Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not Quite Settled


I haven't written recently, because I haven't stopped going. I caught an early plane last Thursday for Northern California and spent the weekend with good friends indulging in wine, witty conversation, and a fabulous end of summer party. Immediately following my return, I buried myself in Human Anatomy, specifically osteology, in preparation for today's grueling practicum. This is my first real "break".

As it turned out, the weekend was actually a catalyst for a personal paradigm shift.

I love airports. I've never been one to seek out or even appreciate alone time. The extrovert in me thrives off of being around other people, so I usually make an effort to minimize downtime. Airports, however, don't offer a lot of options to the individual traveller, so what's an extrovert to do? Go to the bar of course, order a Makers Mark Manhattan, and observe.

It was a Sunday afternoon and there was a football game on, so the bar was full. At one table were a bunch of middle aged women chatting about charity work and comparing notes on where to find the best deal on their panini grills. At the bar, their were mostly men in their thirties drinking beer, focusing on the game, and sneaking the occasional glance at any attractive women in the room. At a corner table, their was a young women nursing a baby. And wandering about was a man who looked lost, an assumption confirmed by the fact that he was drinking a glass of house white wine during a Colts game. There was an old man and his wife sitting behind me. And, each time a new flight boarded, there was a continuous game of musical chairs.

It was a intersection of every lifestyle and life circumstance, and I was fascinated.

Here is what I realized.

For the past four months, I have been saying that I no longer have any ties that bind. I am an orphaned only child who was fired just over a year ago from her ministry job following a nasty church split and whose husband, lover, soulmate, and best friend died after a seven-month battle with esophageal cancer. I have a beautiful baby boy who is still young enough to be mobile and untethered by school or friends. And, I technically, have the financial resources to temporarily take some time off work while I figure out what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life.

I have been saying this for four months.

It took an airport to make me emotionally accept it. And embrace it.

Let me explain it with a metaphor (my husband would be proud).

I am in a meadow. I am surround by people. Everywhere I look, there are people bustling about. 99% of them are moving in the same direction, toward the same goal. What is the goal you ask? To get married, have some kids, find a good office job that doubles as a career, settle down in the suburbs, and buy a plasma tv, of course. To be happy. And you know what, I already did that, and I was happy, but what do I do now? Do I jump back into that tide? Bury myself in nursing school (after all, it is a noble calling and a profitable career), log on to and seek out my next new husband/provider? Or do I look around and notice the 1 % that are swimming upstream, heading toward the mountains that border the meadow on one side or the ocean that borders it on the other, unsure of what lies beyond their visual framework, but curious nonetheless. It might be horrible. It might be dismal, and dreary, and dangerous. But then again it might not. And the only way to find out is to go.

See, Dalton and I used to look longingly at the people swimming against the stream. We used to dream of aritsan cheese farms, and jet setting, and adventure. But there were two of us, and we had family. We had ties that bind.

I have no ties that bind. I have no ties that bind.

Of course, I also have no sense of which way to go. So right now, I am stuck. I am sitting in the meadow while everyone bustles around me. The difference is that I am enjoying the view. I am entertaining thoughts of adventure and wondering what lies beyond what I can see. I am preparing myself for wherever I choose to go next, and I am letting myself think outside the stream.

It feels good and defiant and angry and passionate all at the same time. And who knows how it will feel tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great to see you, Tricia! I hope the long weekend did you good. I can only speak for myself when I say that I am looking forward to your next Northern California weekend!! (But, I have a funny feeling that everyone up here would agree with me.)
Don't forget to send that email address....

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Sandi said...

Tricia, a girlfriend of mine and I are planning a weekend in NYC in the next 6 weeks...if you'd like to explore east coast options we'd love to entertain you!


9:49 AM  

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