Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Road Diverged

I am standing in the corner of the bar at a farewell party in a local gun and hunting club, Diet Coke in my hand, surrounded by staff from the Y who have clearly been here drinking--and not just Diet Coke--for a while.  I don't like guns, I don't really drink, and I hate parties that require me to mingle with a drink in my hand.  I look around, and there aren't many other members here, anyway, just staffers.  They're dressed for a party, and I'm dressed to go grocery shopping, in my yoga woman T shirt and brown cargo capris.  I'm having a moment.  Maybe you've had these moments, too.  These "how the hell did I get here" moments.


It's been over a year now since I've been gainfully employed.  I've certainly been busy, because taking care of an infant who becomes a toddler is a full time job.  But I haven't seen a regular paycheck in 14 months.

And it's a strange place for me, as strange as the gun and hunting club.  I've written before about how I never intended to be a SAHM.  Yes, I made the decision that set this chapter of my life in motion.  But there were many chapters that came before it, and many of them were written by other people, or by the universe itself.  If I hadn't lost pregnancies, if I hadn't been diagnosed with secondary infertility, and since we weren't planning to have more than two children, maybe my daughter (or not-my-daughter) would have been born earlier, instead of being born at the same time as I got a new boss at work.  If I hadn't been on maternity leave during said new boss's early tenure in his position, he may not have been able to get away with some of the things he did while I wasn't there.  Maybe I would have had more support.  Maybe I would have felt differently about the relationship.  Maybe I could have fought back better.  Maybe I wouldn't have resigned.  Maybe I wouldn't have found myself still unemployed when my daughter reached the age of 18 months.  I wouldn't have taken the Y up on the three month free membership that I won in a raffle, to give myself an excuse to get out of the house on a regular basis and exercise while someone watched my daughter.  I wouldn't have met my instructors.  And so I wouldn't be saying goodbye to this particular one, who is moving to another state; I don't know where I would be, but I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that I wouldn't be standing in the bar at the gun club with a Diet Coke in my hand.

On the other hand, I might not have met you.

When I was a child, I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  I loved the fact that you could request a do-over, start from a place where you were happier, or more confident, or had a sword, and find a better ending, or even a better, or more interesting, middle. I used to back up through them, as if they were mazes: if you didn't like where the story was going, you backtrack and make it right by simply choosing the opposite direction.  Back then, I think I believed that you could make more choices, that life didn't happen to you, that you made life happen.

Now I think there's some combination of destiny and choice at work, and it's a mixed blessing.

Because I love my beautiful, feisty, happy, smart, amazing daughter.  I feel lucky to have her.  And when you add a child to your life, you have to expect that your life is going to turn upside down.

It's just that some days I wonder about the parallel universes.  The ones that didn't lead to the gun club.  The ones in which I had a sword.
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10 comments:

(Not) Maud said...

Pen, mightier, et cetera. If you like to look at it that way.

I didn't really like the Choose Your Own Adventures, though I read a lot of them. I want there to be one, true end to a story - anything more is just a copout on the part of the author. So I always believed that whatever I chose first was the "true" ending for me, whether I ended up in the jaws of the crocodile or on top of the mountain.

gwinne said...

Oh, yeah.

How one choice affects all others.

I've been thinking similar thoughts as folks (who don't know my infertility story) say things like "your timing was really lucky" (tenure and Tiny Boy). I have THIS amazing child NOW because of all the ones that didn't make it.

You said it better, though!

Mud Hut Mama said...

I love your last paragraph and especially your last line - sorry you ended up in a gun club but I'll bet that made you excited to have to go grocery shopping :)

Audrey said...

This is the second time in a week the Choose Your Own books has come up. THIS MUST MEAN SOMETHING. lol! I loved those books, but I most often never went back and tried different endings. I just went where I wanted to and that was that. Like going back would be boring because I knew xy and z. But I still liked the idea because I got to take the character down certain roads..maybe that's why I like to yell at characters in movies and books when they're making stupid decisions. Obviously there's another option.

As to the more serious side of your post. I think you have chosen your adventure. And it's not over!

rebecca said...

Loved this post, as usual can relate to a lot of what you wrote. I also never thought I'd be a SAHM and yet here I find myself. As you said having a child certainly turns your world upside down and changes your perspective on many things.
I also loved the choose your own adventure books! Thank you for your kind words in reply to my previous comment, it meant a lot to me.

Rachael Gander said...

yes :) i can so relate!

Esperanza said...

I've been coming to terms with this a lot lately, that my life is mixture of choice and "destiny", of that which I can and cannot control. This is a very poignant reminder.

Emily @ablanket2keep said...

I loved those books! Sucks the path that got us here, but so glad I met you.

Lavender Luz said...

Wow. You've just blown my mind with the quantum physics of it all. I once had a professor talk about "popping the qwf" (quantum wave function, pronounced quiff), about how these waves of energy come at us -- fate/destiny -- and we choose our action or inaction, thereby popping a wave. The number of permutations of how reality COULD be is astounding when you compare it with the ONE way that reality IS.

Oh, man. This makes my head hurt.

In any case, I am so happy that our bloggy paths crossed and that we've met. I can't imagine it any other way.

And of course now I'm thinking of all the people I *didn't* meet because of various qwfs I popped or didn't pop.

Cheers! And bang.

Kathy said...

Love. This. Post.

"Now I think there's some combination of destiny and choice at work, and it's a mixed blessing."

ME TOO!!!

I just recently re-watched "Sliding Doors" and wrote my first movie review for Exhale Literary Magazine that will likely run next week. Have you ever seen it?

If you haven't, watch it ASAP! I think you will find in fascinating, as it explores this very concept, of how various events and circumstances in our lives can dramatically impact the directions we go. If you have seen it and have seen it again for awhile, which was the case for me, I think you would enjoy another viewing.

Anyway, I am way behind on reading and commenting post-BlogHer and it is clear that your trip to NYC was very musing for you. Loving all of your posts... so inspired. Write on sista! xoxo

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