12 November 2009

I Absolutely Have NOT Grown Up.

Author's Note: I had the perfect picture to accompany this post. That is, until I tried to find it. You don't know what you're missing, but read on anyway...

Once upon a lifetime ago, when My Space was just a developer’s pipedream, Facebook hadn’t even been dreamt, Live Journal was only a few years old and text messaging had yet to reach the communications status that it has today, Friendster was taking off. I would like to say that I am proud to note that I was there – in on the ground floor, what with my Live Journal and Friendster accounts. I would like to say that, but I won’t. I was there, yes. And I was active, it’s true. But pride? Er…moving on.

I recall that the rage back then was surveys (more commonly called meme’s now). Fill in this survey about you! Post it for your friends to learn more about you and do themselves!!! Yes, I did them. It’s true. They passed countless hours and occasionally, one might even make me think. On all of them though, there always that one question that always stumped me:

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Every time I thought about it, I saw…nothing. I couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t picture it. I couldn’t fathom where in the world I would be. Would I still be married? Would I have kids? Would I be dead in a war zone? Doubtful, not bloody likely and probably. A better question, I always responded, would be, “Where don’t I see myself?” And the answer, of course, would have been, “Still married, raising a family and alive.”

You see, I never dreamed I would ever be a mother. In fact, I never dreamed that I would want to be a mother and certainly not with my husband at the time as the father. But because I had no real sense that I would eventually summon up the ovaries to leave, well, there you are. The mental picture of my future was always a blank.

Instead, back then, I thought of dirt bikes and street bikes, scuba diving, sky diving, shooting ranges and vying for that Airborne EM team they were forming. Deployments! TDY!! World travel, in or out of uniform. Maybe someday racing in the Dakar Rally? Who knows??

Yesterday, I posted my Henderson wet suit for sale on Craig’s List. I followed it up with my never worn Sick Racing motocross pants…and my often worn Thor Racing motocross pants. I decided the Troy Lee designs MX top was too dirt and grease stained to sell…and the Fox Racing Comp Elbow guards too dated. My daughter helped me take the pictures (by not getting in the way and by making me laugh even when, in my heart, I thought that I didn’t want to).

That’s all that I have left from those years, my twenties and the very beginning of my 30’s. I long ago accepted that I would never see my Yamaha TTR 225 dirt bike again – or the Ninja ZX6E street bike. I figured that all of the rest of my street, MX and diving gear was lost to the garage my ex-husband kept. Truth be told, sometimes I still get angry about that. It was my money, not his, and it was expensive stuff. It was also, though, my choice to leave with nothing more than a suitcase. I have no one to blame but myself. Still, at the very least, I could sell it and recoup some of it because, along with knowing I’ll not see it again, I also know that those hobbies are behind me now and for the foreseeable future.

My priorities changed when M and I decided that yes, together, we would love to have a child. They changed even more dramatically when we decided, together, that he would leave his job for a new frontier after she was born. In other words, I can’t afford those hobbies any more.

Today, as A turns 19 months old and my tasks at work were largely manual and involved little actual thought, I have had plenty of time to reflect on how much has changed in 5 years – and how unexpected those changes are. If you had told me then, when I was trying to answer such a seemingly simple question, where I actually would be at this time, I would have told you, simply, to fuck off and get a life – that you clearly didn’t know me, that I didn’t even want kids, that I wouldn’t give up my bikes for anything, that I lived for speed, so to speak.

Of the few remnants I have left from that Other Life, I’m glad the shirt was too bunged up to sell. I broke the left side of my rib cage in Groton in that top. Got too cocky that day and I got bit for my troubles. I busted the clutch lever off of another bike in that top on frozen dirt during a winter ride. Oh, and there’s the dirt streak that didn’t come out after I was forced to dump the bike at Brown Mountain in NC because some ATV riders wouldn’t move out of the trail and it was that or drive over a very, very steep cliff into a gorge below. Bike and I came to rest, wheel and face respectively, hanging over the cliff’s edge.

You know, it’s amazing the clarity of memory that you have when recalling those “OHSHIT Moments”.

Yet, today I marvel not at the fact that I survived myself or found it inside to leave a bad place – but at the fact that someday, maybe when I have a little extra income, I’ll be able to buy my daughter a little PW50 (with training wheels even!) and teach her how to ride.

I used to see plenty of dads and sons on the trails, even dads and daughters (one of whom put me to absolute shame and, when I went back to the truck to sulk, I was hit on by a 2-year old on a PW50. With training wheels. Because I got him out of the mud where he was stuck. That was really a boost to my wounded pride. Snerk). I never then thought that now I might be planning on re-stocking my own toy box someday and taking my own daughter along for the ride too.

Where do I see myself 5 years from now? Happily married, with one daughter, sitting on a PTA/PTO, ferrying her to after school activities and lessons, maybe in a house of our own and, with lots of luck and hopefully a few pay raises, spending weekends teaching her why “On Any Sunday” is the best movie ever made.

For now though, I’ll be moving that Troy Lee MX shirt into my sleepy time rotation.

Are you where you expected that you would be 5 or 10 years ago or are you so far from it you couldn't fly there to find it?


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