her table, I learned the surprise and wonder, of dishes I thought would be found only in magazines or on TV. I never even tried to match her kitchen skills.
Winter was a prison to her as she waited for spring to come so ‘she could get outside’, and dig, so that was when her cooking, crocheting, and bridge club really came into play . And, oh those women were wonderful. I substituted when needed, and not only learned how to play bridge, but listened and learned for more. Their conversation was every bit as ‘with it’ as what goes on today. Different wording, oh yes, but nothing was verboten or unknown to those women. My eyes popped and I not only learned, but marveled.
I found many outlets for my ever growing interests, and if you haven’t yet, given your husband and children a break and start looking. Today. Right now. There are times in every one’s life when spouse, children, job and even life seem to fail us.
Some hobby or avocation can be a life saver for you, the family and, no fooling, your own sanity. There are words of today, that speak what I’m saying. “Get a life, get a life.”
Sounds harsh, but oh how true Gram’s words still are: ‘I married him for life, but not for 24 hours a day’. Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I’m a happy woman, for I’ve found those words keep right on working, no matter what your age. Thanks, Gram, wish we could still talk, and I would listen more seriously today, for now I know you were an expert.