Sunday, January 5, 2014

Regrets? I've Had A Few

And I will have a few more. For example, I will probably never get to see this view in real life: 
 (I got this picture from somewhere, but I've seen it all over, and now I don't remember.  I hope I don't regret not knowing more about copyright, etc.!)




And I want to.  I really want to.  I've wanted to since I watched Haley Mills hanging from that windmill back in the 60s.  Naturally, I mean the whole movie, and not just in part due to that other-worldly, romantic title, The Moonspinners.

I've just recently read this very interesting post by a "blogger friend," (and I take liberty using the word "friend," because I haven't asked him if I could, but there you go. At least, we're associates.)

http://gorges-smythe.blogspot.com/2014/01/still-learning-to-let-go.html

It has served as some sort of muse for me right now.  My blog posts have, for the larger part, been spun around places I have been and pictures I have taken to enhance the tales.  They have been factual, if not entirely honest in the sense that, well, I'm sort of a Pollyanna when I write about my life, and for the most part, when I talk about it in general.  Also, I'm pretty positive to myself about my life.  Only lucky family members and close friends get to hear the "minimal" whining and grousing.  And little-bitty notes of insecurity.

So back to the regrets.  Notice the past tense of that phrase.  I mostly get over the regrets, little thanks to my own efforts, but more thanks to recognizing the Divine Wind in my sails, propelling me through uncharted waters, as it were.  Maybe not uncharted, but places that have certainly not been on any of my own "maps."

 Some will disagree with my idea (or philosophy) that I have not really chosen, in this earthly, concious state of mind, my own destiny.  That circumstances have just popped up and I have had to either go with them or go with them.  I usually just go with them.

As a child, I moved and moved and moved with my family.  We moved.  A lot.  There was only one such period where we ended up in a situation that I didn't like very much.  Didn't like it at all, as a matter of fact, which is ironic, because it was a place I loved going to on vacation to visit my grandparents and other relatives.  But all of us children had a miserable time while living there, because of...drumroll please...nasty, nasty, unholy school.  OK...there were some things about it that I did actually like, said family being the main thing, and:
  • One new friend across the street from my grandparents house.  
  • An alliance with misery-partner in class who lived in an orphanage and who got picked on more than I did by the witch of a sixth-grade teacher and who had fewer resources for protecting himself than I had. 
  • Being released from school to re-unite with my siblings, which was the definition of refuge at that time.
  • OK, and yes, I did have a few moments of comraderie with a few other kids, but we were such temporary outsiders, that it was fleeting.
  • And if we include the move-within-a-move, another friend whose mother drove the school bus.  I didn't like getting up at 4 AM to ride the bus with them, though, especially after staying up past midnight struggling to learn math from my mother because the teacher couldn't help me. 
  • Weekends which were more like the vacation days we had spent in previous years staying at Pappy and Grandmother's house.
  • Maybe a couple of other redeeming things.
  • Necessary life experiences
I regretted the circumstances that put us in that circumstance and it was completely out of my control because I was not the one who lost job and home and had to go on the road to look for work.  I was not the government who kept capping oil wells.   And as hard as that was to do, I'm still impressed that my parents weathered those ferocious storms without going on "the dole." 

As a young adult, I felt I had begun to have some real power of choice and to move into situations I wanted to be in.  I had a friend I thought was almost an extension of myself and 19 was my year.  My age.  My halcyon period.  If we couldn't take on the surprising world together, and why couldn't we? I could do it myself!  And then, BAM!  Still haven't been able to figure out how that cemented friendship crumbled only a few years later, but I know it wasn't something I had control over.

Years passed, not uneventfully, but filled with opportunity and liberty and choices and dreams coming true.  Even blessed heartache confirming my ability to feel alive and connected and to pick up and carry on. 

Fast-forwarding to a time when I again began to recognize I really didn't have that much control in choosing my own life lessons, (because, that interim period deserves much more time than I'm going to spend at this writing,) I was living in Korea where I felt I belonged as I had at no other time in my life until then. My niche was carved to my exact shape and form and need, soul and body.  I had no intention of ever leaving.  Until it was time to get married.  What a choice.  Not a choice.  An instance of going with the Circumstance.  As the marriage didn't work out, some might say it was my choice and it was a wrong choice, and people who were with me struggling with the choice might think it actually was a choice, but I know it wasn't a choice.  It was a circumstance laid out for me, picking me up and putting me in that sail boat.  I couldn't have chosen differently.  I wasn't able to have been able to make the other choice. 

(OK, this is getting kind of deep and there are ideas here I can't explain that will probably sound not the way I intend them to, but let's move on.)

Then my daughter came into my world.  Then we were alone in our world until we weren't alone and were with family.  Then we were alone some more and had a rich, tough life in San Francisco, where again I began to feel that sense of rightness and belonging that would come upon me as we walked home from the grocery store, or got off the bus downtown, or spent time with new friends, or played on the beach.  For several years, it was so right to be there and the rightness was palpable.

Then, we needed to leave.  Another circumstance that compelled me like taking that first breath as you rise out of the water after having been submerged a little too long is compelling.  Oh how I regretted having to leave that life to the mercy of fickle and fading memory.

But, we encountered another life, just as rich and tough and rewarding and necessary; actually even more so.  I could not have predicted.  It was life turning again to itself, this time.  It was family refuge.  It was hearts shattering and the pieces being lost to oblivion.  It was unfathomable loss and separation and regrouping and redefining happiness and compassion and regret and forgiveness, and discovering inner resources and getting older. 

It was life knocking out teeth. 

It was love knocking out fear. 

And then?  AND THEN...Circumstances.  I had to find another job.  It wasn't my fault it was in Alaska.  I had never given the idea of living in Alaska even a minor nod.  I thought I "chose" Alaska over New Zealand because I needed to not be so far away from my daughter and her husband in Utah and my mother in New Mexico and my siblings in other places quite far from New Zealand.  Little did I know that Alaska was actually waiting for me.  It was putting clean linens in the guest room and a warm lamp at the bedside long before I even knew one could actually live an embraceable life in Alaska. 

Embrace it I did, as it embraced and cradled me.  And sent me jauntily forth to experience a world to which I still can't give due description.  By this time, you must know that I have learned to quit flicking pages ahead to see how the story ends.  No last page.  Ever.  I didn't know that after traveling so far away from a world I oh-so-ignorantly thought might have finally been a jumping off place, closer to family, I would land in a place that kept me traveling while holding me there. It kept me free and wheeling within it's swaddling borders. 

I don't know how that happened.  I didn't order that adventure.  And I really didn't want to let go of it, either, when I did. 

Ready? Say it with me:  Circumstance!  My daughter needed me.  Her world was roiling and racked with upheaval and the idea occured to us both that she could come to Alaska and need me there.  Of course her son was part of the consideration as was her son's father whose world was unraveling in its own way, and I suppose you could say I made the choice to move closer to the situation, because it was my thought that it would be better for father and son to be physically closer to each other than what being in Utah and Alaska would allow.  Washington is not extremely close to Utah, but it's where I could get a job...ANOTHER new job at this late stage in my employment life.  (I think it's a late stage.  Who knows, by now.)

I would rather the three of them not have lost their happily-ever-after than what they are going through at this time, but do I regret that I now live in Washington with my daughter and grandson?  








What.  Are you kidding me?!
 


 

8 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

You've been quite the tumbleweed, it seems, Penny, but you appear to be a surprisingly well-adjusted one! Thanks for the plug. Grandkids are one of the few bright spots of getting older; I wouldn't trade mine for anything, either. Bless you, and may the next chapter be a pleasant one.

Penny said...

Thanks so much Gorges! And thanks for the inspiration!

Trish said...

Beautifully perfect!

Trish said...

Beautifully perfect!

Lydia Tribe said...

You always inspire me!

Penny said...

Thanks Trish and Lydia!

DeEtta said...

You are amazing and know how to express yourself beautifully.

Hanaike House said...

Hey Penny, guess what: speaking of the time you spent living in the San Francisco area, tonight I was getting really irritated at our squeaky door-to-go-downstairs and I remembered that once, when you were here, you put oil on the hinges to stop the squeaking. So I tried it tonight and it worked! Ha! Ha! We have lots of fond memories of our friendship with you and Katy throughout the years, and little things like that keeps it all alive (like the I Love Lucy barbie doll that is proudly on display, etc.) Thanks for your friendship, and for keeping up the blog so we can still keep in touch.