Well, technically, I don't believe in accidents. I believe in Providence. But I use the term 'accidents' loosely to mean something that was not chosen by me. Sometimes, even diametrically opposed to what I would have chosen.
Growing up in a dysfunctional suburban family (oh how I identified with the movie American Beauty), I could think of nothing worse than continuing to live there as an adult. I may have been the only person in high school to love country music and fantasize about living on a secluded homestead, growing my own produce and tending my own livestock. And riding horses everywhere. Gosh I love(d) horses.
In college, my ambitions took a more humanitarian turn as I fantasized about running an orphanage in some impoverished but happy place, like Botswana. Again, there was a lot of growing one's own produce and tending one's own livestock, but with some schooling thrown in there.
I also considered joining a circus. Or a musical troupe. Seriously.
|This was definitely not what I pictured...but it does feel like I joined the circus most days.|
In that sense, I really wasn't into getting married either. Sure the companionship would be nice...but it had better be one heck of a companionship that would be worth the...shackling.
And then the accident of all accidents happened--the one that started a series of somewhat inevitable events that led to my, for lack of a better word, demise.
As a newly minted sophomore in college, I met the spouse.
Actually, now that I think of it, the word 'demise' is more than fitting. I remember feeling that exact sense of finality and closing doors within a few weeks of our meeting. This was it, I intuited. The end of the line.
Here would be the person I would marry. Here was simpatico and the sense of belonging that was simply impossible to pass up. And he would definitely not be up for country farm-living, or touring with a troupe.
And then the spouse wanted to have a kid.
And then we wanted that kid to have a friend-for-life.
And then we wanted them to have good public education.
And it was impossible to find a work situation that allowed me to spend as much time with my kids as I would like.
And now is now.
Many times I think back on the person who dreamed of living anywhere but the suburbs and I just have to shake my head in wonder. It feels like I ran to the ends of the earth (if only in my head), only to come back full circle.
But for all the novelty, freedom and horse-riding that has been conclusively given up, I actually feel surprisingly...full...and filled.