Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Club I am President of

Today started off so well. Any day that we have derby is a good day. Then, throw in a cookout with your league mates and it don't get much better than that! But then discover that your child thinks you are the President of The World's Worst Parent Club. When we are entrusted with a child, it is our duty to guide them to adulthood, instilling the values and skills needed to survive in the world at large. Rod Stewart's song "Forever Young" has a line in it that says, "And when you finally fly away, I'll be hoping that I served you well". From day 1, I have been preparing for that day. Doesn't every parent want better for their child? How do you make them realize that when they are sure it is your mission in life to ruin theirs? Am I ruining Hannah's life? Have I spent too much time on personal pursuits and not enough time with her? Does she need more from me? What if I can't give more? Since the last half of the 20th century, it’s become the norm to look back at our childhoods as the sources of our problems. Freud, and then Dr. Spock, helped ingrain this idea so that we now take it for granted. Well, I always tell Hannah she'll need something to tell her therapist someday!
Suddenly, I am tired. I feel like I am at a crossroads in my life. Hannah's preparing for her college career and I'm wondering if I still belong in the domestic violence field. I am haunted by reflections of a young woman with a wandering spirit and a restless soul, who lustfully craved adventure and never looked back once a decision was made. Driven by the motto "do it now and figure it out later so there'll be no regrets", new and different places were explored without itineraries and frequent relocations relieved chronic boredom. Traditional jobs were confining, daily routine was a breeding ground for restlessness, and a conventional lifestyle was stifling. I thrived on novel experiences and new beginnings, continuously clearing the slate and reinventing myself. Where ever did she go?
Consider the proverbial fork in the road. We have three choices: go left, go right, or stand still and languish in a state if inertia. The decision I make now will potentially shape my destiny for years to come. Ambivalence is a poison that clouds the mind and squashes the spirit. It is always best to chose a path, take a leap of faith and keep moving forward, rather than succumb to the illusory shelter of inactivity. As a person who has often been guilty of running from pain and charging ahead with reckless abandon, I am now focused on the power of standing still. However in standing still I am actually moving forward, because I stand now with peace and clarity rather than frozen in the grips of fear. I think it is not the destination that matters but rather the journey, and life is really just one long journey with many crossroads along the way. As a seasoned traveler with (hopefully) many adventures yet to come, I plan to travel light, celebrate the crossroads, and stop to breathe now and then.

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