A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in traffic while running errands when it suddenly hit me how content and happy I am with my life. It’s not that this was the first time, my life has always been blessed, but there was something a bit different about this feeling.
In 1998, a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow premiered. “Sliding Doors” is about a woman who is fired from her job and takes the train home to find her significant other having an affair. The film then switches and although the start is the same, she misses her train and gets home after the “other woman” has left. The movie goes back and forth showing different scenarios of the choices she makes after making the train or missing it. It is how one event can change or impact one’s life.
I started thinking back on how my life has progressed from the thoughts I had as a teenager as to where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve to where I am now. The choices I made early on in my adult life certainly changed the course I thought I would take, but I couldn’t be more grateful for how it has worked out.
I met my husband in the second semester of my freshman year in college. We married the summer after my sophomore year. The choice my husband and I made to get married when we were young might not have been the best; it certainly would have been less complicated, but I believe that the struggles we encountered along the way made us stronger in the long run. We were meant to be together. I question some of the moves we made, but they were learning experiences and, though not all, most served us well in the long run.
Years after we married, we started our beautiful family and we agreed I would be a stay-at-home mom. Again, an extra paycheck would have made it easier, but I loved being home with our girls and wouldn’t have traded that for anything. Something that definitely was not in the realm of possibilities as a teenager. Back then, I wanted to go to New York and make it on Broadway. I am amused by that as I can’t imagine myself traipsing around going from audition to audition, sharing some tiny apartment while waiting for my big break. I wouldn’t have survived a month after having led a very sheltered life.
In the movie, Paltrow’s character, having missed the train, ended up suspicious and miserable, while, in making the train, she gets out of the bad relationship and her life gradually improves. Sometimes the choices we make work out way better than our youthful imagined lives.
I obviously did not move to New York for any reason. Nor did I write a memorable ad campaign – another potential profession, not to mention a highly acclaimed children’s book or, better yet, the great American novel (although maybe that’s still a possibility – of course, I jest.) However, I gave birth to three precious girls who grew up to be three amazing women! I beam with pride as I watch the families they have created blossom from infants to toddlers to little people to teenagers who embrace qualities that make them the most wonderful grandchildren we could ever have been blessed with.
My greatest wish is that I live long enough to see the paths their lives will take. I have no doubt that one day my daughters will look back at their lives and the courses they have taken, smile at the lives their children have made for themselves, and hope they live long enough to see their grandchildren grow up. I hope they will be as happy and content with the choices they made as I am with mine.