Michelle Obama will turn 45 years old 3 days before her husband is sworn in as President of the United States. Wow. I just turned 43. What the heck am I doing with my life? Not that my life is bad, but wow. Way to make me feel under-accomplished. And aren’t First Ladies supposed to be old and matronly? They all look that way in the pictures. Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush. But Michelle Obama is young and styling. And she seems so mature. I bet she doesn’t get drunk on sake every Thursday night.
I get that same “wow” feeling when I read some of the obituaries in the newspaper. Not so much the ones in the Palm Beach Post but in the New York Times. The people who came from nothing, survived horrors, made millions and devoted time and money to philanthropy while at the same time raising a family of 9 and re-inventing the wheel. I marvel at other people’s accomplishments and wonder what will be written about me when I die. “She drank sake every Thursday night. She was a lot of fun unless you were her liver (liver, not lover)”. Not too impressive.
I figure I have quite a few years to catch up to deceased people’s accomplishments. Maybe when I turn 50, I’ll win the Lotto, adopt 10 kids from underprivileged families in foreign countries, recover from the torture of having an ex-husband and invent a new cocktail. Actually, of those 4 things, the latter is probably the only one that will come true.
I don’t think I will ever catch up to Michelle Obama. Not just the “being married to the president thing”. My husband doesn’t have political aspirations, nor do I. It’s what she has accomplished in her own right as a well-educated, successful attorney, business executive, wife, mother and friend.
When I think about it though, I’ve had my own successes and accomplishments. I can share in the wife, mother and friend accomplishments though the wife thing took me an extra try. I have success in my little bookkeeping business. It allows me time and energy to achieve my other successes, particularly the mother thing. So, I guess it comes down to how you define yourself and how you define your own success.
So, I’ll keep reading the obituaries out of some strange, sick sense of fascination. And wish a Happy early Birthday to Michelle Obama! I hope you and I have many more years to enjoy the lives we work so hard at achieving.