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Entry date: 3-24-2022 - Crossroads ahead - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Like many of you, I have come to several crossroads in life. Some are larger than others, of course, and some are only in our minds, but they represent change or the possibility thereof, and they are always interesting. I am prone, I have recently discovered, to weigh out the decision-making process in a variety of ways. Most recently, I have learned that pride is of zero value in these situations.

If I have learned anything from this process of writing daily about my life and thoughts and, on a few occasions, my desires, I have learned that I have a strange relationship with pride. While I am proud of the majority of my accomplishments, I realize there is a huge difference between pride and satisfaction, at least for me, and there is also the question of balance between pride and fulfillment. Pride and/or being proud is a wonderful feeling, truly, but like most feelings, it is fleeting.

Today (which is yesterday, for you, dear reader), I am faced with one of those crossroads in life where the decision I make will impact how I spend a great deal of my time in the coming year. I have three possible directions to take now. Three directions that would take me down three very different paths. Each one can be very satisfying, I am sure, and each one presents challenges, as well.

This is what crossroads do, though, right? They give us the opportunity to pick a direction. On a minute scale, we are presented with choices each day, each hour, and each moment of our lives. What will we eat or what shoes will we wear, or do I want to brush my teeth before or after the shower? These do not have a lot of power to impact the course of our year, though, or the path we will take to achieving our goals.

If I look backwards, I can see how different decisions impacted me. What seemed like tiny things in the moment that turned out to be huge and sometimes the exact opposite where something that seemed so big at the time turned out to be almost nothing. You just don’t know what the future holds, even when you have it in writing or think you’ve seen it before.

In high school, for example, I made a conscious decision to be who I wanted to be somewhere in the 10th grade. I was 15 years old, and it just made the most sense to forget about what other people seemed to want me to be and just be myself. It was probably the scariest yet most freeing thing I had ever done at that point in my life. I realize now that I was constantly searching, as a child, to find the place where I belonged for a lot of good and bad reasons.

I can’t imagine not searching for belonging. Even now, it is sometimes very difficult to know where I belong or how I fit in to my own world. Such is the life of anyone working in the world in 2022 who doesn’t own their own business, I suppose, but it’s also the life of a stepparent, too. I struggle to know how I fit in with my kids who I don’t share a blood connection. Even with Ryan, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, it is hard to know what he needs or how to share what I need.

As I think of crossroads in life, there are so many when it comes to Ryan. The night he was conceived, for example, was clearly a crossroads moment for me. I did something so out of character that night by staying at a party in Tempe when I didn’t have a ride home. That was not something I would do 99 times out of a hundred, but I did it that night. All I can do is chalk it up to fate.

We were at a Rundle’s party off Mill Avenue. There was a liquor store in Tempe called Rundle’s that was well known and there was a band by the same name that threw a lot of parties. Our crew was out there and there was a girl from Phoenix College there that I liked. I was single at the time and ready to mingle, as they say, and when my friends were ready to head back to Phoenix, I decided to stay and give it a shot.

Well, as you probably surmised, it was an unsuccessful shot. I knew Ryan’s mom a little bit as were had mutual friends and she was there and ended up giving me a ride home. The rest, as they say, is history. I’m thankful it turned out the way it did, for sure, but it’s easy to see in hindsight that it was a decision that changed my life forever.

There have been a few crossroads when it comes to Ryan. Looking back, I wish I would have fought harder for him to live with me when his mom and I got divorced. There for a while I thought he was going to choose to live with me. It would have meant staying in the Ahwatukee house and probably ended the terrible rebound relationship I was in a lot sooner. It could have even freed up my situation to meet Rhondi sooner, but who knows? I was at that crossroads and the decision to let him make his choice was one I would do differently if I came to those roads again.

Life presents us with these choices we must make. Do we stay on course, or do we make a right or left turn? Rarely do we get a chance to go back the way we came and I’m not sure I would make that choice, anyway. Today I make a big choice in how my future will look. I guess you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see which way I’m going to go. Where will Mr. Reardon teach next year and what will he teach?

Only the shadow knows.

See you tomorrow.

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