Reflecting on Choices

It’s a gray, windy day here in Austin.

I’ve been brewing over the past, the future and wrestling the present moment into a bear hug, desperate to stay grounded.

I have been thinking about what happened in Playa del Carmen after I discovered I was pregnant.

We all make choices, and then we live with those choices.

What I experienced in Playa del Carmen after discovering I am pregnant, was a rollercoaster of emotions.

I found myself reflecting on the series of choices that led me to the moment where I was sitting on the beach in the dark with Addison, listening to the waves and watching their white crests glint against the moonlight.

I had chosen to leave Addison, and to ride my bicycle to Brazil.

I chose to ride from Austin, leaving Brazil for last.

I didn’t just go straight to Brazil, because I wanted to follow the line I had started when I left Vermont on a bicycle 3 years ago.

If I had known I would only be gone for 3 months, yes, I would have gone straight to Brazil.

But I didn’t know that.

When you tell your life partner that you’re leaving them for 6-9 months and you don’t know when you’ll be back, naturally they must make adjustments of their own.

The trajectory of our lives had been splitting apart, and this child seemed to have appeared to make us reconsider everything.

In a way, it should have been relieving.

Being pregnant would mean I could go home. It could mean I wouldn’t lose Addison.

And it could mean many many other things.

Those many other things washed over me as I sat in the sand with Addison.

What about capoeira?

What about our music careers?

What about making it all the way to Brazil?

What about the book I was going to write once I finished my 9 month journey?

I imagine many new parents experience these kinds feelings.

New life bringing a sense of death to their old life.

But never once have I heard a parent tell me that they regretted having kids.

I am so fascinated by old people. People who have been through all of this and more. People whose children are already grown, and whose grandchildren have already been born.

When I see an old lady, I stare at her, study her, think about what she might be thinking about, how it might be to be her.

Her hands are wrinkled and covered with blue veins and dots, her face is sagging and her hair is thin. But her eyes are the same color as when she was 16.

She has lived–far longer than I have–with her choices.

She had dreams too. She hoped for things.

When she was young, she imagined her life to look a certain way, imagined the great things she would accomplish.

She fell in love, she broke hearts, she had her heart broken.

Maybe she tried to become a concert pianist, but it was too hard. Maybe her parents couldn’t afford the lessons. Maybe she lost interest when she got older because than she wanted to be the lead singer of a rock band.

Maybe she wanted to travel around the world.

Maybe she wanted to be a school teacher.

A poet.

A dancer.

Most likely she wanted to be loved, respected, admired.

Maybe some of these things happened. Maybe none of them did. Maybe they happened in broken bits and pieces.

But by the time she is in her 70s or 80s, how much of it really matters to her anymore?

Or does it haunt her?

I hear Tom Waits’ voice drift through my head at this moment:

“What does it matter, a dream of love or a dream of lies?

We’re all gonna be in the same place when we die.

Your spirit don’t leave knowing

Your face or your name

The wind in your bones is all that remains.

And we’re all gonna be just dirt in the ground.”

dirt in the ground

 

Thanks for reading. Don’t want these posts to be too long, so I’m practicing keeping them a bit shorter. I have the next part mostly written and I’ll share it soon!

 

8 thoughts on “Reflecting on Choices

  1. You can still write the book. I think the unexpected is always more interesting, even in a nonfiction. Think of it as a built-in plot twist!

    1. Thank you for saying that Teresa. 🙂 It means alot to me, especially coming from another writer!

  2. Your ending is a bit dark, ma chère…. But having a child and getting married is just a very different road. First at all I am convinced you’ll be an awesome mother. It will take precedent over your other dreams. It will seem very sweet. It will make you detached in a good way.
    And then, keep in shape, keep in great physical form, (avoid C-section if you can avoid it), and even 20 years down the road, you can still bicycle to Brasil… You can cross deserts with camels, you can climb mount Everest.
    Anything is possible: You can do it. And by the way, you are an eternal spirit soul and if you don’t achieve your goals this life, you can fix your mind on them at the time of death and achieve them in your next life, then.
    For now, take it one day at a time. But believe me, I know what you are going through, thinking that the child will totally restrict your dreams. I never gave up mine. It took time, but now in old age, i am exactly where I wanted to be… And i raised three children…

    1. Wonderful post Jahnavi! And equally amazing response Dhira! Yes both of you, keep writing. Jahnavi, please do write your book, especially now while all is fresh.

      My friend Ollie here in the valley wrote his autobiography before he was 40, about his lifes journey and travels and it was very much appreciated. He said why wait until you can’t remember anymore!

      I really appreciate your reflections and it helps me to reflect on my own dreams, fears, desires, where I could have done much better, and how to adjust my sails from here!

      Thanks for sharing! I will be there in August.

      Love, Pita

      1. I started plans for writing my autobiography when I was 17! So it seems like something I’ve just been working up to doing, and it’s happening as we speak. The more difficult stuff to write about is childhood–figuring out what’s important to share or leave out, remembering things accurately, researching, interviewing parents, aunts and uncles… 😉

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. Thanks for your comment. 🙂 This blog post was more an observation on my darker ponderings of pregnancy, but there is also the happy good stuff that I’m looking forward to or experiencing.

      And I do remember that you (and some other people who have shared their stories with me) did keep your dreams alive while having kids, or at least made them happen once the kids grew up!

  3. This post really resonated with me….

    “I found myself reflecting on the series of choices that led me to the moment where I was sitting on the beach in the dark with Addison, listening to the waves and watching their white crests glint against the moonlight.”

    It’s very humble, the reflections about how we all have big dreams, some come true, some don’t, and some, in bits and pieces…and the question of how do we deal with it.

  4. I had to read it twice – it was well written and very exiting – can’t wait for the end but I can see you are still with Addison 🙂
    Hope ypu have rexeived – or will soon my packet.

    Hugs from me

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