The Road Not Taken
A friendquaintance (friend/acquaintance you connect with on Facebook more than in real life) recently sent me an email that read, in part, "I was visiting your blog and you literally made me laugh and cry at the same time. I've been going through a career conundrum lately and whenever I read your postings--I always think about my "road not taken..." it is a nice reminder of what was once a huge priority."
And it totally knocked me back because I don't know what exactly she was referring to, probably not the shining moments where I talked about my post partum 'roid rage or ranting about how hard it is to be a parent, but I know exactly how she feels. We all have our 'roads not taken.' And some of our husbands have the misfortune of hearing about those roads all too often. The what if we had taken this offer, or made that decision, or Oprah had chosen us for her OWN network show. More on that colossal event in another post.
But I wrote back right away, telling her that I am always wondering about my roads not taken. Not necessarily because I have regrets or I'm second-guessing, but because it's engrained in us, I think.
Maybe it's an American thing, or an overachiever thing, or an Asian model minority stereotype thing, but I'm always asking questions and never quite 100% settled. It's an "I can stop moving when I'm dead" feeling. Not an unbearable restlessness, but a toe-tapping, gum chewing, humming under my breath because I prefer motion over stillness.
My friend Kiet and I talked about this on the flight home from AAJA. How, for the last decade or so, we've been trained to go get 'em, push push push, get that reporting gig/interview/story/next market.
And when you finally get It, or There, how do you flip off that switch that's all neon and blinking, "What Next?"
Popping a baby out of your lady flower helps slow things down for a while. You can't see the neon as well when your eyes are glazed over with pain.
Marrying someone sane and supportive and stable also offers some gravity.
Tranquilizers also work well.
But short of darting myself in the neck everyday, I think having an honest talk with yourself about your roads not taken, sobbing it out when necessary, and then taking a long, thoughtful look at what's going right in your life, that helps you find your appreciation for what's happening Right Now. And that's where I'm learning to live a little more. In the Right Now. What more do I need than a healthy family and a baby who has decided all by herself she will kiss us three times before taking her nap, once on the lips and once on each cheek?
So, yeah, I've definitely had my share of roads I really, really, really wanted to take. We all wonder about how things would've been. But without the sad, I don't think the happy would be as sweet. And as long as my bloggity makes my friends laugh more than cry, I'm glad we're in this together.