The road

changes coming round real soon 
make us women and men"

I know the way to Bridgewater from my Western New York hometown very well. I can tell you where's the good coffee and where are the grossest toilets (hint: Wegmans has very clean johns in Johnson City, NY). I've certainly clocked the miles after seven years in New Jersey. No matter whom I drive or which path I take I always blast the tunes. And my mind always wanders back to my childhood.

This weekend I heard John Mellancamp and was thinking about favorite line from my favorite JCM song, quoted above. The song in general is very reflective of my upbringing in a small town. Even though it lies in the Northeast, culturally my hometown could have been Indiana and the small town mentality rings true of "E-town".

I've been holding onto sixteen for a long time. So have my high school friends. Is that why we're still friends?  Perhaps if you hold too much to the past, you lose sight of the present. Dwelling on who we were, or worse, our perceptions of who we were, can skew how we interact today. I think some of my friends misunderstood certain fundamental aspects of my childhood, and on Saturday I learned they still judge me for it even today.

I started by saying I know the way between my hometown and Bridgewater very well. It's more than highways though - I know how I got here. As with everyone it is a combination fate (or Providence if you so believe) and choices, and hard work. My parents instilled certain values in me and for the most part, these have guided my life's biggest decisions regarding education, marriage, kids, employment, etc.

That said, if there is a theme that I come back to in this blog (at least the non-BRRSD entries) and in my life today, it is about being grateful for who I am and what I have. I think that my biggest fault today is that I never say no to others - I am constantly doing favors just because I feel that in the karmic universe it is important to say yes when you can help others, even if I don't feel like it. I don't take my life or anything/anyone in it for granted (well... maybe I take my husband for granted sometimes, but most women do after 15 years). I know any one of us are an unexpected x-ray away from a bad diagnosis... Carpe Diem! I know that even close families can fall apart in a crisis. And I see that my life is much more than the size of my home or the stamps in my passport.

One of my friends who I saw on Saturday wrote to me when I was sixteen, "a true friend knows everything about you and likes you just the same". It's that type of friendship that I need to hold on to from when I was sixteen. Friendship and family life is a long and winding road.... that leads to Bridgewater. Remember to see the whole journey and not a single image from a 25 year old postcard.


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