If you had asked me as a child where I thought I’d be at my current age, I would have answered without hesitation, “Married with kids.” If you had asked me as a teen, I would have given you the same reply, while adding that I’d be a famous movie star with a house in the Hills. Well, my younger self was pretty far off. I am not married. I do have the most perfect kid imaginable, but he has twice as many legs and quite a bit more fur than the children I was speaking of. I haven’t been on TV in a couple of years. And I don’t even want to get into my living situation. (I have been in house hunting hell for longer than I’d like to admit.) Basically, I am nowhere near where I had expected I would be. Although the majority of the time I’m okay with it, sometimes I can’t help but become frustrated. And, even worse, disappointed. Maybe it’s just that I become especially reflective this time of year, but I was wallowing the other day. Which got me to thinking. I have had some once-in-a-lifetime experiences, ones I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I’ve loved and been loved, I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places on earth. I mean, what else is there? But, I’ve also had some downright awful times. Ones that got me to thinking “What if…” What if I had said “yes” instead of “no”? What if I hadn’t met him? What if I’d stayed instead of gone? The problem with asking yourself those questions is that there’s no right answer. In fact, there’s no answer at all, which makes them particularly irritating or upsetting, depending upon your mood. You just go round and round until you wind up exactly where you began, dizzy with confusion. But, I actually came up with an answer to my “what ifs” the other day. Not so much a specific response, but more of a general understanding. Without the hard times, there would be no opportunity for the good times. You know that saying, “When one door closes, another one opens”? Kind of like that. The loss of one love allows the opportunity for another to enter. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself. I know that there’s a lot more out there, both marvelous and miserable. And I’m willing to hold on through the crappy times if my future joyous ones are anything like the gems I’ve know so far. So, even though my teenage self had no idea where her adult version would wind up, I’d like to think that she’d be impressed that we took the road less traveled. And that we’ve created a life that is more that could ever be summed up in a couple of words.
Photos by Michele LoBosco