When I was a high school teacher, there would be days when 4 or 5 of us would be sitting around in the teacher’s lounge, our minds totally fried from doing what it is teachers do, and we would begin the teacher fantasy game. What would you have done with your life if you hadn’t been a teacher? That fantasy ranged wide. For me, baking, writing, becoming that person who linked birds and dinosaurs, always those alternative paths that lay out before us, like roads not taken, desserts not eaten, scarves not knitted.
My favorite ever was the ag teacher who told me he’d rather be a used car salesman.
A couple of days ago Miranda Suri reflected on the death of Steve Jobs. This quote is what I want to reflect on today.
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” He continued, saying “And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
I have been in a place before where my answer has been no. That’s not what this post is like. Like Jobs, I recognize that we have the power to make our lives what we want them to be. We cannot always have what we want, exactly when we want it, but we can move our lives in the direction we want.
I often joke with people that writing is the last thing remaining on my childhood to do list. It is the one thing that I hoped for that I have not yet completed to the level I wanted to. All the other stuff?
Happy relationship? Check.
Good relationships with friends? Check.
Lack of dysfunction? Check.
Rewarding career? Check.
Seeing the world? Check.
Skill and achievement in theater craft (specifically costumes)? Check.
It’s been a pretty good 46 years, even if it’s been busy. I don’t always like busy, but it seems that I must, some, because I always am. I am content. And when I’m not, in general, I can fix that.
It wouldn’t be much of a life going it alone. I think that if the one thing I did with my life was to be fifty percent of one of the best relationships on earth, well, that would be enough. Bryon and I are good together, equals, balanced, supportive. The rest is important, but to me, not as important as that.
I would like a little less hectic from time to time. I would like a little less stress. These are often, however, manufactured by me, and I work on that demon every day. But no, I wouldn’t do much differently. I want to be known in three ways.
1. As someone who had work that made a difference.
2. As a citizen of the world.
3. As an artist who produces good work.
So far, so good. I am content.