Everyone should be born into this world happy
For those of you who spent the last while in holiday mode, or are heading into it now, or both, I hope for a season that is mostly lovely and minimally stressful. For the rest of us, well, I hope the same. It's been a hectic few weeks here, with lots of activity and little sleep, which is the reason for my unplanned hiatus. I'm going to go easy on myself for the next bit, too, as we gear up for Christmas time, so don't fret if you don't hear from me: I'm just doing the things that'll be the new year's letters.
My little sister spent Thanksgiving week with us, a lovely and bittersweet thing, given that, with her upcoming graduation, she's not likely to get a full week away from her responsibilities for at least the next few years. This last visit was busy and active, a stark contrast to the last time she was here, when I was recovering from Rowan's birth and she was our helper-person. Both kinds of visit are a blessing, but I have to say I prefer the kind that is not a post-operative haze and also not taking place in the midst of a polar vortex.
I continue to be a little bit disoriented by watching her in this part of her life; I remember it so clearly, but the fact that she's in it means it was a full, entire decade ago for me, and that just doesn't really seem possible. The uncertainty about where to go and what to try; the knowing you'll have to leave options behind; the terror that you'll make the wrong choice.
I know, now, that there probably isn't a right choice. Life isn't a story; the narrative doesn't follow that way. Sometimes my priorities were wrong, and sometimes I made the wrong decision because of it, but I didn't have that information at the time. I couldn't have. I backtracked a few times, tried again, found a new way, took paths that were laid out in front of me and forged my own. It's possible there were many options that could have gotten me where I am, but I can't know that for sure, either.
For most people, life's not linear, or predictable. You can make as many pro/con lists as you want, but you can't really know the costs and benefits of a choice until you've made it and let it play out. In the process, you're going to fall. It's going to hurt. But you're almost definitely going to get back up again and keep moving, and it'll suck for a while, and then it'll get better, and then it'll suck for a while again. But it's almost never all bad, or all perfect. There's no such thing as a life without regret, or without mistakes, but the secret is this: that's not a problem to solve, it just is. You're supposed to mess up. You're supposed to stumble and get up again. Very few mistakes are totally life-ruining, in the long run, no matter how messy they feel while you're untangling them.
Keep at it. The only way out is through.
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