Never Anticipated This

I never anticipated that where I was born, what I did for a living or who I professionally associated with could result in me being unable to freely travel to countries.  Now I can’t change where I come from.  And I will be hanged if I will let anyone tell me who I can and cannot associate with.  Same goes for what I do for a living and I’m fully aware that what I do is something that a lot of people feel is unnecessary.

Perhaps if I had been born in a different country I wouldn’t feel so strongly attached to having had the freedom to choose my career. I may not even feel so strongly about keeping my career, but I was born in a country where the government did not dictate my choices.  And I was blessed to grow up with parents who didn’t tell me I couldn’t do things because of my gender or such.

I cherish my freedom to travel, to speak and to associate.  I also cherish the position I’m in that allows me to help others, to be a voice of the voiceless.  And now it is rather possible that I will have to consider which of these I value the most.  Or perhaps it’s a case of which of these is the best to continue to use for now so I can hold onto the others for when I need them.  At the same time I have to consider if it is possible that I may not be able to ever regain back that which others which to take from me.  And this time I know I’m not the only person in this situation.

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What Need For Speed Taught Me

So I met a friend for coffee the other day. A friend I haven’t seen in a while. Life kind of got in the way of us getting together, well that and occasionally an ocean or two and a few thousand (give or take) miles. Now with this friend, let’s just say we clicked right away. I’m not sure how or why, but we just got each other from our first meeting. It was like we were always friends.

While we were having coffee, well technically she was having a tea latte of some type while I savored, or is that devoured, a coffee, we caught up on missing time. You know all the usual stuff, except her what’s new news was that her husband was dying. She didn’t lead up to it, didn’t soften the blow, just told me that he was dying and had a few months at best left.

Usually this is news you come up to in some what of a gentle fashion, or at least a slow lead up. But she felt there was no need for it. How she told me wasn’t going to change the fact he was dying. It wasn’t going to ease her pain or her loss either. She felt it as a raw open wound every moment of her life and she let her way of telling people be just as raw. It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t deliberate. It just simply was the way she said it.

She said that she learned that she had a need for speed these days, every second she spent on the road away from home was a second she’d have less with her husband. And yet, here she was, spending time away from him because life does go on doesn’t it? She found that with her desire for speed in getting back to him she also no longer considered things in the same light. A speed limit shifted from a hard fast rule to just something that was placed on a road. It didn’t’ take into account driver’s skill or the car’s performance. She also no longer worried about driving as fast.

Basically she was far more willing to take risks these days if it meant more time with him. And in having a higher tolerance and acceptance to taking risks, her frustration level with the slower, more cautious people was growing to the point of no return. And still she sat across from me, having a tea latter while she explained all of this to me. Her anger, her frustration, her despair all tumbled out and onto the table, along with a speeding ticket.

The ticket, she told me, didn’t really matter. Not in the big picture. She was certain there would be more of those as time became more valuable. She was positive there would be one for the drive to the airport for their final vacation. The type of vacation where only one person comes back in the same state as they left.

And then she would have a different need for speed. Speed would be important to get past those long and lonely hours. What she would be running to I wouldn’t be able guess. What she would be running away from? Herself and an empty house.

We visited far longer than I had thought we would and when I got home I looked at my four-footed companion in wonder. Marveling at her ability to simply live in the moment. Maybe if we figured this out the need for speeding would be less.

Where The Paved Road Ends

These past few months have been a journey down a horribly rutted gravel road.  The vehicle I’ve been driving for this journey just happens to be without shocks and stuck going 90 miles an hour all the time.  Now of course this is just how life feels right now, not what is my reality.

And to be honest, it feels like e vehicle I’ve been driving has come to a shuddering halt at the top of a cliff.  A sane person, I guess, or at least a cautious and careful person would steer away from the cliff.  A bigger risk-taker would see the vehicle goes, determine if the cliff is too steep or the drop too big.

A chicken might just sit in the vehicle, or perhaps hop out and check out the view.  And since these days I tend to side with the chickens, well I’ve been in and out of the vehicle a few times.  I’ve even peered down at the cliff to see what it might be like below and I confess it looks like a beautiful valley.  It also looks like I could get down there.

It’s just that there is a but involved.  I know, it seems silly.  But is a small word, and yet it isn’t.  But tends to have huge ramifications, protecting us a bit too much from life, pulling us back from risks.

And that but is currently having me frozen at the top of the cliff, switching views from the safe road down to the valley over the cliff.  A huge part of me wants to go down that cliff and see the valley, explore the newness of it.  And a huge part of me feels that heading to the valley might be wrong on account of grass always seems greener on the other side.

I suppose I can stay here at the cliff.  Perhaps the view of the valley will be enough.  And perhaps it won’t.  Maybe after some time looking at my options I will determine which path  to follow.  And then again, I might give in and run headlong down the cliff to the valley.  Or do I skip back down the safe road I was on prior to finding this gravel, path  strewn with holes and such.

No matter which path I take, in the end it will be the right choice for the moment.  And that’s a truth I can live with.

No Guanratees

They almost promised we’d see whales in the brochure. When we boarded the boat the captain assured us he had not had a dry spell of no whales in years. Well, the brochure lied and the captain pressed the odds a bit too much.

I wasn’t horribly disappointed when we didn’t see the whales because they aren’t really my thing. I’ve seen them before, granted in captivity and always with a rather large barrier between myself and the animal. I’m okay with this kind of distance. I’m not so sure that the small boat we were in would be able to out run a whale, nor did it appear to be anti-tipping. And in case you are wondering, whales are huge! Massive even!

I understood then, as I do now, that when you take a trip that is about seeing wildlife, there is a chance things won’t go as you hoped. The wildlife tends to not follow human schedules etc.

I recently read that someone was seeking to be compensated for having one of these nature trips not live up to expectations. Specifically the whales refused to cooperate and the eagle that they saw stayed a huge distance away from the people.

I’m pretty sure the fine print on these trips does not guarantee that a person will see wildlife or that if said wildlife is visible that it will stay still for that perfect picture or video.

Sometimes you can’t please people no matter what. If the eagle was closer and decided to make a deposit on someone, a law suit would probably be considered. The whale surfaces near the boat? Well you might get wet and there may be an issue with that.

Then again, maybe I’m just being cynical and snarky.