"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WOULDA, COULDA, SHOULDA

So I just got off the phone after a surprise call from an old college friend...

There's no friend like an old college friend when it comes to the uncanny ability to instantly whisk you down memory lane to a younger, less-encumbered, more carefree time of life...like, say, when you were in your early 20s...

(Oh, by the way, that's a pic of my freshman dorm, Boyd Hall, at Ohio University in Athens...some very fond memories...)

Anyway...my friend and I were catching up with each other's lives and I was sharing some tidbits about my recent fun trip to Minneapolis to visit my 23-year-old niece. I noted how confident, energetic, and rarin' to take on the world my niece is...and how, at the ripe ol' and somewhat tired and disillusioned age of 51, I am downright envious of her. How I wish I had her verve.

"You had that when you were her age," my friend said.

"I did?" I asked. "Really? I don't remember..."

"Yeah, you did," my friend said.

I just don't remember feeling vervy.

I mean, I remember wanting to become the next Erma Bombeck, and being jazzed about graduating from journalism school...but I was never one of those gutsty j-school students who lived and breathed journalism and bravely embarked on exciting summer internships to Tel Aviv or even Cleveland.

I wrote a few horribly boring pieces for the Athens Messenger...and I was a copy editor for The Post, the Ohio University newspaper.

Yippy Skippy.

And then I moved to Carroll, Iowa, for cryin' out loud, after graduation.

How safe and very non-vervy.

"But you wanted to be near your family, your sister," my friend gently reminded me.

Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten my reasoning...it's all coming back to me now...

Actually, I had intended to live and work in Davenport (where my sister resided) that summer after graduation , send out resumes and eventually land a writing job back in Ohio. Back to my beloved Cincinnati...maybe write a humor column for The Cincinnati Enquirier...write the Great American Novel...

I never made it back to the Queen City.

I snagged a daily newspaper job in Carroll (my only job offer), ended up getting married, pursued my writing career here and there about The Tall Corn State... and the rest, as they say is history...

Bottom line is -- to quote from one of my favorite movies, The Way We Were -- "We make our choices, and then our choices make us." (Thank you, Babs Streisand.)

The thing is, for all sorts of reasons, life often just happens, just sort of unfolds serendipitously before us, in spite of our plans, intentions or true desires.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Nearly 30 years later, tho, as one stands a bit past the mid-mile marker on life's rocky road, staring down what's left of the not-so-long homestretch, one can't help but ponder now and then -- particularly after a surprise phone call from an old college friend -- what if I woulda? I coulda...maybe I shoulda...

If I'd only had the verve...

2 comments:

My buddy Beth-o said...

You had lots of Verve and you still have it, it's just slightly muffled so as not to freak anyone out :)

Love ya...Beth

cbranden said...

on this Valentine's Day....my friend...I passively read the Homestretch and feel the love ~ it's oozing from your pen...searching, wondering, thinking... lost and looking all your life ~ reading, writing, praying, fighting...it's God's will...the truth be known Ann, you were meant to be..SO be.
...I'm telling ya....