In 2011, I lost one of the best friends I have ever had. She made me laugh until I hurt. I lost her because I told her that her life was within her own control and pointed out that she was making choices ~ simple choices ~ that were contributing to her circumstance…just as we all do. I learned the hard way myself long ago that the only way to direct my future was to take responsibility for my present and the part I played in getting there. We are not powerless if we take responsibility. She hated this (and apparently me) and stopped speaking to me entirely. I miss her. If I had it to do all over again knowing this would be the outcome…I would tell her the very same thing. I love her that much.
This notion of choices came up in a very personal way for me this week as my plane was approaching Rochester for landing after 10 days in Spain and 4 more in NYC. We approached over Lake Ontario which does not look nearly as polluted from up above but slowly into view came the factory smoke stacks, and the lookalike row houses. I could hear audible boring reaching into the sky waiting to choke the life out of me. Home? This is my home?
I live here for my children and I enjoy them as people. But, I am also frustrated living here. It is not a place that serves me. It enflames my health problems, and I am bound dealing with a divorce that somehow defies description. The climate is cold and the job opportunities few. While there are pockets of artists it is difficult to find them and, at times, this place feels creatively barren. I don’t have many close friends here. I don’t have much support. Life is difficult for me here.
I felt the familiar panic take hold just before we touched down until I remembered my friend and the advice I gave her. Choices. Sometimes we have at our disposal big choices such as the ability to change physical location or a job. In my case, these are not practical choices that I can make. But, there are always choices.
I could choose to look at the next 2,040 days until my twins go to college as purgatory. Or, I could choose to find joy in each of those days and to look at the remaining time spent here as a necessary element to the fullest creation of me. You know, like when you put something in the crock pot and it has to wait for 10 hours before it fully becomes what it is intended to be. Some of the ingredients alone aren’t too fabulous. Like tarragon. Have you even eaten that solo? Yuck! But, a little tarragon and other spices + some fresh organic vegetables and poultry + time? Well….that’s a different story entirely. In the end the dish wouldn’t be nearly as pleasing without all of the ingredients – the ones you like, some that you don’t, and a whole lot of time.
There will be days that are more difficult than others, I am sure of it, but I am choosing to look at this next little bit of my life with this mindset. Now the panic is replaced with (dare I say it?) almost a strange excitement about what will come.
And with that….I’ll get back to simmering.