To continue at the point I had left off, a minor occurrence had triggered some recap of my life pre-Uni. It was a normal event; one that happens to every one of us at some point (happens to me more often than I like to admit), and usually gets forgotten in the course of more meaningful activities.
I was coming out of the Union on a mid-morning Tuesday after my habitual gingerbread latté and, being too engrossed in scrolling through playlists on my iPhone, walked into someone with all the grace of a six week old puppy. Fairly common accident, I’m sure. No big deal. However, the significance of this collision lies not in the event itself, but in the coincidence that it generated.
I had walked straight into a young girl who, at first glance, was the spitting image of my 17 year old step-daughter: All hair, makeup and sparkles, and full of the effervescent joie-de vivre that blesses all youth with bravado and invincibility. Had it not been a Tuesday, I would have theorised with great imagination on the striking similarity between the two (for is there such a thing as a coincidence?) and undoubtedly would have spent the evening watching Dr Who or Quantum Leap. But it was a Tuesday indeed. One of my more Uni orientated days, when I spend most of my time on campus beating a repeated path between The Tower and Dalhousie. Headphones on and doped up on caffeine.
While the young girl had found my clumsiness to be quite harmless and funny, I embarrassingly thought of it as, well, just plain clumsy. I apologised, sorted out my playlist and we both carried on with our lives. There was no appearance of storms in the sky, nor did I see any butterflies spread their wings in a ripple that would travel across time.
But I was left with thoughts of my step-daughter. I had not seen, or spoken with her, in ages. My children (step-daughter and her two younger, boisterous brothers) live in another country. As devoted as I am to regular phone calls and visits, she is often not home when I call (off doing teenager stuff!), and updates to her life come to me from her mother, her brothers, or Facebook. Up until fairly recent months, I had been more predictable and routine with overseas journeys. But now it is simply not possible, or practical, to hop on a boat every six weeks or so.
For the first time in quite a while, I thought about the journey that had culminated in my acceptance at Uni. I have previously mentioned that becoming a student was an often disregarded choice in my youth, but only from that moment, outside of the Union, did I realise that it would have been a futile impossibility at any time other than right now. It wasn’t as simple as making a decision to finally give it a go (as I had convinced myself it was), but rather a series of steps that started long before I even entertained the idea.
Only a few years ago, I realised that I hated my job. I had lost any flicker of enthusiasm for what had been my career for a long time. The hours sucked. The environment sucked. I came home, most of the days, in a bad mood. That also sucked. I began to slip in to an automatous state, while my mind struggled to find a different way. There had to be another option. A better life than this.
Ok. So it sounds a bit like a mid-life crisis. I’m certainly old enough for that to be a possibility. But if a mid-life crisis is an age of awareness that we all reach, and the first step in life changing events, then it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But sometimes, bad things do happen…