I recently appeared on a radio program as a guest. The subject of the program was songs that speak our feelings. We collected requests from listeners for songs. Perhaps because the radio host, myself and the other two guests were all women, we received emails and fax messages from female listeners across a wide range of ages.
Every person wrote not only the name of the song they wanted, but when and under what circumstances they listened to it in the past. "When I lost my husband of many years, I was cheered up by this song," wrote one listener. "I quietly handed this CD over to my son, who was becoming a shut-in," wrote another. Yet another listener sent a story that made me worry a bit, reading, "When I reunited with this person who I used to like, we were both married. I now keep in contact with this person as a friend, and I put my feelings in this song."
At any rate, I really feel that women have a lot of changes in their lives. From marriage to childbirth to child-raising, their roles in life change around quickly and drastically. Sometimes they may live overseas as their husband's jobs are relocated, or they may suddenly have to deal with caring for an elderly relative. Having children is a happy thing, but they are also the source of great concern, such as when they won't talk to their parents, or when they are slow in becoming independent. Women's lives don't go at all according to their plans.
Neither the radio show personality nor I have children. We occasionally do jobs together once every few years, and our situations are similar. When the radio show ended at around 11 p.m., we went out for drinks, and remarked on our carefree lives.
The national government is pushing a goal to ensure active lives for all citizens, creating a society where people can have and raise children without concern, and not have to worry about quitting their jobs to care for elderly family. I will be perfectly happy if that happens, but I don't want the national government or government organs telling people how to live, and even if people decide their own lives, things don't necessarily go to plan. When things don't go to plan, we don't have to think of our lives as failures. Every life is a unique one that only that person can live. Whether that life is one that we chose or one that came unexpectedly, we should be proud and say, "My life is fine as it is."
I myself did not live focusing solely on my work. But before I knew it, I had become this age. Still, as I drank good wine with that radio show host who I've long known, I felt, "This life isn't so bad." (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)