I sit at 31,000 ft. looking out the window of a Boeing 737 aircraft. All I see are wisps of white cloud patches miles below me. Their scalloped puffy surfaces look like welcome mats to bounce across.
We’re flying home after two weeks of watching a perpetually changing Atlantic Ocean. As I sat at a computer writing stories of my life, the waves constantly changed shape and color.
My writing colleague and friend seemed to produce stories faster than I did. Also I try to keep from sulking as her life stories sound so much more profound than mine.
I remember that life is a journey. Life is filled with smooth roads, bumpy holes, rocks in the middle of the road and straight, unspectacular shots. We watched the television play out a symbolic memorial process for a well-known public figure. This set my mind to spinning.
What are the road signs, the crossroads and the detours that have shaped my journey? What are the mechanisms for looking back?
I remind myself that each person’s stories are unique and unrepeatable. As I approach an eight-decade marker, reflections of joys, regrets, satisfactions and doubts slide through my mind.
“What do I think people will say at the end of my life?” We couldn’t help but ask ourselves that question as we listened to story after story of the famous politician who had just died.
I have enjoyed drawing a life timeline in the quiet, solitary times of my life. I enjoy highlighting points of memory.
In a one-day course during the 60’s and 70’s, women reflected on their roles as persons in society. We included in the day’s activities an exercise of drawing a life timeline. We also asked the women participants to work with a week’s design of how they used their time.
This was a moment in history when the possibilities of a woman being any role in life that she wanted to be was just breaking loose.
Life does not turn out the way it ‘should’
Nor does life turn out the way it ‘shouldn’t’
Life turns out the way it does