Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Path Not Taken

Another wasted opportunity for sleep on a weekend morning, and I once again find myself sitting here in front of my computer.  As I laid awake in bed, I pondered the big picture of my life.  Sometimes I think we get caught up in minutiae.  Maybe if we're unhappy for reasons that we can't seem to identify, we should just take a step back and look at the big picture.

I feel as though my life has just been an endless string of regrets and disappointments.   The question is - why?  Don't I have a reasonably happy marriage, good job, etc, etc....?  The answer to those questions is yes, so then why do I feel this way so frequently?  Why do I always have this pervading sense that I am always missing out on things?

I was listening to the latest Elton John song from his new CD today.  The title is 'Home Again', and part of the chorus reads "We all dream of leaving but wind up in the end spending all our time trying to get back home again."   And I thought, "It never happened for me.  I'm still dreaming."   I also thought of my daughter, who is doing everything in her power to wind up living in another city when she graduates from college.   She might never come home again, but at least if she does, she can live out the rest of her life without regrets and "what ifs".  My husband lived in the New York City area for three years.  If I had a dollar for every time he's told me "you couldn't handle living there.  It's too fast, too high-pressure, the atmosphere is too intense.", I could probably afford to move there and see for myself.

I could make a list of all of the things I could have and should have done in the first half of my adult life.   But that would just be too depressing.  Big things, little things.  Life-altering things, little things that I've always wanted to do.  And I think I know now that the reason I haven't done a lot of these things is that I was waiting around for someone else to make them happen for me.  Parents, spouse, friends, whomever.  The end result is that I'm just an observer of other peoples' lives, other peoples' adventures, other peoples' experiences.

So, the question that I am asking myself now is this - what do I have the power to change going forward with what's left of my life?   Living in another city?  Doubtful.  But what about all of the little things that I haven't done?  The way I see it right now, there's never going to be a better time than right now for me to stop relying on the rest of humanity to provide me with experiences.

Seeing as how I recently returned home from a European vacation, this probably seems like a ridiculous blog entry.  But even that trip is an example of my inertia.  We were so busy concerning ourselves with our daughter's internship in France that we never bothered to plan out any sightseeing for ourselves.   So, while I wouldn't trade that experience for sitting home on my couch, it could have and should have been better.  And I have nobody to blame for that but myself.

I am full of resolve at this moment, but it may all crumble tomorrow or next week.  That seems to be the story of my life.   But, as Scarlett O'Hara famously said, "Tomorrow is another day."  Let's see what it brings.

And if I die having accomplished nothing else, at least I can say that I stripped naked and walked around on a nude beach.

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