Saturday, June 13, 2009
I received this card in the mail yesterday-a thank you from a young woman who just graduated from high school and is planning on going off to college in the fall. After reading her note of thanks, I wondered what she wishes for...she is so young.
I remember graduating from high school and not really knowing what I wanted to do. College was expected, but like most of the decisions I have made in my life, what's expected of me causes me to do the opposite. I'm not sure what this streak is that has driven me these many years. If someone says that I can't, or that I should, or must, I pull a 180! I bristle at 'following the crowd' and, to this day, I don't understand this quirk in my character. So I venture down these paths that nobody else is on, traveling solo, questioning my choices, so unsure, but too stubborn to turn back.
Things have usually worked out for the best. Looking back over the last thirty-some years of my life, I can think of really only one regret... I did finally go off to college...at the age of 29; I did marry and have children...at the ages of 36 and 41. And now graduate school at 55. By the time I finish in a few years, I will be ready to tap my IRA's! Tess and I will be writing our graduation thank you notes together. It seems a long way off, but I know in my heart, the time will be here in the blink of an eye.
There are days...when I wish.....I had done things differently. At the tender age of 18. Or when I was 27, or 36, or 43... I understand that if I had chosen the 'expected path', I wouldn't have the children I gave birth to. And I wouldn't have those memories I hold so dear. And I would have missed out on the loves and the heartbreaks that brought me to where I am today.
As my birthday approaches, I find myself thinking about my future a lot. I wonder what I will be doing after I finish graduate school. I wish for a long and healthy life to accomplish so many things, but what if I run out of time?
Somedays I wish for a clone-Me1 and Me2-to catch up on all those years between then and now, and into the future. I know I'm sounding a bit nostaglic, but I can't help it. I want it all. I've put in my time. I've catered to everyone elses' wishes. Being away these last few weeks made me realize how different my life would be if it was just me. Don't get me wrong, I missed my family, but the reality of having a family changes the things I can wish for.
The collective wisdom tells me to be careful what I wish for...and to that, I promise, I will.