The U-Turns of Life | Transformation Tuesday

When I was in fifth grade, our teacher had us pull out the good old construction paper for a project. I don’t know about you but I always loved the smell of construction paper. Actually, school supplies in general. I couldn’t wait for the day when I could go buy the supplies for school, you know, for my kids. I live my dreams vicariously through them. Maybe, I need to go buy some just for the fun of it. And the smell of it.

We were given the assignment to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up and draw a coordinating picture. I wrote down that I wanted to be an archeologist. I loved rocks. I still love rocks. I have a little collection that sits on my desk next to the “My Last F*ck” candle that a good friend gave me.

I began crafting my archeologist assignment but before I was done and just before I turned it in I wrote in the bottom corner, or a ballerina.

It’s a big commitment in fifth grade to figure out what you are going to do with the rest of your life. When the Indiana Jones movies started to come out I was convinced I really did want to be an archeologist until I noticed how much sweating was involved. There’s a lot of sweating. And dirt. And bugs. I don’t like being hot, or dirt, or bugs.

Dance actually got me quite a ways down the road in life. I got a small college scholarship and about a year into my dance career, my ballet teacher, in a kind way mind you, sat me down and said. “You should choose something else.” I agreed. I changed my major to Radio, Television, Video, and Film. RTVF as it was known in those days. Which after a million years of doing everything else on the planet is what I came back to. Along with the writing.

I always loved writing as well, but as all these years have passed it comes down to how much I love sharing and telling stories. I made exactly fifty-five and 1/3 bazillion u-turns in my life concerning my career choice.

And you know what? That’s okay. Here’s what I learned.

It’s okay at any given point in your life to change direction.

For the longest time I was envious of all those people in my class that knew exactly what they wanted to do in life. One of my friends wrote down Dentist. She became a dentist. Why couldn’t it be that way for me?

I’m one of those people that when they decide they want to move the furniture around in the living room that they can’t just envision it, make the choice, and then do it. I physically have to move everything around. Look at it. Chew on it. Maybe live with it a day or two. Then try something else. I have to see it. I have to experience it. I have to see what it feels like. Yes, it can be annoying.

My first point is, there are no rules. In life can change your mind as many times as you like. (Except with your kids. Most of the time you have to keep the ones assigned to you.) We live with that pretense that we are supposed to know what we want in fifth grade and then go out and get it. And if we don’t then we think there’s something wrong with us. Sometimes u-turns just happen to us and we find ourselves starting over from a place we never thought we would. We didn’t choose it or plan it but then we beat ourselves up and say, this isn’t how life was supposed to be.

As it turns out, this is exactly how life is supposed to be. It’s freaking messy.

Now, on to the second point and then I’ll tie it together.

I never in my life would have imagined that I would love motorcycles. My guy, who I actually knew when we were growing up, came from a family who owned a Harley dealership. He was riding motorcycles before he was born. True story. His mom rode a bike when she was pregnant with him. For a time he professionally raced dirt bikes.

He made his own personal u-turn from a professional motocross racer after violently injuring himself. He went home, sold his dirt bike in two days, and picked up professional jet-ski racing which was a huge thing in the early ’90s. I’m sure he would want me to add something here about how they weren’t the wimpy sit-down types you see today. You had to stand up to ride them and I think I heard it said somewhere they were the equivalent of a dirt bike on the water.

He was good at it. He’s still good at it. And good at riding pretty much anything on two wheels.

He takes me for rides on his Harley. When I get on the back of that bike I am in my happy place. We live in the hill country of Texas and there’s a ton of windy roads, hidden waterfalls, obscure hole-in-the-wall biker bars, and a just whole mess of hill country happiness. It’s my favorite thing we do. Well, you know, excluding some things.

He’s always so careful of our safety and says I’m “important cargo.” I never thought being called cargo would be a compliment but I take it as such. Sometimes if there’s a long straightaway on a back road we’ll speed a “little.” Okay, a lot. Turns out I like going fast. There’s this one road however that is so winding we have to slow down to a crawl. Suddenly it feels like a dance as we twist around the severely sharp curves. I lean into him and wait to feel the sway of his body and match his for balance as he leans back and forth. Along we go in this gorgeous peaceful dance even though he normally has AC/DC streaming through the radio. I can’t help but smile.

I love the corners. Here’s the second important point that I learned.

Happiness isn’t around the corner. Happiness IS the corner.

Here is how it all ties together. In life u-turns are always allowed but all these u-turns are not a path to get you to your life. They ARE your life. Stop waiting to arrive and enjoy all the fun twists and turns you are making right now.

You don’t find your life’s work and then become happy and fulfilled.

You don’t find that life long relationship and then become happy and fulfilled.

You choose happiness and fulfillment in that exact moment of the unknown that you are in.

You can always choose another direction, just remember happiness is with you on both sides of that corner but only if you choose it.


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