Why is peace of mind so elusive? It’s like finally paying off a charge card when—bang—some emergency roars its head and the balance is right back up there. Likewise, every time I think I may have finally achieved peace of mind—bang—in comes some crisis. Peace of mind, I have found, is not only elusive, it is sensitive to where you are in life. Everything’s relevant. Here’s how I see the chase for POM…
If you are an empty-nester, I suppose peace of mind would include such things as having all your children out of the house on their own, each pursing a happy and successful life. And, oh yeah, being able to once more walk around the house naked if you wish.
During your parenting years….well, this is a bit harder because it is impossible to have peace of mind when you have kids living with you. However, in a fantasy world I guess peace of mind at this stage would include your kids growing normally, socializing normally, and doing well in school so that your peace of mind is further disrupted when you realize how much college tuition costs.
If you are about to marry and begin your own family, peace of mind must include the realization that you have finally found and linked up with the person of your dreams. And, the bonus here is that he/she feels exactly the same way about you. Looking back, I did not realize at the time how much peace of mind I had during this stage of my life. My wife and I had waited four long years of courtship while we finished school and each got jobs before we married. It would be two years before our twosome expanded. Those two years, as I look back, were pure peace of mind…just didn’t realize it at the time. Dumb!
Moving along, if you are in college or learning a trade and looked up peace of mind it would probably show the following prerequisites: good grades or exceptional skills in your trade area, an “okay” job of some sort to help you earn your keep and maybe pay for your own car. Add to that, a compatible mate to sit in the front seat next to you.
In high school? Here is where peace of mind is easy, but you don’t realize it. All you need are decent grades and “good” friends, both of which will keep your parents off your back; a driver’s license and parents who can afford the bump in car insurance and replenishing the gas after you’ve been out cruising in what is hopefully not a nerdy parent’s car.
Elementary school is a cinch. Learn simple arithmetic, bring home a lot of volcano dioramas your father will make and keep winning those “My Kid’s an A Student at Whatchamacallit Elementary” bumper stickers.
Toddlers have a mere three goals to meet for peace of mind…come to think of it, parents benefit from the same criteria. And they are: getting out of diapers for good, then learning how to feed and clothe yourself without your mom or dad having to help. There is a definite milestone reached when your little one learns how to fix a bowl of Cheerios, turns on the cartoons and lets you sleep a little late on Saturday morning without hurting himself or setting the house on fire.
And, finally, the peace of mind we never remember achieving. It was when we are just a single cell inside mom’s tummy, rooting on all those waggly-tailed cells swimming all around us until one finally pokes its way through our barrier and we become one. Finally, at least at this stage, peace of mind…perhaps for the one and only time in our life.
Books by Marc Kuhn: THE POPE’S STONE, an historical novel that follows two descendants of a Virginia family who, despite living a century apart, share uncanny similarities in their lives; NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE, a collection of whimsical verse featuring thought-provoking “never-do’s” that children should beware of; and ABOUT A FARM, a children’s book about challenges we all face every day, regardless of where we live. All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.
Intimate details about Marc Kuhn and other exhilarating stuff at marckuhn.com
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