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Well, it’s the end of yet another year, and year endings always make me wax just a tad bit melancholy. So, this year, like so many others, deep sea diving is my activity of choice.

To that end, I remember back when I was a child. Like most children, the only thing on my mind was growing up. You might say I was in a rush to be what I perceived as grown-up. From my vantage point, it looked like fun! As a result, my childhood is for the most part, a blur.

Anyway, as an adult, I would be able to wear make-up. I would be able to party all night. I would be able to drink alcoholic beverages. I could smoke cigarettes if I wanted to. It was going to be so much fun! Nowhere in my visions of adulthood did I plan for babies, bills, weight gain, menial jobs, heartbreak, old age and, if that ain’t enough, menopause!

For some reason I can’t explain, I didn’t really equate sex with babies. I know it sounds crazy but, sex was supposed to be . . . well, impromptu, exciting and most importantly fun! Part of the fun was the Russian roulette you played with your life! Right? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? You get pregnant and marry the bozo with the malfunctioning condom. Never mind that neither of you could barely support yourselves with your low-paying jobs! Somehow, it would all work out! Raising a kid couldn’t be THAT hard, right?

Then, enter HIV and AIDS and suddenly, the worst thing that could happen to you was no longer an unwanted pregnancy! Fun could cost you your life!!! So, you make a full circle back to religion in the hopes of cleaning yourself up, only now you’ve eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Church, not nightclubs, is now your new stomping ground. Good luck with that vow of celibacy!

By now, baby daddy is less than impressive and you’ve traded him in for a vibrator. The checks he sent as child support, all five of them, have now ceased when you refused to take him back. Now, you’re a single parent, you’re older and more determined than ever to clean up your life.

Around that time, you meet HIM. You know the one: he wasn’t really your type but he had a car and didn’t hate your kid. So, you took a risk on him. Only then do you learn that he is rebounding from a situation that he never spoke of! All of a sudden, he’s got more baggage than you! If only you had known that before the birth of your latest child!

Now, you find yourself tired and exhausted! What next? You give up on that plan of action. You realize that you’re going about this all wrong. So, instead of trying to find someone whose presence can magically wash away years of stupidity, you start working on doing that yourself. You stop looking for someone to make you happy. You decide to be happy no matter what! You stop looking for someone to validate you. You realize that you are already valid. So then, you make choices with YOUR (and your children’s) best interest in mind. You become your own advocate. More than ever before, you become willing to learn new things without ever compromising who you are. You stop and take frequent inventory of your life. Then, once you’ve done that, you use this information to become better, not bitter. Finally, you learn to set frequent goals for yourself so that you don’t end up working so hard for a life you didn’t plan on much less want!

Can anybody hear me?