Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No Surprise

Sometimes I am amazed by how easily we let things that matter to us slip through our fingers, lose priority. This is not a revelation. It is not even the first time I've written about it here. Yet there are moments when the realization is so bright and sharp that it feels new, and surprising, and cutting. I've not been writing. It's not a surprise. One can't work 80 hours a week, manage to do any sort of self care AND write well. Or at all. I'm sick to death of the reasons why, though. It's simple - I am just not making it a priority. I'm in a pact with a coworker to try to work less, to stake out a few nights a week where we do not work, and to try and free time for other things. The things that matter.

My trip to see my family was filled with lots of good moments. I met my grand-nephew (CUTE, and a teensy bit spoiled!), hugged everyone, laughed a lot, floated in the surf and generally enjoyed myself beach-style. When you show up, you're in the moment. That was my big learning. I didn't miss the announcement of the newest addition to the family - Becky and Luke are going to have a baby! I didn't miss the rap-star showdown between Sexy Mike and J-man. I didn't miss the chance to teach Drew how to cut an onion. I didn't miss a bunch of moments I'd otherwise have missed...and that makes me happy.

Airports can be fun. My flight home was marked by a 5 hour layover in Atlanta, where I met servicemen just home from Iraq, and talked with them about their families and a teeny bit about their experiences. I met a couple on their way to adopt a baby in Guatemala and shared their excitement over carryons crammed with baby stuff. And I watched goodbyes - some tearful, some quick and quiet. I've never been any good at goodbye. I avoid the wrench of emotion whenever I can. And as I get older, I realize that this is something I'm getting worse at. I'm ever more aware, as I go in for the goodbye clinch, of how long it will likely be before I see this person I love again. But I'm also more grateful for moments shared, and for the love that abides across long distances.

This week I've been thinking about the lives we imagine for ourselves, and the lives we lead, and how often those lives do not really resemble one another. It's my firm belief that happiness comes from loving the life you are in, and not mourning the imagined life you did not have. Sometimes that is damned difficult. Often it is. It is sometimes easier to give up the big dreams than the small ones, the ones you hold tightest. But this week I've also been thinking about the love of parents for children - and have been considering how much more difficult it seems to be to give up the dreamed-of life for a child and celebrate the life they actually have. But you can't do both - you can't celebrate the moment that is and mourn the moment that is not without sacrificing some joy. I often think of what my parents would see in my life, and what they would either celebrate, scold or mourn in my choices. Not in a maudlin or sad way, simply in a way to connect with their memories (and sometimes to motivate myself to make a damned decision!). I can't know yet whether my life will remain childless, but I know that my wisdom about parenting is deepened by watching the difficult choices of the parents I know. My wisdom about the human heart, and what keeps me believing in people is deepened, too.

The sun is setting in a colorful show on the other side of "my" golf course, and the air is cooling in our city on the edge of the desert. I'm going to have a glass of wine on my deck, and maybe dance in the grass to my iPod.

Celebrate something small this week. Please.

~ patti


Blondie said...

Yep, I liked this one :) Good to see you writing again. Always enjoyable to read. I posted an update to my blog too...more to come I am sure!

Absolom J. Hagg said...


It's always a pleasure to read your writing. Whether it's fiction or non, you have a style that really gets at the heart of things.

Patti Knox said...

Becky - I loved your post. Belly pics are required! :-)

Ab - Thank you so much. Sometimes the blogs feel a little self indulgent, you know? But it's nice to know others enjoy the musings.