Last night, on the way to a seventh grade basketball game, life completely passed me by. It was driving a really nice car, and my entire writing career was inside. New furniture was strapped to the top, destined for the brand new house in that perfect neighborhood we dream about. Money, I’m not even kidding, there were briefcases of it.
I was kind of bummed. I mean, there was no way I could catch it. I spent too many years making next to nothing so I could be in the house with my kids. And once I finally started truly pursuing a career in writing, my imagination needed work, and my children’s lives had evolved from can I have a snack, to watch me score this touchdown. Now, here I was, going straight from the day job to the ballgame, my poor unfinished manuscript freezing cold in my little house, not likely to get opened again for hours. The whole thing was kind of a living reenactment of that Pinterest post with the stick family on the vehicle, only instead of kids by the parents, it’s happy bags of money.
“”I think about it, too,” Kate says in the movie The Family Man. “I wonder what kind of life I would have had if….”
If I stopped going to the ballgames, I bet I could get the books written faster. If I quit my day job too. I’d have trouble replacing their hole-filled socks for a while. And I’d regret it someday when they are grown and I realize what I missed. But then I’d be a rich, successful author and could make it up to them, right?
But, of course, I’m not worried about what I will regret someday, looking back. Because I know it would not take that long. The little brothers slept all the way to the game last night, and I found myself more perfectly and ridiculously content with the nothingness of their peaceful rest behind me than I could possibly have felt if I’d been in that car with life. I don’t wonder how it would have felt to miss that pretty play between my son and the boy he’s played basketball with since those first child-sized games at the Y, because there is no way I would have.
“And then I realize,” Kate says, “I’ve just erased all the things in my life that I’m sure about.”
Sometimes it’s harder than at other times, but we need to realize when it comes right down to it, if we are honest about our decisions and our motivation and our pursuits, we are in exactly the life we want. We chose it every step of the way. We choose it now.
Come to think of it, that wasn’t life that passed me by at all. I was smack dab IN by life. I was sprawled out like a cat, enjoying every second – my toes were squished in its goodness. Whatever passed me by, it was definitely somebody else’s stuff.