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Life Decisions


Some people can make anything out of anything else – Linda McCarriston, Birthday Girl, 1950

There are times, maybe when I am in the shower, or chilling out on the couch watching Top Chef, or participating in a non-work-related activity at work that the fun committee created to improve morale and team building, or most especially at 3:00 every Friday, and always when I am on paid vacation, when I think about my job and I tell myself, maybe I’ll just stay there forever. It’s easy, benefits are good, pay bueno, people are nice enough, and my little office is fine. But then I remember that 83-year old lady. She’s me, there she is, sitting on her couch, looking back on her life. Is she saying, “You had a good life but you should have done more for other people.”? Is she saying, “You chickened out, wussy.”?

The problem is not knowing that old lady. Even though she is me, how much like me is she? Did something happen and now she is poor, wishing someone had told her to stay safe and stash a bunch of cash in her mattress so she could afford to feed her cats and buy gourmet English muffins and good coffee not Folgers and pay for all those meds? Or does she sit there with her coffee and her books (God I hope she can still enjoy coffee and books) and breathe deep, satisfied sighs over the fact that while she was somewhat poor she wrote some, taught some, and helped people some?

She may still be having these thoughts in a house with a red door (the one that’s in escrow baby!), but she may be living in a little A-frame in Atascadero, sitting on a back porch that has been painted by her best friend, smelling the beautiful scent of tomato vines and cussing about fog and heat and cold, but saying, thank God, thank God, there is no snow to shovel and no ice melt to ponder throwing out on the walkway.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/11/2011 5:22 pm

    Hey, I LOVE that you are having these thoughts now, or even, ever! How many people get to the old lady stage of their life and never even consider what might have been?!?

    You continue to inspire me, Tammy!

    • 04/12/2011 5:04 pm

      I can’t remember if it was Martha Beck or Julia Cameron who offered this as a writing exercise – to really consider what advice the older you would give (she’d probably also say stop worrying about your weight and what other people think about you). Thanks Nan!

  2. 04/24/2011 12:00 am

    I can tell you one thing right now from the almost old lady that I already am, don’t sweat the small stuff because you won’t be able to remember it anyway!!!!
    The only thing that matters is following your heart. My golden rule is, if it make me happy, do it. Life is way to f*ing short not to.
    Congrats on the house.

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