I think I've just heard this person saying things lately that seem contradictory with her/his true nature...things that seem to be incompatible with the person I've known her/him to be for all these years. So I expressed concern. And my friend affirmed some of the things I'd said, acknowledging that life felt pretty challenging right now. Thankfully, s/he wasn't mad at me for voicing concern (though still seems to have some resentment for the time--like 6 years ago--that I said "AUGH. You sound like a Republican right now!"...oh well, you can't win 'em all).
Lately, I feel like I've had a lot of "Hey, wait a minute..." moments while thinking about the continuum of our lives. Like looking at people around me and hearing them talk about significant moments in their lives or thinking about decisions they've made...and realizing how formative some of these things truly were. In both positive and negative ways.
I mean obviously we make decisions that influence who we are, and obviously our life experiences shape who we become. But I think there are other decisions...little choices that are ours to make every single day.
Do we chose cynicism? Even if it's a humorous defense mechanism. Do we chose anger? Even if it's a valid emotional response. Do we chose apathy? Even if the fight seems interminable.
I wonder if a person could identify the moment (or period of their life) where he or she gave in to those sorts of forces?
I really feel like a kid, a lot of the time. I mean I still call my mom to ask questions like "Jay left the pork chops I just made out on the counter all night in our 70-degree apartment...do we have to throw them away?" I feel pretty young at work, too. I think it's due to being new (and also a little younger, in comparison to many folks around me).
|Was it a long time ago? Or just yesterday?|
Jay and I talk a lot about all the things we can't control. All the people we can't change. That the only thing we have any say over--in the whole damn world--is how we respond to the people and challenges that life gives us. We believe we must choose to be positive, to be engaged, to be happy. We believe it is all a choice. Every day, every moment, it is a choice.
It feels like a luxury to be in the middle of that long road right now...knowing I'm not yet too far gone ...knowing that I can still correct my course when I need to. It feels like a lot of damn work sometimes.
But I'm appreciative for the perspective and the opportunity that this point in my life offers. I am beholden to the wisdom and intelligence of those around me...of all the people from whom I can learn. I am grateful that the road is long and there is so much still ahead of me.
I pretty much stole the title of this post from Kelly Corrigan's book The Middle Place. It is a wonderful story about a 36-year old woman who is both a mother and a daughter. She discovers that she has breast cancer...and then learns that her father has cancer as well. It is a wonderful story about "that sliver of time when parenthood and childhood overlap" and it is TOTALLY a boo-hooer. I highly recommend it...but only if you have a crate and a half of kleenex.