I’ve lost a lot of things in my life. A house to foreclosure, a car to the repo man, a 27 year marriage, prosperity, status, friendships, parents, supple skin, thick hair, trust in humanity, wide-eyed wonder, and the ability to wear my red satin high heels. At times, I’m pretty sure I temporarily lost my mind.
Clearly, given my druthers, I would have chosen to hold on to all of these things. If cheating life would have kept those losses from happening, I have no doubt I would have gone for it. I’m fairly certain that makes me a sore loser.
There are about a billion people who had life rougher than I did and about a billion that had it better. I’m pretty much putting myself in the middle of the road when it comes to hardships. You will hear no complaints from me.
Being a good loser is something most of us are taught when we are kids. For me, the lesson fell on deaf ears.
Losing is not something I’ve ever come to terms with. I’d like to think that I’m gracious about it, but that would probably be a lie. I am competitive, plain and simple, and I have never had a clear understanding of any lessons to be learned by losing the people we love or things we’ve worked hard for.
That is, until now. I’ve come to understand that loss serves a purpose. It gives us a point of reference. A place in our lives where things were beyond awful, yet we survived it. We found strength. And then we found our way.
It’s about the bigger picture. You know, the kind you have to stand back from to see clearly. Sometimes you have to stand years back to recognize what a particular loss taught you.
I’ve also gained a bit along the way. A few extra pounds (thanks for nothing), computer savvy, dear old friends, a rip-roaring sense of humor, lactose intolerance, acid reflux, a wonderful loving man, and a deep appreciation for wine.
While I now value and respect the heavy dose of genuineness that loss brings with it, the truth is, I would have gone to almost any lengths to have prevented the loss of my parents, my home, and a few other things on a long list of loss. If only it had been possible.
I figure things this way: life doesn’t play fair. Given the opportunity, why should I?
I’m not sure what that says about me. I’m not at all sure I want to know.
Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen - Tammy:
I used to be such a sore loser until I got fired at age 49. This made me feel like such a loser for a while, until it led to so much good fortune!
First it led to me starting my own dating service then to meeting the love of my life and finally to becoming a writer at age 50.
Thanks to one asshole of a boss, I have now discovered why I’m here… BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME!
Joan Cooper - You really have a knack for knowig what I need to hear on a given day.
The Greeks were right – life is a tragedy. But – if you study history it is stated that out of this view of tragedy, came heroism, and out of that came comedy.
Well ok – I am not laughing either, but that is a fact. I have lived a long time, but I still don’t know what it is all about. Some things are closer to the heart than others. Hold onto those.
Sandra Sallin - I’m with you Tammy. I can’t add more. You’ve said it all and well.
Suerae Stein - Wonderful post, Tammy. I am, no doubt, a very sore loser. Always have been, but have somehow been able to pretend that I was a good loser. A good sport, as they say. But if I’m being completely honest, I am not a good sport. I try to cheat aging every chance I get and I’m sure I’ve wasted plenty of money and time trying not to lose my looks than I care to admit! As they say, acceptance is the key. I guess that when you’ve finally accepted a loss, that’s when you are ready to learn the lessons learned from it.
Tammy - Laura Lee, that is the BEST story ever! I hope you send that asshole of a boss a Christmas card every year thanking him for firing you. I would. But that’s just how I roll. I too have had the fortunate opportunity to stand back to look at a canvas that time built. I better understand that the divorce happened because it was a bad fit. It happened so that I would have time to heal before finding that special someone who truly loves me the way I’ve always longed to be loved. It didn’t seem like at the time, but it was one of God’s greatest blessings. Long live the losers of the world….and may we reap all that we deserve!
Tammy - Hi Joan, I LOVE, love your Greek analogy, and agree with it completely. I believe Shakespeare would have concurred as well. I’m not sure any of us really know what life is all about. I’m not at all sure we were meant to. I am sure that we were meant to live it to the hilt. Go big … or go home. As far as losing goes, I will never be a fan of it. I know it has brought me better things along the way, but when it comes to losing those things we can never reclaim, well, the hurt is endless, and who the hell is a fan of that?!
Tammy - Hi Sandra, thanks for the kind words. I think that if we are lucky to live long enough, we all lose those things that feel unbearable. Taking things “on the chin” has never been my forte. Still, I appreciate the irony that often plays out before our eyes in the years that lie ahead. It’s pretty awesome when you think about it.
Tammy - Hi Suerae, I so agree with you, my darling. Passiveness is highly over rated. When life grabs something from us, something we are not yet ready to let go of, is it any wonder that we are left pissed off and a bit broken? Acceptance has come to me, but it has taken years to find its way. From a distance we can see more clearly. Still, time doesn’t stop the ache of any loss. At least not for me. Not as of yet. Fight the good fight …. you were born to rally!
Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen - I never thought about it before, but perhaps a thank you note really is in order!
mel glenn - Despite your losses, Tammy, you are still way ahead. Look at all you’ve accomplished, principally, wisdom. There will always be people better off and worse off than you, and you seemed to have come to terms with the ups and downs of life. I get very upset when I habitually lose things, like keys, but try to tell myself it’s small potatoes.
Tammy - Hi Mel, small potatoes is right. Although, not so small if you are in a hurry to go somewhere. I remember when my divorce was in full throttle, how very angry I was that, despite all my efforts, my life was not going to pan out the way I thought it should have. I felt so cheated. Little did I understand that years later, a young boy I had been friends with in high school would resurface and make my life a loving retribution to all that I thought I had given up. You just never know until you can stand years back from it all. Thanks for your kindness towards me. You don’t know how very much I appreciate it.
Melanie Kissell - “I’ve also gained a bit along the way. A few extra pounds (thanks for nothing), computer savvy, dear old friends, a rip-roaring sense of humor, lactose intolerance, acid reflux, a wonderful loving man, and a deep appreciation for wine.”
Me, too!! (F.Y.I. – wine is pretty much a staple in my house at this stage in my life) LOL!
Tammy, I realize there are lessons to be learned from every good and not-so-good experience in life. However, I resent the opportunity to find some kind of value in “losing”. I royally stink at the attempt to look for the silver lining in the dark clouds of loss.
Love your sincere, off-the-cuff, down-and-dirty perspective! Thanks for another worthwhile read. 🙂
A Pleasant House - Have you been peeking into my brain? I can accept the losses and changes and interior information life throws at me- but I’m not giving up my red stilettos!
Kitt Crescendo - Like you, I have a competitive streak a mile wide. The problem with that professionally speaking, I’ve learned, is that people can and will use that to manipulate you into taking on more and more until you’re all work, no balance. The thing that suffers? The stuff that matters. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Knowing this is an issue, I’m teaching myself to recognize what I tend to get competitive over and use it only on the more productive, positive aspects of my life. I hate to lose, but I’d hate to lose things like time with the people I love more.
It’s also taught me that there are certain career fields that, though I’d be successful, it’s better for me to stay away. I don’t ever want to lose touch with my creative self and give up my writing and music again.
Tana Bevan - Many years ago I befriended a woman who’d survived WWII in Germany. She was forever saying, “You can never fill a full cup.” For something new to enter your life, something has to leave. True, some of the losses really suck. But the bottom line is, if nothing changed we wouldn’t change. And, for better or for worse, we’re all about change.
Tammy - Hi Melanie, so, so happy to have you here, my friend. So happy. I too stink at finding the silver lining of loss. Bah! Clearly we have an attitude problem. Happy to have the company!
Tammy - Hi Pleasant House, God bless you for hanging on to those gorgeous shoes. I fractured my right foot in 3 places last year. I’ve never made back into my fav heels. Yet, they still sit proudly in my closet and will probably need to be donated upon the occasion of my death. Because there are a few things that I simply refuse to let go of! My house … my rules.
Tammy - Hi Kitt, competitiveness can absolutely be a breeding ground for over achieving. Fortunately for me, I have just the right amount of ‘lazy’ in my system. If it’s something on my radar, its because I’ve deemed it worthy. There are a lot of things that don’t make the cut these days, for the very astute reasons you mentioned. Give up your writing and music? Dear Lord, woman, don’t make me come over there! Never!
Tammy - Hi Tana, I so appreciate you sharing that particular story. It will be a mantra of mine for years to come (assuming I live that long). I’ve embraced change for years. Sometimes with less grace than what would have been suitable. But I have always fully understood that being relevant means forever evolving. And so it goes. Clearly, not without some grumbling.
Kitt Crescendo - Truthfully, I never thought the day would come where I’d get so caught up in work that I wouldn’t have time for my writing and music. I always thought they were things I’d “make time” for. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. My singing was limited to home and the shower…or singing along to the radio. My writing became such a rarity that when my sister mentioned how cool it would be for me to write a personalized poem for my bridal party I froze…afraid I’d lost the ability. It had been THAT long and I hadn’t even noticed until she asked me to use the skill. I won’t even tell you how rarely I got to church. My family got the over tired, “whatever’s left” side of me. Yup. At 40 I’ve come to realize that moving up the corporate ladder just isn’t as important to me as loving my friends and family…or writing or singing…or God. And I’m happy to compete with anyone in those areas. 😉
Melanie Kissell - Well, Tammy, if I’m going to share an attitude problem with another person on earth …
I’m just happy it’s you! LOL!
Tammy - Kitt, I’m SO in your corner! Amazing the knowledge we acquire as we get older. I realized that I was fricken brilliant when I turned 50. Haaa! Stay the course. You’re in damn good company!
Tammy - Melanie, you took the words right out of my mouth! The feeling is mutual, my sister from another mother!
Chloe Jeffreys - Damn. I just lost my house, a whole shitload of people I thought were my friends, and my dog. Life just sucks sometimes, doesn’t it? But I’m finally coming out on the other side and seeing that it’s all okay. I survived. I’m even thriving, thankyouverymuch.
I’m happier without the big mortgage payment. Most of those people weren’t my friends and I knew it, but I was to cowardly to walk away first. And my dog? Nope. Still not happy about my dog.
But that’s life. And I learned a shit ton of stuff that I needed to learn. Like that I’m a good person. And I’m strong. And I’m resilient. And I’m a survivor. And I’m a good writer. And I can trust myself to love people again because what happened is more about them that it was about me anyway, so I don’t have to take on other people’s shit if I don’t want to.
Anyway, good post. It resonated with me. Thanks!
Tammy - Chloe, sometimes life seems like a country western song….not in a good way. I get it. I lived it. More than once. I agree that losing friends that were anything but is a hit to the soul and the ego we sometimes depend on. You are better off without them in the long run. But you already know that. Losing my home is something that I never quite got over. Not the loss of the house itself, but how I could possibly let it all slip away. Haunting still. As far as losing your furry best friend, there are simply no words of comfort or explanation that would suffice. That kind of loss is of the truest nature, a forever pang that lives in the heart that held them so dear. It can only be tempered by being owned by another furry companion …. eventually. My heart goes out to you, my friend. Life is a fickle bitch but its all we’ve got. If it’s true that misery loves companion, you have plenty of company in me.