That whole "miles to go before I sleep" line has me thinking. How I view it is solely based on my mood. It can either mean that I have a lot to do before I can rest for the day or a lot to do before I die. Although I don't make lists of things to do as I should, I think about all the things I want to accomplish. Making a list is actually a very satisfying way to feel like you've accomplished something. I do adore crossing things off my ever growing, continuous list. Everyone does. I think about my existence on this plane, happy for the things I have more than disappointed for the things I don't. This is solely based on averages, not always daily. Once again, all based on mood, and perspective.
As I've grown older, I am more settled by the fact my list of things I want to do before I die has shortened to a more healthy and reality based one. Remember that MASH game we all played in high school (not sure if that's still a thing). M is for mansion, A is for apartment, S is for shack, and the H stands for house. One of these things will be your future by the end of the game. Naturally, back then I wanted a mansion. Not so much now--way too much upkeep and I can't even think about the electric bill. I'm wondering if Apartment can have sub-categories that include a townhome or condo? As far as the Shack goes, I've done that already. I'm now wondering if my life is actually playing out just like the game. We all think of a shack as being uninhabitable, but it's defined as a roughly built hut or cabin. People pay a lot for those kinds of places these days. Nevertheless, I think I can cross this off as been there-done that considering one of my "homes" was rough for a while. There was a legitimate house—once upon a time. It had a huge yard, trees, community pool, and plenty of living space. It also had property taxes, an HOA that was rather Gestapo-ish, and a constant battle with chinch bugs. I have an appreciation for rock gardens at this point.
Now, I have a condo in a beautiful community that's quiet--relatively, considering the kids. There's a lake, pool, hot tub, and no lawn I need to maintain. I've loved and appreciated this home for the past three years, but now it's time to make a move. We need more space as our family is growing by one, that handsome man I’m destined to marry. So, in this the part of the game you list your crushes, those hot men you will live happily ever after with. What I wouldn't give to see a copy of the outcome of this game back in school. If I were to summon my 9th grade self, I can think of only one celebrity I no doubt selected for this great honor. Simon LeBon from Duran Duran. That's a no brainer for anyone in the mid-80s, or at least someone from that band. I'd get to tour the world, backstage access (of course), and I'd get serenaded every day. I can't even imagine who else I selected at the time, but probably some cute guys from school. These days, I have no desire to live a celebrity life and I already have the man I want--but for the love of the game, let's list some contenders. Chris Hemsworth, who needs no explanation. Tom Hanks, because I'm sensible and he's adorable. Ewan McGregor, who's sexy, sings, and has that whole Scottish accent thing. And finally, let's go with Paul Rudd--that cute boy next door that makes you laugh. With the exception of Chris (who is exceptional), I think my choices are age appropriate. And, I imagine all of these guys have good credit--that's just sexy.
When it comes to the car selections, I know my younger self was obsessed with one car--the Corvette. I can't even imagine having a Corvette now and insurance has to be outrageous. Although still a sexy car, they are incredibly impractical. Before kids, I had fun in my Miata and Jeep Wrangler. After kids, I had no fun in a mini-van--a car definitely not ever chosen by my 15-year-old self. Nowadays, I'm a simple girl and just need something that fits the family and runs well. But, since I need to choose four vehicles, I'll fill in the blanks. Audi Q5, because who doesn't want an Audi? Range Rover, because being a bad-ass mom is important. Jeep Wrangler is still a good choice since I have teenagers driving and it has a towing hitch. And because being bad-ass extends outside of my motherhood, a Porsche Carrera GTS convertible--specifically that new Tiffany blue. I'm still a girl after all and the kids don't have to go EVERYWHERE with me.
And where will I be driving that Porsche? Well, for now, Orlando. Back in school, I'm sure I chose far off countries and exotic places--Italy, Spain, or some remote island in the South Pacific. Try driving a Corvette on those sandy roads along the shore. I'm happy in Orlando, but I need of four places to live for the game. My choice of Italy hasn't changed, and George Clooney would love me as a neighbor. I definitely have a cup of sugar he can borrow. Spain is a contender, and I'm sure Antonio Banderas could give me, uh...us, some insider tips on the best neighborhoods. My older self also wants Mexico, not just because of the family lineage, but because it's rich with culture and has beautiful beaches. We'll leave the criminal element out this fantasy. My final choice would have to be somewhere along the coast in the States, preferably sunny and warm. Why the US? Aside from my family being here, it's familiar and I need a little of that at my age. Besides, there are plenty of places to explore and many cultures to learn in my own backyard. I love the melting pot that 'Merica is.
There are some variations to this game. Some include career choices, pets, and even the career of your future spouse. I don't recall all the categories I used then, but I know that how many kids I would have was one of them. I'm maxed out at three, so there's no need to venture there. Wouldn't want to jinx myself and end up with four. I shudder at the thought of being pregnant again at this point, especially since I'm pretty sure my future always predicted just two--twins. HA! What the hell did I know then? How I wanted twins, one boy and one girl. The hands of fate knew I could only handle one at a time and threw in an extra one to secure my want of a girl. The MASH gods know what they're doing and we don't question them.
Well, this isn't the productive list I was planning when I started. However, it helps me remember all the things I wanted to do before I die--or, rest for the day, whichever. I will say that my perspective has definitely changed over the course of my life, as have my priorities. I'm happy with the man of my dreams, the townhome we've chosen, the car that gets me where I need to go, the city in which I live, and the number of kids I have. I do hope I have many more miles to go as I obviously have things to do and places to see.
Overall, I think life is good. I didn’t always feel that way and found myself in an unhappy, dark place a few years ago. It was a bombardment of shitty things that left me asking, “Really?!” I honestly believed that my experiences were the examples used when explaining Murphy’s Law, because if anything could go wrong, it actually did. The opposing thought of “everything happens for a reason” or “look to the bright side” did nothing for me. “Roll with the punches” is great when you’re getting a few jabs now and again, not when it’s a full-on MMA assault.
Anyway, I’ve had to many good things happen as of late to maintain that philosophy. But, I do falter sometimes in my self-pity and have come to the conclusion that I’m the unknowing victim in W.W. Jacob’s short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s a story about a withered, old monkey’s paw that will grant the owner three wishes. But, there’s a catch...there’s always a catch. You see, the hopeful person who makes the wish is messing with the hands of fate and must pay a price.
In the story, Mr. White decides to wish for money to pay off his house. His wish was granted. His son is in a fatal accident at work and the exact amount he needed was given to him by the factory as compensation. I won’t spoil the rest, but I think you get it. I’ve concluded that I have somehow obtained this monkey’s paw and made some wishes.
So, what had happened was....I got this job as a vacation planner last year and thought of it as a stepping stone to get where I wanted in the company. What I wanted to do was write and they had a content marketing department. My favorite job was for a hotel company essentially doing that very thing and I looked forward to getting back into the hospitality business. As I went through the training, I realized that this wasn’t necessarily a company I wanted to be a part of because I feel their business practices of luring people into timeshare ownership was deceptive. I found a way to work through my guilt by being completely honest with those calling in to plan vacations and educating them on the positive aspects of their investment. This did include warning them of the negative, but also how to make it work for them. It was amazing how much they didn’t know, even after years of ownership. I thought writing on the company newsletter or blog could fix that. But, booking vacations for them wasn’t the job for me. I wanted out—so, I made my wish.
I got my wish in the form of involuntary dismissal just before the six months ended, which was when I could apply for the other department. Not exactly what I meant Mr. Monkey’s Paw. The dismissal was not because of my performance. I consistently ranked in the top of my team with vacations booked. “Exceeds expectations!” I was told month after month. And, it wasn’t because of my customer satisfaction, because my surveys kept me around 100% when callers rated me. Their dissatisfaction with the company kept my overall score averaging around 92% in overall ratings. I got dismissed because I used my paid sick days. Yes, the company provided paid days off for illness, but you were penalized with an “occurrence” if you used them. The final straw was my leaving early to take my daughter to emergency care when her fever reached 103.8. This was the third time one of my kids had a fever over 103 while working for the company. Please note that aside from the common cold, my kids rarely get sick. Now to be fair, I understand I’m paid to be at work and the company has every right to expect my presence. However, life happens—which is why the company provided the benefit. Either way, I got my wish—I was out.
Another good example was finding the perfect home for the kids and me when I got divorced. The condo complex is gated and has a security guard. It’s very quiet and lush with trees and beautiful landscaping. It also has an amazing lakeside pool facing west to watch the sunsets. The location is perfect just south of downtown and practically across the street from two highly ranked schools for the kids. And, it has a great layout with a huge kitchen. A year after I moved in, the owner I was renting from decided she wanted to sell the condo. I was extremely disappointed and made my wish she’d change her mind. The first thing to stop the sale was the refrigerator breaking. In the course of six months with a half dozen or so repair visits and missing work to accommodate the appointments, I lost a few hundred hundred dollars worth of food and salary. Well, I didn’t have to move, right? It was taken off the market again a few months later when the roof started leaking. More repair visits. I’m still living in the condo almost two years after it went on the market. I think I could be winning on this one.
This is just a couple of examples in a series of wishes that make me heed the warning of being careful what you wish for. It almost doesn’t stop me from wishing for my dream job where I can write and be as creative as my little heart desires. The pessimist in me thinks something will go wrong. Like, my boss will love my work, but tell me they have an adversity to using verbs in a sentence. It could happen. I once had a boss that insisted on everyone using #2 pencils, but went crazy if they saw any eraser shavings on the desk. She would literally stand there as you cleaned up, watching to ensure every strand was gone. No amount of free lunches was going to make that better (I was twenty and having lunch provided was fantastic). So, yes, something could go wrong.
The good thing is that the optimist side is a bit stronger and keeps pushing me along—keeping me hopeful that I will find the right job for me. My fiancé insists that statistically I’m due for a great job. I sincerely hope the science of mathematics works, or rather it’s my wish that it does.
I am a woman-child at heart; continuously evolving to find my place in life. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I am a lover and a dreamer--an explorer and a traveler. But it's my passion for writing that allows me to explore my ingenuity. This is something that undoubtedly carries over to the many roles that make up the ever evolving woman I am.