As I've said before here and on my recent "passions" post for Relyn, I generally try to put a bright spin on most things, even when they're rather challenging. Cup half full. Chin up. Always look on the bright side of life. (And note that you'll have to read through the gloomy top of this to get to the rest...)
But there are times when it's tough to do that. This month has been one of them.
Over the past few weeks, I've come to see all too clearly that life sometimes offers its own timetable and it's not always to our liking. I wrote about several deaths earlier this month. Add to that another and some significant illnesses and it offers food for thought, among other things.
A friend younger than I, who has encountered enormous challenges in her life and met them with more grace and good humor than I think nearly anyone could muster, has surgery in one of the most delicate parts of her body, the head. (The results successful, the prognosis excellent, the recovery long but joyful because of the positive endgame.) Food for thought.
A neighbor dies on Good Friday, having battled ovarian cancer for eleven years -- a medical miracle, almost unheard of, but at the age of 62, a life cut short. Food for thought.
A friend I mentioned in an earlier post dies at 64 during what is the happiest time of her life, of a disease that in part, I share. Food for thought.
A visit to a former colleague who in her late sixties also fights cancer with great humor and good grace, yet unable to do any of the things she hoped for in her retirement. My visit with her on Easter was lovely, yet thought provoking.
I am older now than my mother was when she died 34 years ago last week. Food for thought? It's a banquet!
This week I had my 30th anniversary at the university. Thirty bloody years. They held a lovely reception for us and all who had worked 25, 30, 35 or more years, tromped across the stage, shook hands with the university president who gave us a "thank you very much" letter signed with an electronic signature. Then as we shook hands we turned to the camera, straightened our posture, tilted the head and smiled. Shake hands with another old guy -- he might be the one who signs our paychecks, but since mine is direct deposited, who knows? Exit the stage and watch a bunch of others, all older that the group before.
After, a nice appetizer buffet, lots of smiles and congratulations to people you never met, and then you picked up the present you selected (I picked a digital TV with a DVD player and the lapel pin, which will make a nice thumbtack for my inspiration board), and left. Free parking. Always a plus.
It was a lovely evening. Then I went home and cried till I went to bed, and then cried some more.
Sounds silly, doesn't it? Rick says, "Maybe this is the time to see the glass as half full where you are STILL there because you do something better than others and make a contribution that others cannot. They hang onto you with little trinkets like televisions and cameras. If others were so easy..... I think you have a lot more to be proud about than to be sad about."
And he's right. He also added, "But having said all that, I, too, can see the view you saw. Just look away."
It's not that I haven't loved what I do for work. A lot of people think it's exciting and sometimes I do, too. I even like most of the people I work with -- certainly all of the ones I see every day on my floor -- and even the few I don't, well, I don't have to play with them after school. Happy team, Happy Jeanie, Everybody get together and love one another, at least act like it. I wasn't a theatre major for nothing and it has served me well.
No, it' s not what I've done that brings me to tears. I've done a lot of good stuff I'm proud of for an organization that matters to me and I've met some fun "folk" over time. Stuffed and breathing, both.
And I've had a wonderful life, blessed with a wonderful partner who has shared his children with me.
A place to go in the summer and fall that moves my soul and inspires my art and my heart.
My personal Marmelade Gypsy whom I love with all my heart.
No, it's not what I have or have done. It's what I haven't done.
And some of those things -- well, I'm not going to be able to do them. I missed those opportunities, took the other fork in the road. The safe one. And that's life -- because I get to do a lot of other lovely things. And they aren't all in the office. And the wonderful folk I know make my life so very worthwhile. (You may count yourself among them.)
I wasn't going to post about this -- sounds too much like whining! But Shoreacres suggested I go ahead. Sometimes a rant is good for the soul. So, thank you for attending my therapy session! And -- if you have the chance to do the things you think might take you out on a limb, remember -- you have to do that to get to the fruit. (Although when you pick strawberries, you can get the fruit without going on the limb -- your back might hurt when you're done, but it's pretty tasty too.
I am SO mixing my metaphors... all my writing friends who read this? I can do better. Really!
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