I dreamt I was on the verge of having an affair with Steve McQueen. We were right "there" when I found myself trying to reason him out of being his "Steve McQueenie self." Remember that sort of gloomy, Byronic hero stuff from which we all flee (I hope) since we were young and romantic? He was mumbling and grumbling, and I was being balanced and reasonable. I got bored and walked away. Then, (you know how dreams are) I was walking up the driveway of my childhood home, and there was Steve McQueen slouching on the front steps. "Hmmm, he must be interested in a real relationship," I thought. Easter baskets, spilling over with all manner of happy goodies, were everywhere around the yard. They were on the steps - in the bushes - under the car - hanging from the trees. Not just candy, but books and music and toys. As I began to explore one of the bountiful baskets, Steve rose to his feet, lit a cigarette with that fabulous squint in his eye ... worn, tight jeans caressing his (oops) ... and he strode away. What was I to make of that!
Besides that at 60ish I am not too old to have "those" kinds of dreams, there must be some revelatory message being sent by my subconscious. I figured out what it was. That night marked the year anniversary since I had spoken with a conflict-causing sibling. I had had a soul-searching conversation with a friend regarding my relationship with my sibling. The conversation was one of my periodic re-checks of the situation. These re-checks have continued to support my decision to love this person, but keep her at bay.
We "mature" adults may struggle with stressful relationships with parents, siblings, kids and even grandkids. We love these people, but sometimes years of talking-out the relationship doesn't produce positive change. The relationship continues to be filled with too much drama and angst (the Steve McQueen-stuff) to inflict upon our golden years.
I find that accepting two concepts helps bring equilibrium to me. One is acknowledging the kind of emotional environment I want for my adult life. The other is that I have little to no control over how someone else acts or responds. These concepts are tough, but once embraced, can be freeing. I can choose. I can choose what relationships work in my life.
With more time behind me than in front, I have embraced the truth that drama, turmoil, dragging ancient history around jangles the serenity of my life. Contrary to what we thought in our youth, all that stuff is not love. Steve McQueen may be yummy and exciting, but is he worth all the gut grinding and tension? Not to me. That's a highly personal decision we all must make in the quiet of our heads and hearts.
This is tough stuff because we are weaned on the idea that family is everything. We are supposed to love and like our family members, period. They - are - our - family. But, sometimes their behavior is not likeable. Steve McQueen is, well, Steve McQueen. Everybody loves Steve McQueen. But, he often played an S.O.B. and seems to have often been one. Do I want his moody stuff hovering over my life?
I love my sibling. We have a shared history - a familial bond. However, do I choose to continue to endure the years of turmoil in order to maintain a fantasy image of family? The familial connection is real, but the "happy family" rapport can be a fantasy.
What about the Easter basket extravaganza? I decided that they represent all the wonderful, happy opportunities in my life. Much excitement, fulfillment and personal growth has (and will) come into my life from cherishing the fun my husband (of 30 years) and I have enjoyed pursuing writing and horse riding. I have chosen to dig into and enjoy the goodies the adventure brings. The wonderful surprise baskets of opportunity have helped me realize that the life-long struggle for a peaceful relationship with my sibling allows "dark-smoke" drama in over the transom. I don't want to have to deal with drama at this stage in my life.
I do, and will, continue to give my relationship with my sib a periodic re-think just to make sure. For now, I choose the Easter baskets. I choose serenity and contentment and to let the drama stroll away - in its enticing tight jeans.
Candace Wade wrote the book "Horse Sluts - The Saga of Two Women on the Trail of Their Yeehaw." She has contributed to Horse Nation, Mature Lifestyles, Riding and Writing, The Tennessean and is a member of American Horse Publications. Candace writes political diatribe, wrote "Hillary's View" pet column and four unpublished film scripts. She learned to ride at age 46 and still rides at 59+.