Fifteen years ago from tonight was my Senior Prom, which I attended with my high school boyfriend. Normally the evening’s events would be dinner, prom, hotel in that order. We didn’t exactly do it that way. I’m not a follow the rules kind of girl. We ate. But then we went to the hotel. We made it to the prom eventually, but, well, my hair was a mess by that time.
So, fast forward 15 years. Staring out at a sea of traffic in front of me this morning, trying to get to work, I wonder, how the hell did I get here? Not on 495 per se, but here, to this juncture in life. When did I turn 33? Where did all these years go? It’s a mystery. When I look back, I see a complete blur, reminiscent of the Motley Crue video for “Home Sweet Home” where they speed it ahead and their tour just flies by in a whirlwind. And now, I’m caught up in a life that I’m not sure is mine.
I’m looking through the windshield of Speedracer and I feel like I could chuck it all. So easily. I tell myself over and over that I’m doing this thing called life all wrong. Totally wrong. I’m not living it. It’s living me. It’s using me. It’s making a mockery of me. I don’t know what it’s doing but it’s using me and I’m not paying attention.
We get one body, and roughly 80 years on earth. No one knows where we were before. No one knows what happens after we go. All we know is what we are and what we can be when we are here. Thoughts like that put things into perspective for me. I’m spending countless hours a week commuting, countless hours working for the man. Why? Who said this is the right way to do it? I would trade all this in for a house at the beach and a steady bartending gig. I could be involved in conversations about fishing and tanning instead of politics and how much it sucks to date in D.C.
Three summers ago, I went to the Florida Keys for a much needed vacation. I ate at a well known restaurant in the Keys, and remembered the bartender as the same man who served me drinks at this same bar while I was in college, 8 years earlier. (I went to U. Miami and we often trekked down to the Keys on weekends.) I asked him about it, wondering if he was the same man I recalled. He said, “Yup. I’ve worked here 23 years. I haven’t been north of Key Largo in the last 17 years.” That sounded so incredible. That man is what I aspire to…someone who just doesn’t care what else there is because the life they have is so very much the life they want.
My industry is crashing down and for the first time, I don’t care. I’ve checked my bank accounts. They are all in good shape. If I were to get laid off, the solution would be so easy. Find someone still enchanted with D.C. to rent my condo. Pack the dogs, hit the road, reclaim my life, and be forever the girl who showed up at the prom with her hair a mess.