Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Messing with the Past

I wanted the past to go away,
wanted to leave it, like another country;
I wanted my life to close, and open like a hinge, like a wing,
like the part of the song where it falls down over rocks:
an explosion, a discovery; I wanted to hurry into the work of my life;
I wanted to know, whoever I was, I was alive for a little while.
~Mary Oliver

There are days when the drag of simple routine allows room for some interesting thoughts, gives time to think, "What if ... ?" and dwell on the old bugaboos, "Why didn't I ... .?" and, "If only ... ."

However, unlike the talented poet Mary Oliver, I've never wanted my past to go away. There have been far too many amazingly wonderful, life-enhancing, life-altering, joy-filled experiences. I may wish I had been more loving, more considerate and, in many cases, shown more understanding. There's advice I wish I had taken and advice I wish I had asked for. But that's all predicated on my knowing then what I know now. 

A few days ago my sons and I talked about our choices and how those choices have impacted our lives. My oldest son opined that we tend to believe different decisions along the way would have made our lives so much better, yet we'll never know. Life might have been much more of a struggle and not nearly as fulfilling. Of course, on that very philosophical level, he's absolutely correct. Therefore, 

Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes,

make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules.
Leave the world more interesting for your being here.
~Neil Gaiman 

I've definitely made some "interesting mistakes."  However, as I said to a friend last week, I liken the way I once painted a room to the way I managed most of my life: I made some big, sloppy messes, but I always took responsibility for them and always cleaned "things" up afterward (as best I could). 

Again, referring to my eldest son, when he paints he's very, very meticulous. It takes longer at the outset, but at the end he doesn't have to go back, go over, redo or make excuses for sloppiness. He acknowledges he didn't always "paint" his actions with forethought.

Good decisions come from experience 
and experience comes from bad decisions.
Physical limitations mean I no longer paint the walls of my interior rooms, but I do slap and spray paint willy-nilly on my outdoor furniture, shed and garden decorations (no gnomes or flamingos, by the way!)

I'm not making those other kinds of  "big, sloppy messes" but I am certainly satisfying some inner need to make changes and stir things up ... just a bit.