Yogi Berra once said, "When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it." Looking back, I think I did a pretty good job of that. I never worried much over decisions, I always tended to follow my big giant heart. Sometimes it got me into trouble, or didn't end well, but for the most part, things always turned out alright. I'm still kicking, and I haven't gone off the deep end... not yet.
Remember those books where you could choose 'what happens next' and it determined the way the story would end? I believe in destiny, and I believe that everything happens for a reason. However, I still think each decision we make is a part of the lessons we learn in the big scheme of things, and we shape these destiny's by the choices we make... Just like our very own book... We choose our circumstances, and we control how we deal with life; we write the ending.
Thinking on some of these 'forks' I've encountered on my own personal highway, I pondered some of the decisions I made and how they may have affected me and my life.
My parents planted us in a small town. We never moved from my childhood home, so unlike many people, I was able to find stability in attending the same school from K-12th grade. I knew most of my classmates since kindergarten, except those who moved in and out along the way. This was my parents' decision, but It probably shaped the way I view the world and my ideas on stability and security.
After graduating high school, I had choices of course. I wanted to attend Memphis College of Art. I had designs (no pun intended) on becoming either an illustrator or film animator, then probably moving off to New York or California where the competition ran high. I was sure if I attended MCA, then I would be on my way. Of course, I would've had to do lots of things for myself financially, such as scholarships, student loans, work... but I thought it was worth it. This was what I wanted.
Mom had different intentions. I was the baby of the family, which is sometimes the reason I think she held onto me so tightly. She encouraged me to take a couple of years first at the local community college, and then If I wanted I could proceed to the next level... MCA. I fought her words hard, but in the end, I made the decision to listen to her. I started school at our local community college. It was the best time of my life as I did more goofing off and having fun than studying and trying to move towards my dreams. My motivation waxed and waned... and eventually 2 years turned into 5 and I had changed majors and eventually gotten my degree in Commercial Art/Graphic Design. But I was in no shape to beat the competition. I was still going nowhere. I continued to stay in my hometown and work in somewhat related fields, but I never made it to the Art School of my dreams.
I would've married my marine boyfriend, Lee at 20 years of age, but that decision was basically made for me when he left me to go back to his pregnant girlfriend. Still, I stayed in the small town making more choices, good and bad.
Remember my affair with "Z" (Noted in Butterflies, Zebras and Moonbeams)? It was one of my most cherished times of life, but it was totally wrong. Once that ended my self-esteem was at an all-time-low. I made some terrible decisions after that and entered into what I now remember back on as the dark ages of my life. I started dating a total low-life, "Chris".
The story of Chris is one that I may not ever write in detail. Such precious time wasted... scary moments and cold, hard life... I put myself through a lot, for someone who wasn't even worth the bacteria underneath my fingernails. Key phrase: "I put myself through". I take total responsibility for it. Nobody made me do any of that stuff, I chose it... I payed the price.
However, if I hadn't traveled each road that I have taken, I might have moved many miles away from my family, and missed out on many precious memories. I would never have met Mr. J, never have gone back to school to get a degree in technology, and made a career change, or known the headaches and joys of having a home of my own. There wouldn't have been times with these loved ones to share the good or bad, the fall, the spring, winter and YES, these HELLISH Memphis summers.
Sure, I could have gone anywhere, done anything and who knows what might have been, or who I would've become in those unseen alternate universes. But I'm here, now... this is me. It isn't perfect, but nothing is perfect. I've been pretty lucky and survived some pretty tough stuff... and to think there are still so many miles yet untraveled.
I can't wait to read the next page.
"It ain't over till it's over."
**Don't forget, tomorrow is Full Frontal Friday. What will you reveal? What will be revealed?