Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Sometimes now I envy those people who are at the beginning of the long road of the lives they’ll make, who still have so many decisions ahead as the road forks and forks again. Imagining their trajectories, I picture a real road, branching and branching, and I can feel it, shadowy, forested, full of the anxiety and the excitement of choosing, of starting off without quite knowing where you will end up…

I have no regrets about the roads I took, but a little nostalgia for that period when most of the route is ahead, for that stage in which you might become many things that is so much the promise of youth, now that I have chosen and chosen again and again and am far down one road and far past many others. Possibility means that you might be many things that you are not yet, and it is intoxicating when it’s not terrifying.

— Rebecca SolnitRecollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir (Viking, March 10, 2020)

Comments

  1. Been thinking about that a lot lately. Trying to keep the terrifying days to a minimum and riding the intoxicating ones to the last drop.
    But, the way she put it, wow…

    Happy Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Have to disagree with Rebecca on this one. I tortured myself over far too years because I thought I *could have done better*. In the end, when my heart and soul were beyond sadness, I came to the conclusion that NO, everybody takes their road and crossroads as they appear, takes good and bad decisions, and tries surely to do the right thing at that precise time. I also don’t do nostalgia in this respect (I do it for many other reasons), and believe me, I’m in a so much better state now…. I still worry, I still think loads about the what if’s and whatever’s, but mainly, I’m terribly thankful that I can accept things as they happen and that I can mostly live through each day with a smile.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m same way, No regrets. But I can see and feel your point of view. Others far less lucky then me, I’m sure, wonder about the branches and paths they have taken. And luck/fate has so much to do with it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Could it be, Dave, that once a certain level (amount) of self-beating/regret is achieved, one just cannot continue to wonder about all the ‘if only’ scenarios? Surely, there must be a point where one just cannot ‘wonder’ any more and the ‘acceptance’ of all these taken roads and stumbled upon paths is the next step?

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This passage made me terribly sad. Have been feeling so much unease and uncertainty of late and spending a lot of time (too much?) in my head, reviewing old tapes and wondering what the future will bring. Trying to embrace Kiki’s model of enjoying each day as it comes, but it isn’t always easy….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lori, nobody said it is a walk in the park, it isn’t! I do take you for someone with very high standards towards yourself, your own conduct, as I do for my walk of life. But said life has taught me, and more so in my 12 years in France than before, that we really, well and truly, are the architect and creator of our own’s happiness and fulfillment. What we still could do better though, is having more faith in ourselves, doubt less our feelings and decision-taking. We are holding back ourselves more often than we think. Once we know, deep inside, that we can trust ourselves, we can then take on the worrying business of each and every day.
      (Sorry D for taking over once again – some of your posts leave me no other possibility, so it’s technically your own fault, LOL)

      Liked by 4 people

    • Hmmm. Not the intent. I was going for Nostalgia but pulled you down. Shame. It’s so easy to get dragged down in the World today.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I guess I’m still evolving (which is good, cause if I wan’t I guess I’d be dead)…there is no constant for me – rather a duality. I am grateful/I am fretful; I am nostalgic for infinite possibility/I delight in the intimacy of fewer choices…and so on. The pinball game inside my head.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. and possibility still exists at any stage, though feels different with some life experience behind us

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nan Heldenbrand Morrissette says:

    David, Thank you so very much for bringing Rebecca Solnit to my life. After reading the quote you previously offered from this book, I immediately purchased it. Yesterday, needing a break from working in my little studio on a Maine beach, I sat outside in the sun and began to read it. For me, this is a “mirror book.” As I look at the words I see myself – sometimes slowly coming into the light, sometimes way too clearly, always honestly. What a breathtaking writer. Again, thank you.
    Nan

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmmm…. this one is making me think a bit…
    On the one hand, it’s nice to have choices; on the other, fewer choices makes life simpler…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I’m so glad to be at the stage I’m in … nearing the last lap!! … “I have no regrets about the roads I took, but a little nostalgia for that period when most of the route is ahead, for that stage in which you might become many things that is so much the promise of youth, now that I have chosen and chosen again and again and am far down one road and far past many others.” — Rebecca Solnit, Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir (Viking, March 10, 2020).

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yet…yet is a powerful word…thanks for sharing David ☺️✌️💫smiles Hedy

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Man… my wish-list is so damn long because of you… I’m reading yet another of your suggestions.
    As for this, I get where she is coming from. When the road ahead is shorter than the one behind (or, maybe we are at an mid-point? Nah… that would mean…never mind) it is probable that we will have less forks to face than before and the ones we do encounter might still give us some anxiety and/or excitement but we have all those learnings we have collected over the years to help us choose.
    Having nostalgia over that period of time does not mean we regret or wouldn’t make exactly the same choices; I think it’s just the excitement of it all that for many, is dimmed. Some forget that they can still encounter more and still get a thrill over a new possibility. As long as we are alive, we have that potential.
    I’ve blathered on so, I don’t even know if I make sense anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Valerie Meluskey says:

    What a wonderful and thought-provoking conversation Solnit has inspired! I go off in so many directions, first with her exerpt, then with everone’s responses… Ping pong mind…I was thinking, pinball… [cf. Tommy, the opera…the pinball wizard]. For some reason I feel no regrets. Could be that I’ve made peace, but don’t even remember during so many dramas no one would want to repeat, I seem to just realize, deal with what is. Earlier in my life raising 3 children mostly as a single mother, too busy and engaged to think long range. Hmmm. Thanks Dave and everyone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Smiling….Ping pong mind. ME!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Valerie, now you have me worried, as I was thinking ping-pong or what we call table tennis (= endless fun fuelled, sending a tiny ball across a net on the table, accompanied by wild bursts of screams and laughter), I might have misunderstood Mimi before….. Aha the pitfalls for a non E mothertongued Swiss….
      In 2nd thoughts, I hold on to my ping-pong theory. Are you playing along? We could ask for a 4th player here and play a double… 😉🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      • Valerie Meluskey says:

        My ping pong or pinball mind has gone all over the place even to respond…. Remembering playing an intense ping pong game when visiting my daughter and my 16 year old grand son when they set up the ping pong table in their huge basement. I love the intensity of an athletic contest–total focus. But when my mind is ping ponging all over the place my focus can’t take hold. Part of what I love about Dave’s blog is how so many perspectives come together while we are ping ponging away. p.s. does anyone know what a pinball machine is? the unpredictability and randomness may fit my free range mind.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Oh yes, Valerie, I do know exactly what a pinball machine is – I’ve lived 8 years in the South of England in a sleepy town called Torquay, which is utterly beautiful and totally falling apart. We called it lovingly God’s waiting room because most habitants were either on a Zimmer frame, a mobility scooter or young people on the dole because obviously, having no work and little money is much better to live in a beautiful seaside town than, let’s say, in Manchester, Birmingham or another industrial, noisy place…. And because it’s a tourist destination (let’s not forget the thousands of language students coming in the summer months and ‘downing’ the average age of 80+ to 40+!), we had those pleasure and leisure centers with games, and cranes in transparent boxes where you could ‘win’ spectacularly horrid plush animals etc AND pinball machines galore…. A tiny Las Vegas with not 1% of its appeal!

          Liked by 1 person

        • So agree Valerie. There are so many wonderful perspectives…

          Like

  12. It’s inevitable to look back and think…what if? My first marriage was nasty, brutal and short — but here I am 20 years into a happy second one. I left behind family, friends, a thriving career and a country I knew well to arrive in NYC media, job-seeking, knowing no one, just in time for a recession. Ooops! I have often wondered about my “ghost life” — the one I would have lived had I stayed in Canada. But I have had a great run in the U.S., gaining the respect of people I am in awe of professionally, and have friends and own a home in a place I love….and was never certain that any of that (ironically) was possible if I’d chosen the safe/known road and stayed in Canada. The hardest part is that all those years and choices are gone…and not that many (God willing) yet to come. Although my father, healthy, turned 91 yesterday — so maybe!?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: