Life is Like a Roll of Toilet Paper

Forrest Gump's mother said, "Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get." Interesting philosophy, though not the most compelling analogy I've ever heard. For me, life is more like a roll of toilet paper; the nearer you get to the end, the faster it disappears.

I think I first became aware of this phenomenon in my mid-thirties, when one day it dawned on me that it was already too late to realize some of my dreams. So, of course, I wrote about it ...

I am 36 years old. Just yesterday I was 16 and, before I have a chance to put by an adequate supply of estrogen, I'll be 56. Where does the time go? It's not that I'm afraid of getting old, but I have so many dreams yet to achieve, and I'm beginning to suspect that I will run out of time before I run out of dreams.

Already there are dreams which are on the verge of being shelved. I haven't tired of them; I've outgrown them, much like one outgrows a favorite sweater. Oh, sure, I could still oil my bikinied body and worship the rays of the Mediterranean sun, but somehow the body I envision in my dreams is the one I had at 20. That body hadn't had two children and wasn't a good twenty pounds overweight. To realize that dream now could only turn it into a nightmare. It's also time to face the likelihood that Robert Redford is not going to ditch his wife and come looking for me. Nor is Neil Diamond, Paul Newman, or Sam Elliott which, I suppose is just as well, since my husband doesn't share this dream, understanding man though he is. The vision of the successful Montreal career woman with the chic penthouse apartment, a wardrobe other women would kill for, and a social life which brooks no boredom no longer has me cast in the role of leading lady. The country estate, complete with two huge, but Ajax-clean sheep dogs, a handsome, doting husband, and a bubbly brood of delghtful children is also one of those dreams which must be relegated to the realm of fantasy, never to become fact.

Yes, at 36, it is time to sort through my list of "Dreams to Do" and discard those which have reached their expiry dates. As depressing as it is, I must face the unpleasant reality that I will never be Miss Teen Canada. I won't ever be a member of the Solid Gold Dancers either. My voice is not going to change, transforming me into Barbra Streisand's staunchest rival. The national network is not going to beat down my door, begging me to replace Adrienne Clarkson. I am never going to be the youngest anything. I mean, if one interprets the word 'middle' literally, I am a middle-aged woman. Somehow, I prefer to think of my mother as middle-aged, and she is 57.

... There is more to the essay, but you get the gist. Quite a few more dreams have bitten the dust since then, but I'm not complaining. Not really. You see, I have so many more, there is no way I could ever realize them all anyway. Some I've always had, (Note: I've still not completely gotten over Sam Elliot) and some have developed over the years.

But as my life's roll of toilet paper continues to dwindle, I feel myself getting a tad panicky, because some of those dreams I absolutely must make come true. As far as family goes, those ones have been realized. I couldn't ask to have had a better marriage or better children. I could want my kids and their families to live closer, but that one is out of my control.

The dreams I still chase are all about creativity. Other people like to travel the world; I travel my mind. Always have. And though it may be difficult for others to understand the wonders and joys I discover there, I can't think of any other place I would rather spend my time.

There's that time element again. Time is running out. And so, to help me focus, I've prepared a Creativity Bucket List, which is likely to get longer, not shorter, though I shall do all I can to tick items off.

Bucket List

- Complete LADY OF BETHNAL GREEN, the novel based on the life of my great-grandmother, Alice Maria Hopkins.

- Compile a collection of anecdotes documenting the lives of family ancestors.

- Write and illustrate a picture book (maybe more) about Eddy Emu.

- Provide documentation to accompany family photos.

- Paint my mother.

- Learn to work with pastels.

- Set up a website for my family genealogy.


I have just scratched the surface, but if I list too many things, I will be overwhelmed and consequently paralyzed. These select few I can probably tackle, and if time allows, I can always add more.


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