Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Did I Take Wrong Turn Back There?"

Life can feel like a prairie road. Those roads lined with rows and rows of wheat, with no cross-roads, direction signs, street lights, or other cars. "Fields of Gold" as Sting wrote. The blazing sun beating down, blinding your eyes through your sunglasses. A breeze nowhere to be found, the crows sitting on the fences with their mouths agape, attempting to cool off as their bluish black feathers take on every degree of unbearable heat. The monotony can be dulling at times, like the sound of a metronome, the ticking of a clock, the dripping water from a leaky faucet.

The thought of summer heat and golden sunshine, sounds warm and attractive, while Autumn is in full force, maple leaves lining the streets. The damp cool air is shocking, sneaking its way to my bones. The early nights arrive and the city becomes quiet, every apartment glowing with light as West Enders create their den for the winter months. The aroma of home cooking is on every floor; burning wood drifting in the air from the lucky ones with fireplaces.

As I move on down the road of my life, I look at my relationships, achievements and acquisitions on either shoulder and wonder if I took a wrong turn way back there on the highway of my past. For the amount of years I've been traveling, I would think I would have fit into the mold that we all aspire to as children, watching Disney movies. I am in my early 40s and am living like I am in my early 30s still. I haven't noticed that I was going around in circles but the view out the windshield seems familiar. It's strange as I see people moving on ahead on the road as I am still moving at the same speed, not veering off course. Friends have moved on, turning off the road, being out of touch until I hit a thoroughfare in the street, their car filled with a new family continuing on an opposing route.

Spending my young years in Europe, busy circles of traffic surrounding a work of art invade my mind. How similar this image is in comparison to my life. The events of my history being the Arc De Triomphe, for example, while the people in my past, present and future are all driving around these events, weaving in and out of my route. Some stay in the same lane ahead or behind me, while others veer off to a side street, and yet others turn on to the roundabout, driving up beside me, nodding hello.

How did I get to this particular roundabout? Why am I stuck in the innermost lane, unable to move to the outer lane in hopes to veer off onto a side street of new and challenging life experiences? Why am I only able to drive a two seater? How do I trade in my car for a station wagon, sedan or SUV? And do it want any of these cars, or would I rather continue on my path in a Mini Cooper? 

It's strange to me how my friends with families admire my choices. Little do they know is that I never chose to not be married, have children, own a house, or generally live the life of the cookie-cutter 40 year old. Of course, one can say that I am where I am today because of my past choices. I agree, but when I have to choose between a rock and a hard place, it's no wonder I don't live deep in a cave. Let's just say the hands dealt to me haven't been winners. I have no choice in this poker game to fold, so I do my best with what I get from the dealer. I have a pretty good hand right now. No aces but definitely not a hand to replace. I choose, that's right, CHOOSE, which cards to toss as the dealer replaces those bad cards. It seems, my problem in the past is that those cards I discarded had potential and resulted in a weaker hand. Now, I am holding a strong hand yet I think I may have discarded a key card by mistake. I can't take it back and that mistake has made my hand weaker.

I hope I'm not forced to discard, but if I am, I will move to another table with my mini and my fields of gold to my innermost lane on my  roundabout. Hopefully I will recognize the pulse of the traffic to change lanes and make the right exit. In the meantime, I will peer over my hand at the dealer and the poker masters waiting for the next card.

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