I am an old man and have always felt that my life is a landscape of all the mistakes I have committed. I am not saying this out of pity or for sympathy but as a statement of truth. The reason that I am talking about this now is that I want to help someone see how things are always going wrong and if they feel as though they don’t know where the fault lies, then they should know how to realize their mistake and set things right.
As I write this journal of my life, I am sure there is a young person out there who will be able to relate to this, correct their mistakes, and improve their lives. I will start right from the time I feel that I was an adult and thereby responsible for all the things that went wrong with my life.
In matters of the heart go with the heart not the brain: As soon as I finished my graduation, I got a good job in a good company selling office supplies. I was a good salesman, dedicated to my work and was making good money in commissions. At that point I was in love with Susan, my classmate from college. Sweet, innocent and hopeful Susan, whose whole life revolved around making me happy. She was a nice girl who had started working as a secretary in a firm of lawyers.
We had agreed that we would get married once we had enough money saved between the two of us for the deposit of our home. Things were chugging along smoothly when I made my first mistake. I let my ambition and need to get ahead in life using shortcuts take the wrong decision. It all started when I went to deliver some papers to my boss’s home. His young and lovely daughter Rita opened the door. You know where I am going with this. The minute I saw her, my mind started working overtime; I did not just see a lovely young lady, but I saw a shortcut for all my dreams and ambitions, more so when I realized that Rita was an only child.
My mind started racing and I started rationalizing that by linking my life and fortunes with Rita, I would be making my life easier. I would not only get a lovely and smart wife but I would no longer need to slog towards a deposit for a new house. I would no doubt be hurting Susan but there was no helping it. I went about setting my plan in motion, which started with wooing Rita. The one thing that I did not want to do at that point was tell Susan; after all I still needed her if things did not work with Rita. Soon Rita and I were going out with a stamp of approval from her father, my boss. He was thrilled at the way things had panned out; Rita had been a concern for him with her wild ways and he was thrilled to see her settle down with a steady guy.
Just before I was about to propose to Rita, my boss called me in and asked me about my plans for Rita and myself. It was with some apprehension, that I told him my intentions. He seemed delighted and promised to transfer his share in the firm to Rita’s name once we had gotten married. He told me about the house he was going to gift his daughter for the wedding. At that moment, I felt as though my dreams had come true, the only thing left to do was tell Susan and break things up with her. That evening I called Susan and asked her to meet me as I had something important to discuss with her. I wanted to do this before proposing to Rita just to relieve my conscience.
I took her to a popular restaurant hoping that the public place will deter her from making a scene. Once we were seated and placed our orders, I looked into her hopeful face and said “Susan, you know how fond I am of you, but in recent times I have been seeing someone else. Just yesterday I plan to propose to her tomorrow and hope she will accept. I want you to know that I will have nothing but warm feelings in my heart for all the time we spent together.”
At first, Susan thought that this was all a big joke but when she realized that I was serious, her face started to crumble. She gathered her things and got up and said “Joe, I hope you will always be happy” and she walked away with her head held high. As I watched her leave, I could feel a small twinge pricking at my conscience.
However, I managed to get over the guilt and went about proposing to Rita and she accepted. I was happy and elated; my dreams were coming true. Not only was I getting a house and wife and my future in the firm was assured.
The beginning of my new life was pretty good but soon the cracks started to appear. Rita was a spoilt girl who would do nothing around the house. If questioned she would throw the fact that the house we were living in was hers.
She refused to curb her spending and would run to Daddy when I refused to pay her bills.
My father-in-law would keep me in line at home and office holding the shares and house that he had transferred to Rita’s name.
Soon I was doing nothing but running around keeping things peaceful at home and office. I remember thinking that my marriage is not working – tell me what to do.
As life passed on we had children, but they too were bought up on the dictates of my in-laws and Rita, which meant they were spoilt rotten and had no values at all. They treated me with the same contempt as their grandparents and mother did.
I started longing for the simple dreams and plans I shared with Susan, who had gone about her life in a better way. She had used up her savings to study law and had joined the firm where she worked as a secretary, as a lawyer. I could only look on as she made a success of her career and marriage (she met someone who appreciated her and married him).
Today I am a bitter old man, alienated from his family wondering, “Things are always going wrong; is it my fault?” When I think about it, it is and here are some lessons that I learnt:
· Follow your heart
· Never step on someone’s feelings to get ahead
· There is no shortcut to success; you have to pay your dues
· Don’t make the mistake of looking for an easy deal; you always have to pay
· The hurt you inflict on others will come back to you
· Happiness does not lie in wealth but love, affection and family