Now, where did I leave that?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Alternate Lives

  As happens far more than one might wish, today I'm reminded of the job--no, profession--I 'should' have had, that work I once upon a time truly believed I would be doing. Oh, I dabbled here & there with wanting to be a vet, or a marine biologist, but what my heart and mind truly longed for was words. I wanted to be an English professor (and best-selling novelist on the side, of course). When my oh-so-naive friends and I dreamt of the future, when we sat on our high school's leafy, shaded patio that overlooked the Hudson, we imagined life in the far distant lands of 30. Those plans and dreams were uttered with certainty and a tinge of holy reverence (as dreams should be expressed). I visioned myself spending my days in the hallowed halls of academia, awakening the sleeping passion for Shakespeare and Whitman I believed latent in most young people, and my evenings and weekends writing away in "a dilapidated beach house done in shades of gray", unencumbered by marriage but certainly not alone and celibate. Having spent my entire childhood learning what a parent shouldn't be, I was adament that I would be a lousy mother, so would spare myself and any children the pain and fear I'd known, remaining childless.

  Yeah....so, 2 now-adult children I love beyond measure, an ex-husband and 33 years later, I'm not a professor of anything. I barely write, eternally paralyzed by assorted fears that frame any words I commit to paper (yes, other than blogging, when I do beat down fear & write, it's pen making love to paper, not fingers tapping keys). I have a job that certainly sounds good; I'm grateful for it in this economy, and am smart enough to know in many ways I'm lucky to have it, even if it couldn't be a much worse fit for me in its reality. I don't live anywhere near the ocean, and while our house perpetually needs this or that attended to, it's not dilapidated, and I'd have hated a place that was. I suspect what I envisioned then would be called 'shabby chic' today, or perhaps rustic....

  Each morning I drive to my 'job' (not my profession), crossing the river with the Catskill mountains in my rearview mirror. Each evening I return, greeted by those mountains and their many moods, to our cozy little house and the womon who is my heart, my home. When it's warm, we sit out on the porch for dinner, watching the hummingbirds, marveling at the green abundance of our gardens. We fend off Yeti & Lola (but I sneak food to Ms. Mots when Linda pretends not to see) until we're done, then share morsels with them, and Susie and Dottie. When the hummingbirds retreat and bats start their Cirque du Soleil performance overhead, we meander inside to our livingroom with the red wall to talk, watch TV while I knit or spin....the latter two interrupted when Elf decides it's time to be in my lap and adored. It's for sure not the life I planned....my imagination was never that rich, my dreams not mature enough to know such sweetness existed.

  What about you? What plans did you make way back then? Are you at peace with the life that really happened while you were lost in dreams and plans?

7 comments:

Michaele said...

Very well written. I have always believed that every step we make is what brought us where we are today and I think for both of us, there are no regrets.

AkasaWolfSong said...

Michaele has said the words of my heart here.

I was a dreamer of many things as I grew up. Coming from very dysfunctional roots I managed to do quite well in school and wanted to be a Librarian. My love still is Books and information, of all kinds and moving away from that it was Photography but if you've ever seen any of my pictures it is so not any thing I would be good at, lol.
And like you Ash I never wanted children but had three of my own, all grown now and have some grands besides, which is my greatest accomplishment so far.
I live now to love Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants and hope with what time I remain can bring some love and good to the world.
What a poignant post today...and I'm so glad I came to read. I loved your glimpse into your world.
Have a beautiful evening Sister Soul...
xoxo

Dawn Z said...

Funny. I was thinking something similar today. I certainly didn't plan my life to go the way it has thus far, but I wouldn't trade it for anything I had planned. Even the crap times were important.

Jen said...

Beautifully written. I can't even begin to get into how many lives I've been through! You seem to be at peace with yourself, and that's the best thing.

the wild magnolia said...

i wanted to be free of restraints. i wanted to be my own boss. i married at 17, my first daughter at 18, three years later another daughter, six year later a son. i had no plan, i had no goal. father and mother left before i was a year old. i grew up feeling deserted even though i did have a good home. i was encouraged to "get" my education. i was more interested in living life my way.

i enjoyed raising my children, and in the beginning being married, but the marriage ended and turned my life topsy turvy.

i loved to pretend, make believe, play with my paper dolls.....dream myself a life. without a plan or a goal you never sing your song.

my later years have given me more freedom to pursue passions. reading, writing, and photography.

you do have a gift for writing.

Ashling said...

Thank you all for commenting. Funny thing is, when I started the post, it was in frustration; I was railing against the twists that led me to a job that is frustrating and stressful (and that's the good days!). By the end of the post I realized--again--how very blessed I am, and if the job is the only shadow in my days, I'm even more blessed.

Brian Kelly said...

Indeed, I thought the evolution in your post was interesting. It ends with a nice crescendo. I knew you wanted to be a writer, but I don't think I knew - or forgot long ago - that you wanted to be a professor. I'm torn between that (in a different field, of course) and a legislative career, and moving on neither.