There will be a moment, every now and then, when I look up and wonder how I got to where I am. One day I’m washing dishes and looking out the kitchen window at the eucalyptus tree in the front yard of my house in Morro Bay and considering the steps – and possible missteps – that got me there. Another day there is a brightening behind my eyes and a quietening of my heart and I’m on the field in the football stadium at Cal Poly, having made it to my college graduation at age 43. It’s almost as if I awake into the moment, into my life. These are Talking Heads moments: “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”
I experience these awakenings with a frisson of tension and awe, and I spend a little time thinking about other paths I could have taken and the other people I could have been.
The woman I know myself as might be just a circumstantial version. Could I have been a never-divorced wife, the mother of twins, an entrepreneur, author, almost anything I wanted to be? Would I have been “me” if I had a different life?
I rather like these moments of dislocation, these little fractures in the apparent intentionality of my life. I’m humbled by the notion that I actually experience the world through experiences, opinions, decisions that owe as much to accident as to purpose. I have known people who had a plan and followed it and that’s admirable for them, but it wasn’t my way.
I certainly don’t regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it, but I do wonder sometimes just exactly how did I get here?