Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bless the broken road...

I'm a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. Which is why, when I look back over the course of my life and the choices that I have made, I regret none of them. I might not be proud of everything I've done in my life. Some of my choices were even downright dangerous. But every choice I've ever made, every mistake that I've had to survive, every questionable action that has had it's equally questionable reaction, has led me to this...exact...moment.

It's tempting sometimes to look back on your life and say "if I could go back to that moment, knowing what I know now, I'd do things differently." And maybe you would. And maybe it would have changed your life for the better, and maybe you would now be missing out on a part of your life that you simply can't imagine living without. Sometimes I say "if I could go back to my days in college, I wouldn't have changed my major from pre-med to art." And if I could go back and change that decision, maybe in some ways my life would be better. I would be a doctor, no doubt making more money than I make now. But my life would also be altered in ways that would not necessarily make me happier. Work would be more stressful, require longer hours, and I would have missed out on knowing all of the people I met because I made that decision 16 years ago to be an art major.

Sometimes I look back and say "if I could go back to the moment when I abandoned my plans to be an art history professor and go to nursing school, I would." But then where would I be? Another $100,000 in debt from getting my Ph.D and working who knows where making barely enough money to get by. And I would have missed out on meeting all the wonderful people I knew in nursing school and all the people I met working as a nurse. And I also would have missed out on the opportunity to meet a surgeon who would ultimately change my life forever.

Sometimes I've had moments where I've said "if I could go back to the moment when I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, I would." The changes that take place when you permanently alter your physiological make-up are sometimes unbearable. I will never again be able to eat the way I did before. Some of my favorite foods I will never be able to eat again without almost immediately throwing up. It takes me roughly five hours to eat a regular barbecue sandwich. I have to chew it until it has lost all flavor, and even then I can eat no more than a bite every fifteen to thirty minutes. It's maddening. But if I hadn't had that surgery, I would not have lost 145 pounds, I would probably have diabetes, I would still have unbearable joint pain, and I probably would never have gotten pregnant.

Sometimes I look back to some of the truly reckless decisions I made after I'd lost my weight and was feeling the effects of my new found...popularity...with men. I was a virgin until the age of 33. And for a very brief time, well, let's just say I was trying to make up for lost time. I made some very bad, unhealthy, and dangerous choices. And while sometimes I say to myself "if I could go back to that moment, I would not have done what I did", the reality is, if I hadn't made those mistakes, if I hadn't experienced a couple of truly despicable specimens among the male population, then I wouldn't have ended up meeting one who turned out to be one of my best friends, and I wouldn't have ultimately met my husband. And even though Shaun knew all my dirty little secrets, he still loved me, never judged me, and chose me to be his wife, a choice he claims is the best one he ever made.

Sometimes I look back to the moment when Shaun proposed and I say to myself "if I could go back to that moment, I wouldn't have said yes." Sometimes I wonder if we rushed into things. Sometimes I wonder if maybe he would be better off with someone else...someone better. And then I think about how everything on our wedding day just fell into place. He proposed on a Sunday night. On Monday morning we called the one and only judge in the city of Memphis who still performs weddings and he agreed to marry us at 3:30 that afternoon. We had seven hours to go get a marriage license, find him a ring, find me a dress, get dressed, and get downtown to the courthouse. And we did it all with time to spare. He says it was meant to be. Sometimes I still find myself wondering. And then I look at my son.

According to all the dates and ultrasounds, our son was conceived on our wedding day. People frequently laugh and ask "was he really conceived on your wedding day? Or is that just your husband's Catholic guilt talking?" But like I said, every piece of scientific data compiled during my pregnancy (and when you have your first baby at 35, I assure you the data is plentiful) points to our wedding day as Jameson's date of conception. He is, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever done in my life. Every bad decision, every questionable action, every seriously self-destructive choice, ultimately led to him. He is the culmination of every curve in the road of my life. He is the air I breathe and, in my opinion, the reason I was put here on this Earth. So yes, I have made my fair share of mistakes. And no, I'm not proud of all the things that I have done in my life. But if I could go back and change any of them, even with the wisdom of my years and knowing all that I know now, I wouldn't change a single one.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting you mention this as Joe and I were talking about the same thing recently. We have come to accept our past as that is what has brought us together and given us a wonderful daughter and a son on the way. :)

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