03 June 2008

You learn

Just under a year ago, something happened that shook my world, my view of my place in it, my relationship to everything around me and how I believe the world sees me (which used to be, comfortably, not at all). It wasn't a bad thing or even a big thing that happened, just unexpected. Really unexpected.

And off I went on an odyssey.

I hadn't planned to and until this moment, I'm not sure I recognized it as such. It sort of happened, organic, illogical, very determined once I got started. I threw myself out into the world, and there it all was. And here, within 10 days of what happened a year ago, am I.

I learned rather alot out there.

In my eyes, I am the process. I create, I synthesize, but I am not part of the end result.

I looked into your eyes, you with whom I traveled, you I met along the way, you I talked to briefly or at length or not at all, you who I watched as I moved through space and time and airports, and saw that I was part of your picture. I'm not saying that my presence was significant or meaningful--that's for you to decide--only that I was there, part of the end result.

Which was weird.

Which was uncomfortable.

But eventually, it was sort of wonderful.

It was a new place, a new paradigm, something completely different.

And so, I learned.

Endings and beginnings. Some things have already ended, and probably the new thing has already begun, though I haven't quite seen it, which is making me a little nuts. I'm impatient, and I'm ready to start, even if I don't know what I'm starting.

Or have started. I always seem to be starting something.

(The son is busy writing his valedictorian speech, and curiously, he told me last night that they just chose their theme which is every ending is a beginning. "I don't know how to start my speech," he complained while we were waiting for the daughter's instrumental concert to begin. "You start 'today I'm valedictorian and tomorrow I'm nobody, because I'm starting over,'" I told him. "Hey!" he said. "HEY! I like that.")

I'm not one to dwell on the past; I'd so much rather look to the future, what's in front of me, rather than think about what's happened. But there are lessons back there, instructions, information, and sometimes there is pain, and I can't always ignore that. For all my frustration at times, I tend to be an optimist, I prefer to be cheerful. Even so, I had to go back and look at some parts of the past, knowing where others in my life had gone wrong, but needing to understand where I'd gone wrong. The past can't be fixed; we can only choose not to repeat it, and even as I caught places where I made mistakes, had been careless of others' feelings, I caught myself preparing to repeat the patterns.

So, I learned.

Right now, this moment, living with the undercurrents of stress and anger, I'm feeling the shift back to hope, back to possibility. Sometimes you just have to ride the frustration out whether you want to or not.

So I hope I see you out there again sometime, in the airports and concert halls, along the rivers and the roads, riding a bike madly across a Danish island. New Hampshire for sure, St. Louis maybe, whatever else I can fit in, and then I'm off to the subarctic.

Because that's where my home is.


Because that's where my heart is.


Because that is where my friends and loved ones are.


You live. You learn.

Go listen to some good music: "You Learn" from the album Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette.

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