I feel like in my short life, I've already lived at least four separate lives. Somehow, the Universe has afforded me opportunities not to...start over, exactly. But to change course so that I can continue on a path to be whoever it is I hope to be. That's pretty cool.
It could also be, too, that I'm one of those...dissatisfied people always looking for something more. Although...I don't really have a problem with that.
Except when I feel dissatisfied.
I'm totally one of those people who can be moved to huge and important decisions because of a book I read, or a movie I watched, or even a TV commercial. After I saw A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe, who I don't even like very much, I knew I had to change my life. How ridiculous is that? Not like I fancy that I myself even have a beautiful mind. Just that...my world needed more than what it had at that time.
But sometimes it is so much simpler than that, isn't it? I watched a movie tonight, a movie that I'm so embarrassed was my "Move Me" movie that I won't say what it was, but it was a Big Deal. Anyway. It made me think about those old feelings of dissatisfaction, and then about what my life is right now.
You can feel free to read all my blog entries to date to find out what my life is NOW, but I can sum it up real easy. Today I went to change a toilet paper roll in the bathroom, and when I bent down to do it, I came face to face with a thick, dark smear of poop on my cream-colored wall. And what did I do about it? I silently got a Clorox wipe and cleaned it off.
I really, really love my life and who I am (as my sister pointed out to me this morning, incidentally: "You don't have any problems with self-confidence that I can see"), but this movie that I watched tonight reminded me of something else. It reminded me of feelings beyond the magic of being a mom and a wife and a...bloggist. Blogger. Bloggess.
Nine years ago this month, I woke up really early in a hotel room. Not a super nice hotel room. It was...adequate. I'm pretty sure it had the word "Budget" in its name. I'm not generally into waking up early in a hotel, but this might have been my third or fourth time ever being in one, so maybe I didn't know that yet. Or maybe it was because it was in Cedar Point, Ohio, and I wanted to arrive at the gate before anyone else, so that I could race to the new roller coaster and be the first one on. The Dragster.
Of course when we arrived, Joe and I, the line outside the gate was already a small mosh-y crowd, filled with people of all ages and all types voicing similar plans to mine. Families with tweenagers. Burly older men with scruffy beards and backwards baseball caps and t-shirts with cutoff sleeves. Super preppy college kids in Polo shirts and pressed shorts. But I was twenty-three years old. I was spry. I was determined. I would get to the roller coaster first. I would be on the first ride of the day. And Joe would be with me.
It was a sunny warm day for May. When the gates opened officially, the crowd began to move faster than I expected through the clicking turnstiles. I was conscious of two things: how close I was to the front of the line, and the person whose palm was pressed against the small of my back so that we would not lose each other in the shoving and pushing to be next.
Just as we neared the front of the line, I felt a warm cheek press against my face. I closed my eyes, and I could see without hesitation the smile that was not just in his mouth but that went all the way into his eyes, like his heart was visible through the pupils. Through the twinkle that was always there when he looked at me. I heard his voice say, "We're next. Ready?"
I handed my pass to the ticket-taker. She scanned it over the turnstile, and waved me through. I had taken three steps before I heard the clickety-click of the turnstile behind me, and then Joe's hand grabbed mine.
"GO!" I yelled.
Hand in hand, we began to sprint. Oh my God, it might be the last time I ever ran like that, like I was being chased by a team of raging pit bulls and the only means of survival was propelling my body forward as fast as I could. Joe's hand slipped from mine as he pulled forward, but he turned back to see that I was still there. The sun was behind his blond hair, his cheeks were pink with excitement, and that smile on his face...I swear it lit up the whole park. Or maybe we both did, because I felt that smile inside me and knew it was on my face, too.
I wimped out at the Drop Zone, or the Terror Tower, or whatever that ride is that pulls you straight up and then lets you go at, like, zero gravity or something. I don't pretend to know. Anyway, I got a cramp in my side, because while that was probably the last time I ever ran that way it was also probably the first, and I half galloped, half limped the rest of the way to the Dragster. Joe, clearly torn between loyalty to me and our plan to get to the ride first, half galloped a little ways ahead of me.
We weren't first to the ride. How could we be? We weren't even first in the park. But we only had a ten minute wait to get on that roller coaster, and I'm pretty sure that moment when I flew off into a wild run with a person I know with my eyes closed was the free-est and most alive I'd ever felt.
That was my moment of pure, complete happiness. Mine. Separate from my children, separate from everything I had been before a life that began that day, at Cedar Point, Ohio. It is the moment that defines for me that whoever I am, whoever I become...happiness makes the most sense when Joe is right there with me.