When I look back at my recent posts, I cringe a bit. Who is that needy and fearful person? I don’t believe I am either. I’m not even all that introspective. If you add up the hours I have spent analyzing major life decisions, you could still fit in an early dinner and a movie. In spite of my wallowing lately, the overwhelming emotion in my life is excitement. I am a kid on Christmas Eve.
Last Wednesday evening we dined at an Indian restaurant in Llanrwst, Wales with a group of fellow photographers attending a photo workshop. Bound by our shared passion, we sat around the table gabbing and laughing like old friends. We tasted each others meals and told stories of travel, family and just life. An observer might have believed we were a group of old college chums catching up after a long absence. Spanning four decades, a few of us were Americans, most English, one young woman grew up in Brazil. Liz and Tony mentioned they live near Heathrow. “If you ever need to stay over, you are welcome to stay with us.” We offered them our guest room in Budapest. For one very lucid and defined moment I thought, “I have a wonderful life.”
After years of swim meets, football games and volleyball matches; parent teacher conferences; and emergency doctor visits: our three children are grown. All have become exceptional young adults. We are fortunate. I claim no credit because, honestly, I can barely remember their youth. Life moved with no sense of time passing – kind of a long and deep sleep which transpires in the proverbial blink of an eye. One day they came home from the hospital, the next they left for college. For whatever role I played, I hope I played it well. I can’t be certain, but when I look at the people they have become I am thankful someone did something right.
Years ago, I studied computer science to “get a good job”. At the time we were living in a two bedroom flat in blue collar Detroit decorated in a style we called “Early Alvin” (Alvin being our landlord and a purveyor of very used furniture). The centerpiece was a lumpy, pea green yet gently stained, felt couch. We saved money by reconstituting powder into milk. An esoteric degree was not in the cards, yet I have no regrets. Now I can study English literature or Eastern European politics with the sole goal of improving my dinner party repartee and the peace of mind that a nut brown leather sofa awaits me in a storage unit in Colorado.
Global and interesting friends; happy and secure children; freedom and independence: wrinkles, stiffness and progressive lens glasses are such a small price to pay. When I look back at its entirety, my life has always been good. Any fears are adrenalin fueled. They are the good kind of fears. I am a kid lying in bed awaiting Christmas morning. My senses are on full alert, my eyes wide open. I can not wait because with all of my being, I do believe in Santa Claus.