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This is probably a journal entry more appropriate to New Year's Eve, but I am inspired tonight by some reflection I was doing on my life.

I had a terrible childhood. As I say when people ask, we would have been trailer trash, but we were too poor to afford a trailer. Hand-to-mouth would have been an improvement. Through most of my highschool years we didn't even have a telephone because we owed the phone company too much money. I almost died one night when my family was gone to the coast and I developed a terrible kidney infection, but could not call for an ambulance. I was 18, feverish, delirious, and came back to consciousness enough to crawl to the neighbor's house at 3am and pound on the door until someone finally answered. They loaded me into the car and took me to the hospital.

If you had asked me my life goal at that time, an honest answer would have been, "Never to live like that again."

So I went off to college, got a degree, and achieved the 19th century dream. I married well. He was an attorney, had excellent prospects, and fulfilled them. By the time we had two children and 15 years of marriage behind us, we were living in a big house in the nicer section of town, I didn't work outside the home because I didn't have to, and on the surface everything appeared to be perfect.

I was set up to be a Jane Austin heroine. But I chose to be an Edith Wharton one instead.

Sure it was comfortable, sure I had two cars that were paid for and vacations in exotic locations. But I was also married to an intolerant stuffed shirt whose continual carping was driving even the children crazy. In an act of great daring, I walked away from security, leaving the bulk of it to him, and sought love again.

It didn't go badly. We married, he joined me in Alaska, and we settled into a new life.I became a paralegal, a respectable profession, and we were actually getting our feet underneath us.

But it was too safe. And when an opportunity came to move to the states and be a paralegal in a REAL law firm came up, I jumped at it. And from there, law school.

In four years I will be someone I have never been before. An attorney.

This is not change simply because change is easier. The gods know that settling into this new job and riding it out is not only possible but encouraged - people are here for decades, the money is decent. Law school is hard. Not so much the work itself, but the sheer hours. I could be cruising home at 4:30 every night, getting up at 6:45, living pretty. Instead, I'm getting up at 4am, dragging mysefl home at 9, all so I can be something I haven't been.

An attorney.

I need change. Even when the stress has me screaming for a day alone, huddled in bed with a good book, the very core of me is reaching for something new. Lawyer will be the last great change for me. I know this. I will be sidling up to 50 when I finish lawschool, will have 15 years to practice, to truly learn the art, before thoughts of retirement start to play center stage.

Because retirement will be one more chance at change.

I still have the dream of a well-appointed motorhome, of temp work in pleasant locales and getting to know the locals before moving on. Four, five months in a place and then on to new pastures. America, one small town at a time.

Or that commune [livejournal.com profile] juggernt and I joke about. Horses and houses and the people we enjoy, all in close proximity, roleplaying and philosophy debates and taking turns making good meals for each other.

Or a tiny apartment in Milan, someplace I can close up easily while I'm imposing on friends in France or Germany or Belgium. Someplace just big enough to accomodate those friends when they come and impose themselves.

I don't know what it will be. But it won't be just grinding to a halt because I've run out of steam. Because I have never stopped reinventing myself, and I hope I never will.

I don't know what the future holds, but when I look at myself, I have to bet that it will be not what I expected today. And I'm happy with that. There's a part of me I embrace, a part of me I hope I carry all my life. A dear uncle made an impression on me once, when he refused to come along on a hike up the side of a mountain. He wavedhis hand and sneered, "I've seen mountains; when you've seen one, you've seen them all."

He may have been a dear to me, but he was wrong. Every mountain is different. Every view is new. And my greatest wish in life is to never grow too old to climb a new mountain, face a new challenge, be willing to remake myself again.

Try to keep up.
zoethe: (Default)
We're used to seeing cars in the ditch, and they are a minor curiosity. Today, however, I saw two semi-tractor trailers and found that my reaction to them was remarkably different.

The first was amazing. Going through a cutbank we came across this semi completely in the ditch, completely off the road, nose down, right side up--with the trailer straight up the hill. Essentially, it looked like the trailer was driving down the embankement, except its nose was buried in the ditch. I can't even imagine what kind of force would put a trailer in that position. But before Erin and I could even begin discussing it, we came across a jack-knifed semi, upright, its cab folded back against the trailer like a swan tucking its head under a wing. This one was across the highway from us but in the median ditch so we had a good view of it sitting there on the other side of the guardrail. It hadn't knocked the guardrail down--the back tires on one side were resting on top of it. With only about 200 yards between these two phenomenal accidents, it was as if some giant's child had been playingwith his trucks and left them helter skelter.

I know what my emotional reaction is to accidents and ditched cars. This was nothing like that. This was the same feeling I've gotten when coming across the remains of shipwrecks in Alaska and in Oregon. Curious, and awed. I found the reaction interesting. I thnk it is because of the size of the things and the odd and precarious positions in which they found themselves. They changed from being trucks to being eerie. Titans befelled by forces I cannot analyze.
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I look out onto the flat, gray lake beneath a winter sky. There are no palm trees here, no warm breeze to curl around my ankles and urge me down to the water's edge. The wind cuts through my jacket, flailing me with grit that stings my cheek.

There were other days. Days when our tangled ankles were all the touch that we could bear without the tropical heat pushing our desire back to the rumpled sheets. Lying in the shade as the air caressed our skin, seducing us into frenzy. I cuckolded you with a tradewind and you betrayed me with a zephyr. The sweaty panting on the cool tile floor was only the culmination of our adultery. You slipped into me aroused by the scent of the jungle. I was slick and ready with the call of wild birds. We used each other and groaned out satisfaction from primal depths. Our skin cooled under the breeze of the ceiling fan--and the jungle crept up our thighs and began the game again.

I look out at the winter lake and remember. I yearn for the tradewinds, but you I've left far behind.

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September 2012

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