You blink and a month of the new year is gone. yikes.
I was thinking over the past few days about choices. Choices we make, paths of life that we choose and where those paths lead us. Part of the reason I have been thinking about this is because I have been going through my old journals trying to write my book. (Well, one of them at least.) Don't worry, names will be changed to protect the innocent (or criminal). I have been thinking alot of where my choices have led me and where different choices might have taken me.
It's kind of like that movie Sliding Doors (no, I haven't seen it, but I understand the concept.) You catch your train and your life goes one way, you miss your train and take another, and your life is completely different.
On the surface, my life is good. A friend who will see her 35th birthday before I see mine recently told me that she hated me. This revelation apparently came to her after seeing my family photo, or one of the pictures of Brooklyn smiling and laughing and just being her cute little self. This friend commented that she'd be happy with a guy who was semi-normal, not incredibly horrible to look at, and appropriately aged who would just ask her out on a date. To her, my success is measured by my husband and my family.
Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence (or as Irma Bombeck used to say, on the other side of the septic tank.) That particular friend envies my home life, whereas I (or other of my married friends) might envy, and to some extent even miss, the footloose and fancy free lifestyle of being single. (Or at least, we miss the lifestyle of having our own space and not tripping over toys every 2 feet.)
So what were my choices? Well, if I go back to high school, I suppose I could scrutinize several choices that might have affected my life's outcome and brought me to where I am right now. I went through high school and college with the single-minded goal of law school, and my choices reflected that, for the most part. For example, my senior year of high school, despite massive protestations from "Del," I quite the high school band. I packed up my trumpet, relegated it to my closet and moved on. A choice. One that I made then without much thought to the future or to what my trumpet might get me. These days, when I go out to see a punk band play, that has a horn section, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had kept playing, auditioning for a band or an orchestra somewhere. Would I be on a stage right now? Would I be travelling the world?
Another choice- singing. I sang in the school choir, and I liked it, and I think I was pretty good. But it was never something I saw as a vehicle to carry me into the future. I saw it as a way to pass time and have a little fun. As I look back now, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had continued to sing into college, or taken voice lessons. Especially these days in the glow of American Idol, I can't help but wonder whether I would have cut a record or be singing to packed houses. (Odds are, I would not, but it's fun to wonder, right?)
A favorite "what if" for me has been basketball. I loved to play. I played in high school and for 2 years of college. A bum knee sidelined me for part of a season and after that, I felt hopeless (there were other factors at play) in continuing to strive for playing time. So I gave it up. I can't help but wonder what would have come of my sticking to it? At the time, I saw basketball as a way to stay in shape and to stay competitive. I loved to play and as long as I could still play at a certain level, I did. But when that got taken away (a la' my injuries), I was still focused on the law school finish line, and so basketball simply fell away. Even today I still miss that time of my life. Would I have gone pro? Would I have toured Europe with a team there? Could I have cut it playing in the big leagues? Who knows. Again, fun to wonder sometimes, but these are the choices we make.
I could go on with various choices, things that I chose to do (or not do) because of money (or a lack of it), places that I opted not to go, trips that I convinced myself I could not afford to take. I would not say that these things are regrets. I look at my life today and I love what I have, and I love my life and my family. When I wonder about the swinging doors in my life, my choices, I think that if I had made a different choice anywhere along the line, I might not have what I do today. I know for a fact that if I had not chucked it all, packed my car and moved to LA, I would not have met my husband in law school and I would not have my little girl. The rest of the stuff is a throw-away if you consider that choice as being fundamental. And there have been choices since the move. I could have pursued a career in federal law enforcement. I tested for the FBI and Secret Service. But both of those programs had pretty strict re-location policies, that are difficult if you have a family tagging along. Yes, I think about how that might have been, jogging along side a limo going down Pennsylvania Avenue, but what about the family that I would not be able to have.
I'm not sure there is a point here, and I know there is not an answer. Sometimes it is fun to consider what might have been or things that might have become, but I guess in the grand scheme of things, we have to live in the "now." I can long for the bygone days, friendships, places that I've been, or I can look forward to what's coming next, the places that I will go, the friends I have now, the friends I have yet to meet. Ultimately, that makes for a much more satisfying journey.