I’m pretty sure that Apple made the Lightning connector adapter the size of a quarter so that people could lose them about as easily as, well, a quarter.
Twenty years have passed, and in some ways I feel that I am back at square one. I have often wondered how my life would have unfolded if I had broken up with my boyfriend as I had resolved to do that sunny day in July.
I didn’t, and we were together for another ten years, complete with a marriage and two children. I knew that it was the right thing for me to end it, but I lacked the courage to do it. Was that wrong? I don’t know. But I do know that twenty years later, after two children, a successful career as a lawyer and a competitive golfer, and two failed marriages, I am starting over. I don’t feel twenty years older, so I guess I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
Whenever I hear a song from The Skydiggers’ “Restless” album (I still play it all the time), it takes me right back to that day in 1994. I can feel the wind buffeting me and blowing in my hair as I drove down the highway in the hot summer sun, convertible top down, music blasting from the speakers.
I was unhappy. I knew I was unhappy. In fact, I was angry. My boyfriend had harangued me before leaving the city, asking me why I was wasting my time taking a week off work (away from him) to play in the provincial golf tournament. “It’s not like you have any chance of winning” is what he said to me. Can you fucking believe that? I ended up finishing second, one stroke off the lead. Fucker. Even my best friend, all seventeen years of her, knew enough to say to me, “he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. You’re AWESOME.” She’s still my best friend.
And after having two beautiful children and a handful of additional second-place finishes, I did eventually win that tournament a few years later. (And no, he didn’t apologize. He never apologized. I eventually did something about that. I left him.) I knew then that I needed to make some difficult decisions. And driving in my Jeep, in the hot July sun, to a golf tournament, I felt more like myself than I had for a long time. To use an athlete’s expression, I was in the Zone. Everything made sense: my vision was clearer, the music was inspiring, I felt like I could do anything. I knew what I wanted. I wasn’t even scared. Yet.
But I came home six days later (somewhat victorious), and I couldn’t even begin that difficult conversation. How could I tell my boyfriend of three years that I had just never felt the same since we reconciled after a six month “break”? How could I hurt someone that I cared about but wasn’t making me happy? I remember how that felt. I feel it again now, often. Inertia is so much easier than closing your eyes and jumping. We convince ourselves that there will be a better time to do it. And, I have learned, that years, even decades can pass, while one refuses to make that difficult decision. Does that make the decision any easier?
I am thinking not. Now, I have two children whom I love dearly, and whom I fear I will lose or damage irreparably if I follow my heart. I have baggage (oh god do I have baggage). I have two ex-husbands. I have left four different jobs because they were killing my soul (some faster than others).
But I also have many things I did not have in 1994. I know myself, perhaps better than I would sometimes like. I have succeeded at many things; in fact, most things I have attempted. I know now that I always take the long way around, and that’s okay. Because even burdened by inertia and fear and the illusion of fitting in, I know that I would have chosen the long way anyhow. There is usually a lot more scenery, and a little more adventure the long way around.
It’s been two long years now since the top of the world came crashing down and I’m getting back on the road now
But I’m takin’ the long way – takin’ the long way around – I’m takin’ the long way – takin’ the long way around
Well I fought with a stranger and I met myself – I opened my mouth and I heard myself – It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself – Guess I could have made it easier on myself
But I- I could never follow – No I – I could never follow
Well I never seem to do it like anybody else – Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down – If you ever want to find me I can still be found – Takin the long way – Takin the long way around
This is a concept of which I must frequently remind myself. Why? Because I’m not skinny, and I dwell in a culture that tends towards the view that nothing tastes better than skinny feels. As @itsjenlawrence tweeted yesterday:
Really? “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels?” Um…may I introduce you to pizza?
Well said. This is after concluding just yesterday that I would only continue to wear a bikini in order to shame myself into losing 15 pounds. But then I saw a mom at my kid’s football game who was:
a. in her 40’s
b. curvy as all get-out; and
c. just simply gorgeous and sexy.
And then this morning, I saw an original and photoshopped photo of the very same Jennifer Lawrence.
She has my body type (ok, she has my body twenty years ago), and she looks curvy and gorgeous in the unretouched photo. I thought; wow, if I look anything like that, what am I worried about? Frankly, I think the second photo looks like she has an invisible medicine ball squishing her stomach.
When I was in Hawaii three months ago, the sexiest woman I saw could be considered slightly overweight. She was Hawaiian, or perhaps Latina, with beautiful caramel skin, long dark hair, and stylish sunglasses. She was walking on the beach wearing a white, not overly revealing, strapless two piece. And the way she walked, slowly, casually, comfortable in her skin, just shouted SEXY. It is easy to feel sexy in Hawaii, with the humid breeze continuously caressing your skin, and where the bikini is de rigueur from six to sixty (can anyone say paradise?)
So why did I feel like I was a walking, talking, NutriSystem advertisement yesterday? Probably because I have been virtually ignoring my workout plan for the last month, and everything feels soft and jiggly. Because I know that nothing has really changed, physically.
And maybe that is the answer, at least for me. Get back to the damn gym. I was in my thirties before I realized I was an athlete, because I had always compared myself to swimsuit models, not athletes, who looked like, and could actually do things, like me. When I looked around at the healthy, strong, beautiful, women around me, I realized with some genuine pride, I’m one of them. But it was the being something, rather than the resembling something, that made me feel pride in who I was and what I had accomplished. And that is one of the ingredients of sexy.
But nevertheless, I continue to forget this lesson, and then, blissfully, remember. So I’m going to get my ass to the gym before it hits the floor.
I remember being in law school and getting my Visa statement. It was maxed out and I cried. I was worried, I was scared, I didn’t know what to do. The balance was about $500. Wow. I could likely find that much change in my couches and purses now if I looked really hard. Or maybe an old savings account I have forgotten about.
Now I’m unemployed (by choice) and working madly at (Ommmmmm) not caring about money. And for the most part I don’t.
Luckily, after working my ever-lovin’ ass off for the last twenty years, I don’t have to worry about money for a few more months. And if I wanted to spend everything I have, I could probably make it a couple of years before I would have to go back to an office to have my soul sucked out one painful drop at a time.
I find myself living a virtually stress free existence. It is a little bit boring, but the lack of stress is a nice change.
I hadn’t thought I was overly concerned with money. I always had enough, for the most part. I planned what to do with it; I daydreamed about what I would do with more of it; I made decisions based on it.
I made decisions based on it.
It seems an innocuous comment, at first.
in·noc·u·ous adjective: not likely to bother or offend anyone; causing no injury
in·sid·i·ous adjective: causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed
You start out making decisions based on money as soon as you have your own money to spend. Lik’m’stix or a Kit Kat? XBox or Playstation? Volkswagen or BMW?
But then, slowly, in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed, more and more of your decisions are based on money. If we only go on a one week vacation, we can put more money away for retirement. If we buy this house, then our kids can’t go to the best college. If I gamble my whole paycheque away at the casino, my kids won’t have shoes. If I take this job that leaves me a barely-conscious cortisol-riddled mess at the end of the day, we will have more money than we know what to do with.
I know that these kinds of decisions should not be the ones that determine our life’s path; most of us do. But it requires a daily reminder to keep it front of mind. I wish I could say that I don’t think, about once a day, “if I just went back to private practice for 6 months or a year, I would have enough money to…” Enough money to be miserable, is the only thing that can consistently fill in that blank.
So I blink and say nothing when my kids intimate that I am somehow ripping off their dad. And I listen hard and commit it to memory, pray that it burns indelibly onto my soul, when one of them says,
“Mom, if you become a writer, or a golf pro, or a furniture builder, will you still be able to make us cookies all the time, and be at home when when get home from school?”
Yes, sweetie, I will.
For a time it was the favourite toy. No toy could be better. It did everything, and it was shiny and perfect. But he took it with him everywhere. He took it in the bath. He took it out to the sandbox. He took it to bed (sometimes crushing it – oops). He knew there would never be another toy like this one. But as he became used to it always being there, he stopped being quite so careful about taking care of it. The first time it was scratched, he actually thought he might cry. But the second scratch was hardly noticed. And one day he left it out in the rain (oops). After that, it couldn’t do everything it was supposed to do. He still loved it, but there was no point taking it everywhere with him if it didn’t flash and spin and make him laugh. So it was forgotten. First for a day. Then for a week. Then one day he tossed it carelessly in the garbage. He couldnt even remember why he liked that old broken toy to begin with.
He had a new toy. It was shiny, it flashed and spun and made him laugh. there would never be another toy like this one.