I spent part of Thanksgiving week in Arden, North Carolina, which is near Asheville. On Friday, as the lines snaked around Best Buy and other big box stores (yes, even in Arden), I noticed a line had also formed outside the Frugal Backpacker, a store where you can pick up all sorts of older models of equipment and clothes and boots. I thought, we're not in South Florida anymore.
I thought of Alternate Life Kristin, who was probably in that line, looking for a good deal on a kayak.
I had alternate lives on the brain, because the night before I was dreaming that I had a reunion with a high school friend. We talked about the life I had had in my college years and my 20's. Of course, it wasn't the life I had really had (grad school), but the life teenage me had planned, a life in the theatre. In my dream, I had such clear memories of experiences, experiences that had never happened in real life. I woke up confused about what was my real life and what was my dream life.
And now it's back to my real life, where there are so many aspects of my former lives that I've shucked away. I was a backpacker once. We thought nothing of throwing some supplies in our packs and heading to the mountains for the week-end. I was a theatre person once. I designed sets and lighting and did acting and ran the sound board. Again, we didn't think in terms of obstacles. We simply did the things we wanted to do to live the lives we wanted to live.
Now that my month of November travel is over, it's time to turn my attention back to my writing, one of the aspects of my life that I've never shucked, but often felt guilty for not paying as much attention as I feel I should. It's time to write some new poems, to send out some poems to journals, and to submit a manuscript or two. And to decorate the house and bake some cookies!
It's not useful to think about the roads not taken, all the alternate lives I'm not living. Or at least, it's not useful to sink into a swamp of moroseness. I might use meditations on Alternate Life Kristin to make sure I'm on the trajectory I meant to take. Right now, my favorite alternate life involves opening a box that contains my first book with a spine--and that's an alternate life that could actually exist eventually.
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