” For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.'” … John Greenleaf Whitter
It is New Year’s Eve, a great time to reflect and review and rededicate oneself to living the life you always wanted to live, provided, of course, you have any idea what that might be. I personally feel like I have drifted most of my life. I did not plan much of anything, just kind of struck out in different directions and changed directions if that path did not seem like a good idea. Sometimes I did take the path less traveled and that has made quite a difference, I imagine it is still up for debate whether that difference was a good one or a bad one.
I have had a fortunate, privileged and happy life so far for the most part. There have been, of course, bumps and bruises, but I like my life a lot and I like almost everyone in it. There are things I think I should have done differently, but I am pretty good at forgiving the person I used to be for screwing the pooch. After all, she did not know any better, obviously. I do get rather impatient with myself for continuing to do some things I know are not so smart, but again, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I am a Chaos theorist, I think everything happens for a reason. If I spill sugar on the counter and end up dumping it in the sink I believe there are bacteria or other creatures down there that needed it, I was just the vessel to provide for them. I do not believe in coincidences, or accidents or happenstance. I think there is a grand plan and we just do not have viewing privileges of the blueprint. Okay, having gotten that out of the way I am now going to edit my life. This is the list of ” if I knew then what I know now I would have done this differently!”
- I would have gone to law school in 1971 when I had the chance. I was eager to start making money though so I began teaching instead…mistake, but not a bad one, I love teaching
- I would have moved from my home town. I love Xenia, but it is too easy to get complacent on the one hand and to get caught up in what people think on the other hand. I spent a lot of my early adulthood proving myself, or trying to, to people who really did not matter and who I would not spit on now if they were on fire
- I would have had one more child. It just seems like four would be more symmetrical
- I would have learned earlier that people are people no matter what their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, that most of them are marvelous creatures and that I have more in common with each of them than I have differences
- I would have learned to play the piano
- I would have stayed in the college classroom. i would have taken the tenure track job at Hofstra University when it was offered and not gone to the dark side of administration. That was caused partially by hubris, director sounded better, more important than assistant professor, but the politics and cronyism and Machiavellian machinations of administration types is wearing. I am sure professors can be manipulative and difficult as well, but I doubt any reputable institution allow the level of nepotism and cronyism I have observed in administration in the professorate. At least you have to teach, research , publish and serve to some extent and the evaluations have to be fairer. And most importantly you have academic freedom to say and write what you believe should be said and written.
- I would have written way more. I do still plan to do that of course, but hey the clock is ticking!
- I would have saved more money. Some say knowledge is power, but so is money.
- I would have spent more time with my friends, and chosen my friends more wisely in some cases
- I would have learned Spanish
Things I would not have done differently!
- Gotten married early– I see what a lot of women who postpone marriage end up dealing with. I am not sure I would ever have gotten married if I had not done it when I did. Of course, I cannot know what that would be like, might have been great, but I don’t think so
- Had my kids early–I tell young women all the time that they can have it all, but maybe not all at the same time. Since my kids were grown and gone by the time I was in my late 40’s I got to reinvent myself, go back to school, change careers, move, etc.
- Become an educator. It is in my blood, bones and sinew. I love all things about education and think it is truly the way the world can be improved. Most problems are rooted in ignorance and lack of information
- Been the strong-willed, opinionated, stubborn person I am. It is not always easy, especially for the people around me, but I can truly say like Frankie Sinatra, I did it MY way.
- Refuse to take life seriously. None of us get out of here alive, we need to enjoy it while we can! If it is not enjoyable, why do it? Except for things like cleaning the litter box or flossing one’s teeth, those are required maintenance things and not necessarily to be enjoyed.
- Get my PhD. I enjoy being Dr. Cookie so much it is awful. Blame my father who thought having a doctorate was the ultimate accomplishment and drilled it into me.
I will close with an Irish blessing I have on my office door.
May those who love me, love m
Those who do not love me may God turn their hearts
If he cannot turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so that I will know them by their limping.
I hope you all have a healthy, prosperous, fun New Year with few limping folks and and 2012 is your best year yet!
Love and hugs to all!