Sunday, June 16, 2013

Life before your eyes

I think we're all waiting for a moment when our lives will change.

The optimists among us are hoping for a brighter future. A change in circumstance that will make them happy. They will be able to cross the street by themselves. Drive a car. Visit a bar. Earn a promotion or find a better job. The love of their life will walk in any moment.

They are looking for the happy ending.

The pessimists in our midst are just bracing for the end.

Anxiety level, over time, is the best indicator of which end is up.

There are been many moments in my life thus far that I've braced for that one moment. Most recently, it was last June when the doctors' office called with some worrisome test results.

A follow-up, more tests, repeated tests in six months, and a determination of "normal" findings did their best to reassure me that I would have more time to worry for no actual reason.

Eventually, I know, they will find something. They always find something eventually.

It's June again.

A time when school releases and summer commences. A time when plans for birthday parties and day camps and vacations come together. And time for my annual imaging visit of terror.

“Why didn't I do this during the month of its awareness,” I chastise. “The only holiday it would ruin is Halloween … and a holiday devoted to horror seems apropos.”

Instead, as it stands, I have set up appointments that are destined to ruin either the summer or Christmas season. Hopefully not both.That's just the optimist trying to be soothing.

As I drove along the roadways to my scheduled appointment, my life flashed before my eyes.

I passed the places to which I had commuted for most of my adult life. I drove past my first job – a restaurant, where I worked in the kitchen. Next I drove by my first apartment. There, or there-abouts, was the place I had a flat tire one cold, February morning when I was six-months pregnant with my first child.

The path I took had a mixture of good times and bad. So many turning points.

I took this road to high school and college. To outings and meetings and new experiences.

The road brought me to weddings and births and funerals.

It had brought me to the hospital countless times. To visit loved ones, welcome babies and volunteer. It brought me every manner of waiting room, from emergency to surgical.

How many traffic jams had I encountered right about here? I wondered as the traffic slowed nearing my destination.

Of course, I was jumping the gun. I was picturing an end to the summer I had planned before it began.

Of course, I worry. Of course.

“I will wait for the doctor to read the films,” I tell myself, fearing waiting for that phone call more than the results it will bear.

“Will be with you soon,” says a reassuring voice. “Don't worry.”

And I realize there is something I've been doing besides worrying.

This past year I've been taking each day as it comes. I've been smiling at strangers and volunteering at school. I've been reeling things in and letting them go.

And as much as I've been white-knuckling it through these narrow straights, every time I review this life I've had thus far, I am reminded how it never really stays the same.

It changes – one way or another – from one day to the next, each day of our lives.

This summer, to my great relief, my plans will go on as scheduled.  

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