It’s the end of July. The theme for this month on NaBloPoMo has been DECADES and today’s prompt:
What has been your best decade thus far: Your teens? Your twenties? Your thirties or forties or beyond?
There are no ‘best’ decades for me. Each period brings its joys and sorrows. I cannot remember a time free of angst or empty of happiness. You cannot have one without the other, as the song goes.
I felt isolation in my teens, though I didn’t know it as such at the time. We were one of only three Chinese families in our small town of 600. My father and his cousin ran the Chinese cafe in town. My mother knew no English. We did not socialize nor participate in community activities outside of the cafe or school.
I had school friends but I always yearned for connection with other Chinese people my age. I guess that was why I took the Greyhound Bus by myself to Winnipeg at 17. My desire was that strong that it overcame any kind of fear of going to a big city to stay with people I barely knew.
My 20s was full of confusion and turmoil, fighting for identity and independence. I dropped out of university, worked as a waitress, went to business school, became a steno, got fired from my first job as such. I got a better job at the Dept. of Indian and Northern Affairs. I left the job after 2 years to take nurses training. Got married and failed at that shortly after. Whew!
Those were my most memorable decades – the young years of growing and learning and becoming. How could I have ever done anything differently, not knowing the how of life? How could any of us? But I felt the pain of every sling and arrow of failure and disappointment. When did I learned to doubt and beat up on myself with the should have’s and could have’s?
My 30s and after are a distant blur, much like the stories of my life as a nurse. There’s not even any threads to grab onto. They are like the will-‘o-the wisp. Perhaps, with more unwinding and breathing out, they will come back to me. Then, there will be stories to be told.
I am content, finding more peace in the now decade. I have gained some wisdom. That’s no small thing. Looking back, I see that I have done remarkably well. I have lived life with confidence and adventure even when I was afraid. I have done the best I could.