This year, I'm being thankful for all the things I wanted and didn't get.
I looked up an old girlfriend. The thing I remember most clearly from when we dated was the time I asked her out on a date and she said she was busy - teaching blind kids how to swim. That's the way she was; when she said she had a CPR class, she meant she was teaching instructors how to teach CPR, not that she was learning CPR. I think I had a fascination for her because I felt a challenge to try to keep up. When I last saw her, she was off to medical school; she was one of 6 admitted to a program that had 5000 applicants.
So, what did she do after we separated? Went to medical school. Then she coasted. She's a physician here in town; my sources tell me she's an adequate family physician with no real distinction. I had a brief chat with her online and she's done nothing of interest to me in all this time. Everything she'd done when we were together was done to make her look good on an application.
I thought about what my life would be like if we'd stayed together. We had no similar interests, my tastes running away from the middle-of-the-road pedestrianism of hers (pedestrians in the middle of the road get run over). How bland things would be, as I'd inevitably have to cave in to the average and polite. I would never have had the chance to become the weird, messed-up, broken shambles I am.
I do not like the person I would've become. That person probably wouldn't like me. But... I like me as I am right now and I'm not sure that other me would be able to say that. Now THAT's something to be thankful for.
Oddly, back in the time we were dating, I was reading Goethe's "Faust" (in German, no less). In the simplest explanation of the work, Faust makes a deal with the devil (Mephistopheles), that, if he's ever satisfied, ever is willing to take a second to stop and look back at all he's achieved, the devil can have his soul. I seem to have made that bargain myself. At times, it's a kind of hell on earth, as one can never be satisfied; at the same time, I'm usually happy in the moment, happy in the struggle.
Looking at my life from the outside, most people would think I have little for which to be grateful. It doesn't look like much on paper. Yet, I wouldn't trade it. So, if you ever have to slog through one of my "sucks to be me" posts, know it's just me forgetting for a moment that having a hellhound on my trail just makes the journey a little more exciting.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Sunday Night Musings
5 days ago