I’ve got nothing on my mind,
Nothing to remember,
Nothing to forget.
And I’ve got nothing to regret.
But I’m all tied up on the inside,
No one knows quite what I’ve got,
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be
You know I’ve heard about people like me
But I never made the connection.
They walk one road to set them free
And find they’ve gone the wrong direction.
But there’s no need for turning back
Cause all roads lead to where I stand;
And I believe I’ll walk them all
No matter what I may have planned.
Everyone of a certain age has heard Don McLean’s song American Pie…and it is an iconic song. But others of his are amazing, and Crossroads is probably my favorite. These first two stanzas I love for the idea that whatever our choices have been in life, they make us who we are. And who we are is ok. (The last two stanzas are great as well for couples who share difficult paths with each other – but that is a different post.)
I have never been someone who wishes they had a “do over” or lived with a lot of regret. If I did have another beginning in life perhaps I’d choose some different things, make fewer detours to where I ended up, but if I’m fair I believe that at every different crossroad in my life, given who I was in those moments, I’d probably choose the same way now that I did then. My choices were right for me when I made them.
No, I didn’t pursue writing when I thought I would. I chose not to transfer schools and go to journalism school. And yes, my life might have changed if I had. Maybe, Doug and I would have married later, had our children later, and I would have started creative writing sooner….or been a doctor instead of a teacher and social worker…or….
But I have a husband and family I adore, and one of the great things about having my children young is that, although my son and daughter were not quite as young as I was when they had theirs, I am still young enough to fully participate in our grandchildren’s lives and watch they grow up into adulthood.
And I have written my book with all my life experience to draw upon. I think it is a richer, better book than it would have been, because I am a more complete person now that I was when I was 22.
All of this is to say that, in retrospect, I am happy with my choices, even the ones that look like detours. I have posted On The Road Less Taken by Frost, and I am sure part of who I am has both shaped and been shaped by my choices. But today what I am trying to say is a little different. It is: Relax, there are no wrong choices. There are only the choices you have already made and the choices you will make in the future. And all of them can lead to good, if that is where you want to go.
Our teen granddaughters are visiting and looking ahead toward high school for Catherine and college for Caroline. They are already talking about where they want to go and what they want to be as adults. Caroline is pretty focused on some area of medicine. Catherine is more interested in the tech world. They have so much that lies ahead of them, so many places to go, and people to be and become…and so many choices to take and learn from!
My mom was a wise woman who had words of wisdom for every occasion. When I’d make a mistake she’d tell me, “Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start over.” Mom also loved Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and the movies they starred in when she was a young girl. So when I just “googled”the phrase, it was no surprise when I found this YouTube clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGUsRGuZb6k Words of wisdom from a song:
Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off, and
Start All over again.
Many mistakes lie in the girls’ future, in mine, in yours. The world is filled with them. We all make them. Mistakes are not necessarily destiny…but sometimes they can be serendipity. It all depends on what you do with them. You can always dust them off….or perhaps discover that what you thought was a mistake is just a new beginning.
So relax, enjoy what will come. There are no mistakes if you just keep traveling toward your dreams.