You made a lot of decisions along the way that got you to this point. Nothing is by accident. You look at other people and you think, he has a better job, a cuter wife, a nicer husband, more obedient kids, and you forget, you chose this life.
I have a friend who I’ve known for twenty some years, and I used to think, I wish my life were as easy as his. This guy taught for forty years at a community college. He retired at exactly the right age for obtaining the maximum teacher retirement benefit. He never married or had a live in girlfriend and he’s never had children. He is very careful with his money and since he is not responsible for anyone, he’s never had to bail out a son, nephew or niece, who was shoplifting lipstick at Target or got caught with his pants down or skirts up. His life is quiet and without big incidents. He drives a safe car; he buys the cheapest gas. He saves most of his money. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he has no debts and a top notch credit score. He eats at nice restaurants. He lives in a perfect world.
I’ve been married twice. I have two kids, two step kids, a husband, an ex husband. I have many friends who lean on me. Having invested all our resources, in fact, we’ve hawked everything we’ve ever owned, to start a publishing company, we are people who live risk, challenge, opportunity. We are not safe. We have people who love us and count on us. But, we are out on a limb every day. We do not go to fancy restaurants. We cook.
I have a friend who is a very successful doctor. At some point, she was wishing that she could be an editor like me. She certainly could retire from medicine at some point and get into editing; she has skill, but I explained to her that I get to be an editor because I made sacrifices. I am not in a big house; I am not a member of a country club. Let’s face it, I can’t afford martinis except on rare occasions. But I do get to be an editor. I made choices that led me into the publishing world and the writing world and here I am.
And one day, my friend of the perfect credit score said to me, It’s not fair to be angry with me because you don’t have what I have. I made my choices. I chose this life. You chose your life, and even though I can be a real pain in the ass, I knew he was right. I chose this life and I might as well enjoy it. I chose this tree. I chose this limb. I climbed out on this limb. I saw the ground. I took a saw. I started sawing my limb. I felt the lift of limb for a moment, then air. Enjoy this air. I say to myself. Enjoy breathing. Enjoy this falling sensation. Take deep breaths. Open your eyes. Is this flying? Or falling? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.