Friday, July 29, 2011


This morning on my walk up the “really big hill,” I got to thinking about journeys.
We just returned from a trip to visit my in-laws in Florida; two weeks in the brilliant sunshine living a life of relative leisure, where we traveled frequently by golf cart, began each day with a swim, and spent our afternoons playing dominoes or visiting zoos and museums. I didn’t have to cook or clean a thing, I barely touched my hairdryer, and I wore hardly any makeup. It’s amazing how freeing life in a retirement community can be. And yet, it was not exactly the trip we had originally planned.
The trip we had been discussing for months over dinner each evening was supposed to be a cost effective road trip to Nana and Pop Pop’s. It morphed into something far greater, with multiple days at Disney World and an unexpected purchase of airfare to save my ever-temperamental back. Worth every penny, but not what we had planned.
Journeys are like that, whether they be literal trips or the more figurative life journey we all share. You begin planning with one destination in mind (a no-frills trip to Florida, a career as a lawyer, retirement in a sunny locale where the grandkids will visit often), but more often than not, the plan gets changed up multiple times, sometimes significantly, before the destination is reached. If it’s reached at all. Road trips become flights, jobs get eliminated, dreams get reshaped to fit our circumstances.
When this summer began, I set lofty personal goals. I would finish a complete draft of my thesis. I would visit key destinations for project research. I would sell that pesky novel that’s been in the works for years. I would train for a 5K. I would bike daily. In my spare time I would start a new middle-grade novel. Ah, summer.
Then a herniated disk killed any chance of running to the end of my block, let alone in any kind of race. My one attempt to swing my leg over my bike laid me up for days. The novel I thought was so thoroughly complete…well, it turns out, wasn’t. And the thesis? Turns out, writing with the kids home from school is harder than I thought.
Did I expect the derailments? Of course not (though my loving husband would tell me I should have, since I always plan to accomplish way more than is humanly possible and end up disappointed). But I’m rolling with them. I still have the month of August to work furiously on my thesis (maybe Grandma can log some serious babysitting hours). I can still squeeze in a trip to Ellis Island (if my brother agrees to put me up). The editorial comments on my novel will ultimately make it a far better piece to send out into the world. It will all be good.
And as for my back, Julius at Rehab Services assures me he’ll have me feeling better than my old self as soon as he can, with core strength like I’ve never had before. Hooray! Though I wish I could have arrived at that destination via a different route. Ah, journeys.
In the meantime, I scale the “really big hill” every morning on my journey to recovery. It’s a workout, akin to a Stairmaster; it often makes me sweat; and it’s frequently painful, because I don’t take my pain meds until after breakfast. But I have to say, the view from the top is always worth it.
Journeys are like that.

1 comment:

Elizabeth-Anne said...

Yes, yes, and yes. Oh, journeys... I like the view, and I can't say I'm not a better person because of them (even if I might not have chosen that path), but isn't that your point?