45th anniversary of Tapestry’s release the other day, around the time of my 47th birthday. And what a tapestry I’ve weaved.
I had a dream last night that I was trying to walk down a spiraling hallway that went around and around until you got to the ground level. There were fir trees lining the inside of the staircase and the trees were filled with cats, of all things. Like house cats, but lots of them. As I started walking, I realized there were also big cats, but they were in the pathway, and not in the trees. Lions, cheetahs, bobcats, and it was really scary but I tried to pretend like they were just other cats and if I didn’t act scared, they wouldn’t act any differently than the house cats that were prowling around. I tried to just walk and look normal but inside I was terrified.
Kind of how I feel about life these days. I sometimes have no idea what’s going on and feel like there’s no center, but I feel like if I just keep walking and try not to look terrified, nobody will know and I can get to the door and get out ok.
I don’t believe much in regret. You make the best choices you can with the information in front of you, and you live with the choices. I do sometimes look back in curiosity now. For example, I had an opportunity at a young age to do a lot of traveling and I rejected the opportunities, mostly, because I was very sick and traveling was difficult, but also because of my crippling fear of flying. I am no longer sick, and there are now ways to fly and make it tolerable (hi, Xanax), but I no longer have the opportunities I did. I wonder how I would have been changed as a person if I had taken those trips to Laos, Bali, Java, China back when I was only 20 years old. It’s not “regret” so much as something I wonder about, now that I’m older.
But then of course I would not be who I am today, and mostly, I like who I am, so there’s that. I sometimes feel like looking back and changing direction would have been a “butterfly effect” that could have resulted in me not having my son, and he’s the best thing ever in my life, so truly I don’t regret when I consider it that way.
As a “planner” type, it’s hard to sit back and watch the threads being knit together in front of my eyes instead of being able to see the pattern and know what to expect. But I’ve come to learn there’s nothing you can expect or count on, and so you have to just try to pull the blanket over you as it’s woven, and take it as it comes.
I’m not where I thought I’d be. It’s better in many ways than what I could have imagined, yet lacking in some important ways that make daily life feel like a struggle most of the time, instead of a joy. I work to change my attitude towards it, as that’ all I can control.