I am not living the life I expected to live.
From the time I was in kindergarten I expected to be a mother.
From the age of about twelve I expected to be a trial lawyer. I had been an insatiable fan of detective novels and the Perry Mason show. (It was only much later that I would learn which side actually wins nearly all the criminal trials.)
I expected to go to college and law school, to marry, to enjoy my career. I trusted that someday my children would go off to school themselves, become independent, start families of their own, and assumed that when that happened I would happily resume life as a couple with my husband Jim.
He–needless to say to anyone who knew us as a couple–was the one doing all the concrete future planning, saving for tuition and for his expected retirement decades from now.
Then his own cells betrayed him and stripped away his future.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s narrator in The Lowland observed, “Most people trusted in the future, assuming that their preferred version of it would unfold. Blindly planning for it, envisioning things that weren’t the case. This was the working of the will. This was what gave the world purpose and direction. Not what was there but what was not.”
In those detective novel terms, I suppose we focus on the dog who’s not barking.
A fellow storyteller helped me re-focus those double negatives: it’s not what’s not here; it’s what is.
I had that marriage until death parted us. . . to a degree.
I have those children, who have now all gone off to school and launched themselves into amazing young adults.
I have that career.
The rest is unfolding.