This verb, meaning “to arm against” lived for 35 years, from 1623 to 1658. I think language shapes thought, and I wonder how much easier my life would have been if by age 35 I had obarmated myself for real life – or as Shakespere put it, “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” I had no weapons of defense when I became, as I dramatically put it, a “betrayed, rejected, abandoned woman.”

 The marriage of my expectations and the contract I thought I had with life were sacked like Rome by the Visigoths.

Never was there such a victim stumbling through the ruins of her dreams, suicidal, confused, worthy of all sympathy anyone and everyone could muster up.  

All that energy, all that pain, all that drama could have been channeled in more positive ways if I had understood, prior to the betrayal, that life happens, life changes, and all outer support systems are no more dependable than a cheap bra from WalMart.

I wasted two years of my life staring in a Greek drama over the loss of what I thought I deserved.  The Bible assures us that there is a time to mourn, and I believe that. Mourning was appropriate; the drama was not. By age 35 every one has wounds. This is the contract we have with life: you will be wounded.

Cry your heart out and then work on rebuilding your city. My 66-year-old-self wants to give my 35-year- old self a box of Kleenex, a kick in the butt, and a starter kit for reconstruction.

More important, how do we obarmate our children? I have not done a good job of it and I haven’t seen it discussed in parenting books. Some parents do it naturally: they are realists; they pass it on to their children along with the mashed potatoes. The rest of us need a “how to” book. An “Obarmating for Dummies” book, not another Chicken Soup book.


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