In the midst of getting to know someone new, I sometimes find myself sharing stories (maybe crazy stories) that I feel best describe me. I’m all about full disclosure…and, good or bad, I’ll never lie. Crazy stories, like when I had to basically gain my way into the Mexican Immigration Office in order to get the papers that made it legal for me to live here…by writing about my intentions here…without knowing how to speak a word of Spanish. Or how I chartered a bus to drive 17 of my fellow diving friends through an insane snowstorm to catch a connecting flight out of Charlotte the next morning so we could get to Turks & Caicos where I was scheduled to dive that weekend. Or how I literally moved to another country…where I didn’t speak the language…to dive for a guy who left me two weeks later to return to the States…and I stayed, knowing only like 3 other people on the entire island. This happening after I had left my job (…more than just a job, a career!), my apartment in NYC, donated all my clothes to the Salvation Army, packed up my shorts, bathing suits, flip flops and dive equipment because I had wanted to be a mermaid!! WTF was wrong with me?!?!
So now, 7 years later, I am reliving a few of those memories (and laughing at myself!!) as I share my life’s story…and I am actually looking at myself from the outside. I’m attempting to paint a picture of who I am and what I stand for in order to what…warn him?!?!…no complaints in the future if these things start happening in your life too! But am I being honest about who I am today…or who I was 7 years ago? And is it me who really doesn’t understand me so the more I tell stories about myself, maybe the better I am getting to know who I am? Or at least who I was to have gotten me to where or who I am now?
I blog…is it the same as journaling? Maybe sometimes! I remember old blogs I wrote about myself that caused good friends of mine to react to them by saying, “That only happens in your life!” or “Now I should write a book!” But that doesn’t make sense to me…I don’t do anything differently than everyone else, so why do these crazy things keep happening to me? Of course, I don’t really see “these things” as being anything different than what could be happening in everyone else’s life as well. Or if it is so strange, then is it just what the universe holds for me so that I’ll never get bored?
I see images and pictures of women my age…even much younger than me…living boring, sedated lives as they marry, have children, become PTA moms and soccer moms who make dinner for their family every night in their big houses as they drive big, expensive (gas-guzzling) SUVs and blah, blah, blah. I mean, hey, if that’s for you? Great! Enjoy it! To me, that’s me being a square peg who just can’t fit into that round hole. And it isn’t that I didn’t once think that was what I had wanted…to be safe…to be like my mother. But yet, I see how she raised me…to take my life by the seat of my pants…not to strive to marry just anyone. But to wait until I found the person who would complete me. To travel far and wide…to get off of 50th Street…make sure that you don’t settle for just the guy you’re with at the age when you think you need to settle down. She taught me to never settle for anything/anyone/any place just because…instead, she taught me to want to see the world…and maybe how to find the person to share it with.
I used an expression once…after the summer I spent in Bumble Fuck, PA as a sleep away camp counselor when I was 18 (another topic for another blog, probably)…I came home and said that I had seen that there really is something that exists past that elevated train station located on my corner, where I grew up. There is a whole world out there that I had certainly not seen yet and it had become my mission to find it. And at this point, I had not even left the tri-state area yet!
I always had a thirst for knowledge and stories about other people. I’ve always been a watcher of people…trying to figure out what makes them tick. I’ve always had amazing friends and have been accused of being able to be a chameleon, but never really knowing if that was a compliment. I’ve recently even accused myself of being guilty of living in my own world, at times…or I’ve said that I’ve just always marched to the sound of my own drummer…though I hadn’t realized that no one else could hear the same music (and voices) going on in my head. But now, I see my life as super exciting and happy and that I’ve kind of missed that stage where things get boring for so many of the fellow women existing in the world. The ones who get bored after having been married 10-15 years with their 2.2 children and dog and house and car…who chose to visit Dr. Whoever for the latest script that might make them happy this month.
That was never my thing…chemical dependency. Of course, I am a rare case of being someone who never really had a hangover. (Sure we’ve all woken once or twice, feeling like a train wreck after a night of bad liquor.) But I gotta tell ya’, it was never my norm. So as I speak about the things I chose to do, instead of settling down to get married like so many of my friends did, it is not me coming from a place where I felt as though I needed to be saved from myself…as I believe many of my friends once did. Instead, I would just keep going. I grew apart from groups of friends, not because we had disagreements or fights or arguments, but just because we no longer shared common interests. When I became a diver, I kind of stopped partying as much as I did before and began to take care of myself…recognizing that if I didn’t, no one else was going to.
I remember a conversation I had with a super good friend of mine from college, who, while we were in college, used to tell me that I needed to plan my future. She had the plan to graduate, get engaged, get her masters, get married, and have children…in that order. I didn’t have that plan…that was me, square peg, not fitting in round hole again. She would get frustrated with me and tell me that one day I’d regret it.
10 years later, she was married with her masters and two children and husband…living her plan and she called me to bitch about something (children shitting or throwing up or her useless husband not understanding how the Super Mop worked or not helping with groceries)…I was, at the time, allowing my friend to re-tie my bikini top as my other friends waited for us downstairs to go lay out by the pool of our hotel in New Orleans during my first trip down there for Jazz Fest. I attempted to explain this to her as she grew angry and said something to the effect of, “Real nice how some of us still get to travel.” Need I say more?
I explained to her how she was living her plan and what right does she have to try to make me feel bad about the plan I never had which she used to lecture me on? She apologized and said how much she loved her husband and her children and wished me a good trip…and ten years later, she and I are still very close friends.
My point? Life should not be planned! Life can not be planned! If you plan everything, something is always thrown in to mess it up. Life is to be enjoyed in the moment. We can be excited the plans we might have in the immediate future, but you can not only be excited about something happening that is dependent on someone else. If you want to go some place or see someone, then go there! Pick up that phone and go see someone…if that is what will make you happy for that moment. If you want to travel somewhere…go! No one should be stopping you! If you want to buy something that you can not afford…get a second job…I know it can be hard. Or obtain a degree that will result in an increased salary. Your goals need to be based on you…your tasks and activities…your decisions…no one else’s. And your goals may be long-term or short-term. But you have got to stick to them! You can not allow anyone to steer you away from the destination you would like to obtain for yourself or from the person you would like to be…even if it’s like me who just wants to continue to take life by the seat of my pants with no plans in sight!