Monday, June 22, 2009

What Would You....

In an attempt to see my "glass half full", I've written a lot lately about love stories, sentimental occasions and happy endings.  All are precious memories that warm my heart and help keep my "glass" on the full side.

In actuality, there have been many, many "glass half empty" days of late. I've attended far more funerals than weddings, receive more devastating news than my heart can hold and I carry with me a sense of loss and, occasionally, dread for what's to come.

Family members and friends are desperately ill; several have passed away in the recent months.  For some it was a "blessing" that ended suffering and illness, others were "blessed" to die peacefully in their sleep before their disease turned ugly.  And a few loved ones simply passed way much too young, with no warning--something I still have no words for.  Although I understand and firmly believe no one should suffer, on any level, when sick or passing, I am stunned by loss and sadness.  So I cling to cherished memories and hope, with time, that the sting will soften, although I doubt the pain will ever disappear.

Maybe losing friends and loved ones is the price you pay for reaching middle-age.  Our harsh reality is that life does not have any alumni.  With each loss, life seems to slow to a deafening silence.  Keeping the "glass full" requires much more work, at least for me, even though my life is good and happy and content.

This past weekend, I discussed my sadness with my Aunt who is also a Hospice counselor.  Simply put, she knows death and has experienced it more times than she can count in her long healthcare career.

As she helped guide me through my grief, she slowly shifted the conversation with positive "what if" type questions to help "full my glass" back up again.  One question, in particular, caught my attention and has been on my mind ever since....

If I had the chance to come back in another life, what or who would I want to be?

My first response, without a moment's hesitation, was to come back as a man, but only for 24 hours.

I've always tried to figure out the opposite sex and if I could change places for a day, and be a man, I would.  If it was a day that included great sex with a woman, reasoning with a woman and prioritizing life with a woman, well then, all the better.
Bring it on!  I think it would be fascinating.

My response was a first for my Aunt's "next life" question.  She was thinking more in terms of a full "next life", not 24 hours, but we had a good laugh even though she knew I was dead serious about my choice, no pun intended.

Life goes on and I'm still processing my sadness, but I can't stop wondering what it would be like to be someone else in the hereafter. If I couldn't be a man for 24 hours-- And believe me, 24 hours would be more than enough time for me to be a man-- I would want to come back as a much loved pet; the pampered, brushed, scratched, rubbed, kissed and fed treats all day long, kind of pet.  I think being a fur-ball with my owner wrapped around my tail would be a very nice life. 

What or who, given the opportunity, would you want to come back as?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor  -  Joanna


  1. Your aunt sounds like a neat individual.

    I'm not sure who I would come back as if I returned as a person, but if I were to return as an animal, I believe it would be a bird. A tropical parrot or an eagle. A bird who is strong, lives a long life and possibly mates for life. I've always wanted to fly. :-)

  2. Great question! And I have absolutely no idea.

    Probably someone really rich, to see if it's all it's cracked up to be.

  3. Having to learn the heartache of 'goodbye' is the price we pay for the joy of learning what love feels like...

    When I come back, I'll be the same spirit on the learning curve yet again. I will certainly be a different form...

    We come to this life as men to learn to, 'do.'

    We come to this life as women to learn to,'be.'

    To be a complete Human Being, we come back again and again to learn to balance those two critical skill sets.

    Or, perhaps I'll simply be my dog. Now that would be divine.

  4. I'm sorry you are going through a period with a lot of loss. Middle age is no place for the feight of heart, is it?

    Your aunt sounds like a wonderufl friend.

  5. Fascinating question to ponder! I think you hit the mark with coming back as a pampered pet... at least if my pets' lives are any indication of the luxury most other pets enjoy. I tell ya... I even raised pet ducks that got pampered.

    I'm so sorry you are in pain, Joanna. My greatest fear in life is losing someone I love very deeply - especially suddenly with no warning. Just the thought of death and grieving makes me shudder - but I also know that death is a part of life. And I have faith that whatever is on the other side will be so much more than our fleeting experience of life, that it will all be worth it in the end. For each of us and for those we must let go.

    My heart is with you.

  6. Honestly, I would want to start my life all over again but with the condition that I could start out with all the wisdom I have now. lol I'd love to see what my life would be like if I had made some different decisions. (good and bad! lol)

  7. I truly have no ideas. I know what you mean about losing those you care for, more and more as the years go on. I recently lost a friend who I often emailed with, we had enjoyed each other company at the last few class reunions. I knew he had health problems like all of us but all of a sudden one day his obit had been sent to our local paper. He lived about two hours away. It really bothered me. It was like "how could he do that, go off and leave me" when we were only friends. Isn't that weird?

  8. sorry to hear about your losses/illnesses among loved ones, it does seem to be a part of life that we have to come to terms with.

    I suppose it would be nice to come back as younger!

  9. How horrible to deal with loss and in many ways, you're never really prepared.

    I wish I could come back as my dad's mom. She passed away during childbirth, when my dad was a young boy. I never got to know her but she sounded like she was wonderful!

  10. When I go I want to come back as a cat. Lie on the bed sleeping all day, getting fed, petted and pampered then out on the prowl all night...

  11. What a burden of care you have. My sympathies to you.

    I have wracked my brain and can't come up with a single animal that I would want to be reincarnated as.
    The inability to speak is a big reason plus the fact that there are no guarantees you will be cared for. The world is a dangerous place for wildlife and pets.

  12. Such a great post. really makes me think.

  13. I'd like to come back as myself, only this time with the wisdom gained so I could be easier going and nicer as a kid.

  14. I am so sorry for your losses. I have lost several relatives lately, too. I would not want to live my life over and know what I know now because I think I would make bigger mistakes than the ones I made in this life. I would have to think about who I would like to come back as if it was another person or animal. Maybe, an eagle, so that I could spread my wings and fly over land and sea!

  15. I am sorry you have had so much loss around you too. It seems to come in waves. Your Aunt must be a very special woman - now that is wonderful work. Very emotional work.

    To be honest I wouldnt like to come back as anyone. No, not even a man. Maybe a fly on a few strategic walls if Obama doesn't swat me that is lol!! That is not to say I dont believe in coming back in another form. I dont know, that is possible but I wouldnt want to do it. If heaven exists I am not coming back I can tell you.

    This might be a very strange thing to say but I accept that we are here for a short time. That none of us know our use by dates and we dont know what is around the corner. If I found out I was dying tomorrow I would be sad that I wouldnt see grandchildren but I think I would be accepting.

    I have been delving into this subject for some time. I am a firm believer that our spirit never dies. I have gone to three psychics/clairvoyants in my life and at the risk of sounding crazy each one has said that my spirit guide is my grandmother and described her in detail. Hearing her messages (which no-one would have known)just makes me feel ok about death. Its not an end but just another door we go through.

    My father has also spoken about a time he was in intensive care many years ago and he saw a bright light and heard people calling him to come. My daughter was visiting him at the time and he told her to go and get my mother because he didnt know whether he should go with them or not until my mother said it was ok to go (my Dad was on painkillers but who knows). Given he is with us ten years later Mum must have said no, lol.

    I am not a big animal lover but I find watching animal documentaries is really useful too. I love David Attenborough ones. They help to show that we all have a cycle of life.

    I think acceptance is the key. I think each of use has a different journey in life and people come into our lives to teach us things. People see living on earth as the pinnacle when maybe we should look as death in that way. It happens so we should all be prepared when and if it does. Doesn't mean its not sad and devastating to lose people we love.

    Middle age is a time for reflection. the good thing is we still have time to correct a few things and try a few things. My advice is to live in the present. Do the bucket list. I also had lots of questions about this issue (inc the why do bad things happen to good people and I have also taken some time to develop my spiritual side a bit more. It needed some work. So I have been reading and consequently sound like a nutter, he he.

    Hope you had a great family wedding.

  16. I'm with you about being a pet. I'd want to be my pet, though and I don't think that's quite possible.
    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Best family friend in the world passed away 5 years this year. I'm sorry but I don't think the grief ever goes away for those who've loved you back, when they're gone. MIL passed away 3 years ago. The void is still there for me. Blogging helps. I've met so many wonderful people who help me through those tough times. So sorry for your losses.....
    Big hugs for you, Joanna!!

  17. thanks for stopping by today. a man for 24 hours. if that all it would take. lol. think the pet is a much better choice. Sorry lifes been a tough row recently. better days ahead. off to check out some of your others posts.

  18. It is very sad losing loved ones, certain people and the relationships we have with them just cannot be replaced.

    This is a juicy question, Joanna. Experiencing sex from a man's perspective would be very interesting to discover. I could think of probably 100 people I would like to be, if only for 24 hours. Singer, Pink, who is rocking Australia at the moment with sell out concerts would be my number one choice.

    Thanks for the extra mention top right.

  19. While my beliefs follow Liily's. and I don't believe this would be possible, if it were, I do have somebody I would like to be for just a week. That would be my mother. We have never gotten along, never seen eye to eye and most days I wonder how on earth I came out her body. So I think walking in her shoes and feeling what she feels, would truly help me understand her and love her on a deeper, different level. I wish I had a mother daughter relationship with her, but I am old enough to know that my fantasy of that, is just that, it's a fantasy. In reality, my mother and I spend far more time on the outs. We struggle to function together and yet we both continue to try and only end up hurting each other over and over and over.
    Sorry for the vent. That would be my choice though.

  20. I could really relate to this post. I've had 2 unextected deaths this past week. Really out of left field and it slaps you right in the face.

    I think a well-loved pet would be a perfect existence.

  21. You fascinate me, Joanna. It is rare that a blogger makes me stop and think as much as you do.

    I love it.

    Who would I come back as? I'm not sure. Whenever I've played this game, it has always been along the lines of what decade would you live in? That question I can answer...which is the 1920's or the 1950's. Both seem like a fairly happy time in American history.


  22. You know, my culture always assumes that reincarnation is a happening thing. But I too have seen too many deaths in the family, the effect of which was magnified because most of what we consider family were resident in different countries. For some reason, the mechanics of nursing, understanding, nurturing, and seeing a person through his/her last moments, has kind of blown all this reincarnation stuff out of my mind. I dont want to come back as anyone. (One assumes that coming back as a lizard, housefly, GWB, or a tree is equally possible).

    I just want to live this life, in a decent, altruistic way, making a difference to someone, who simply may not be as lucky as me in some ways. And its not about money at all.

  23. I learned this from a young chap:

    It takes no time to fall in love, but it takes years to know what love is. And that it takes some old to make you young and it takes a loss before you found it.

    Life is wonderful. Try as you may, but which blessing you have today would you trade?

  24. First of all, I want to say how much I look forward to reading your blog and miss you when you aren't "on" for a couple of days...that is the selfish side of me shining through!

    I agree with Maggie; I wouldn't mind coming back as myself only with the knowledge and confidence I have now...and maybe side stepping the school years somehow!

    Congrats on the interview.

  25. Wow, great post. Sad, but I suppose a reality. I'm 44 so I'll be going through the same thing shortly. Death is so so so sad, but yet then I think those people must have filled their purpose here and are ready to go on to the next step. Plus now they know all the secrets. :)

    In my next life, I don't know. Hopefully the karma and dharma I'm working on will give me something decent. :)

  26. This post really hits home with me, as I am grappling with my FIL's dementia (and trying to help my husband get Dad into the right assisted living home) AND dealing with my widowed mom's health issues. Also lost my only uncle to cancer less than 2 yrs ago ... and looking hard to keep the old sense of "joy" in our empty nest. I still believe this is part of life - and accept it along with all the good we've had. As for coming back in another form, I watch my cats and think they've got it made ....

  27. We-ell ... great post and great question :)

    Firstly, although the frequency of losing family at least may increase with age, losing friends is more a function of having them than how old you are (even when young they move on or move away). If you don't have friends, if you don't let people into your life, then you won't be hurt by their loss, but what a dull and often pointless existence that would be.

    Given that I'm not entirely sure I want to go through all this again, what would I want to be? Oh, VERY definitely a woman, but unlike you I'd want a whole life like that, but for much the same reasons as you. I just think it would take a lifetime to understand the female sex, rather than just twenty four hours. However, talking of the sex angle (as you did), most women CAN get far more out of sex than most men - whether they do or not often depends on their partner, of course.

  28. I just want to be skinny in my next life...that's all I ask. :-)

  29. Your aunt sounds great. I love aunties. They are the best and I am sorry about your loss.

    I wouldn't want to come back as anyone else but myself. I just would do things better. Great question though.

  30. I think the magic is in the not knowing...

    But, I've always been partial to monkeys. Not sure why...

    I am sorry for your sadness and losses. There certainly is no rhyme or reason...

  31. I don't know, and quite frankly, I don't want to know :)

    The not knowing is part of the adventure, for me!

    And you are so right about middle age--lots of loss. Losing my parents to illness, and a good friend in a tragic accident, have taught me how precious every day of life is.

  32. Great post...sorry for your recent losses, trials and tribulations! Coming from a large family I've had my share of losses...most recently my Aunt who shared my birthday...40 years I celebrated my 40th this month, a birthday for the first time without her. I like you, have a hard time with it all. Still trying to figure out and accept: )

    Good Luck on your're a beautiful person, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  33. You are an interesting person, Miss Joanna Jenkins. I think your aunt has a very good heart.
    Cute Hubby told me if he could come back, he would be a ground hog.
    For me, once is enough. Although the thought of non-existence is scary, I guess that I should be happy with what I've done and what I have now. When it's done, it's done. When my mother was dying, she told me not to be sad. She said that it's only sleep.

  34. I'm sorry you've had such a rough time lately. I know it's hard when so much hits at once. I agree a lot with Lilly but I'm not very articulate so it's kinda like "yeah, what she said".

  35. Thank you all for your support and kind words. I appreciate you so much.

    Yes, my Aunt is pretty amazing. I think you would all love her.


  36. Ahhhh....long discussion for me :) Good post woman....:)

  37. I'd come back as Catherine Zeta Jones. Before she hooked up with creepy old Mike, that is. ;-)

  38. I would like to give my own life another try. :-)



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