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Thursday, May 17, 2007

The curveballs of life

It seems fairly easy to be hit with a curveball when you least expect it. I know, for me, I’ll be sailing along – not necessarily with everything going so great – and then all of a sudden it hits me right in the face. I don’t have a glove, a helmet, a “head’s up,” or anything – just a sudden overwhelming disruption of my life as I know it and, sometimes, love it.

You would think I’d be used to it. I’m almost 39 years old and life hasn’t necessarily gone as I’ve planned it. There have been some quite unexpected things. Let me do a little review. Not a major rehashing of the past 39 years, but a small review… just indulge me for a second:

1. I was a senior in high school and I was looking at some college catalogs when my mom said, “College? There’s no money for you to go to college!” Uh, could someone have told me before then? I mean I had been working since I was 14 so instead of buying cute accessories, clothes and magazine subscriptions I could have been saving for my future.
2. After a year of college with no money to continue, I went into the military to – as the recruiter told me – have the great opportunity to travel and get a college education. Uh, could someone have told me that going into the military could mean going to the war? Duh! You may say. But all I know is I didn’t sign up for Saudi Arabia or a four-year stint in Rome, New York, without a chance to go anywhere.
3. Then there was the pregnancy at 21 years old. Don’t gasp and wonder if my oldest child will read this. She knows it was an unexpected pregnancy, but she also knows she’s the light of my life and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
4. And who would have known that when my second child, who was born about 13 years after the first, was 15 months old that I would become pregnant with my third child. Or that before the third one was 2 years old I would become pregnant with the fourth!

Oh, my gosh, the curveballs! Well, as I take a look at the “curveballs” as I’ve been calling them there seems to be a recurring theme. Could I have prevented these curveballs? Here I am in “woe is me” mode and about to give you at least two more curveballs from my memory of 100s, when it dawns on me that I may be looking pretty silly right now.

Although I was still a child, as a senior in high school, had I got my head on straight like so many other high school seniors do and prepared for my future, I would have known that there wasn’t any money for college. Instead of floating through school and barely passing my classes (well, except for the classes I liked that I put my all into and earned “As”), I could have been making the honor roll and earning scholarships to college. That doesn’t excuse anyone else’s contribution – or lack of – but it does put the responsibility back in my hands.

Instead of just blindly going with what the recruiter said, I could have done my own research and asked the right questions, which would have probably led to the true answers of what the purpose of the military is. Then I could have made an educated choice instead of just joining an organization to get out of the small town I currently lived in.

The only thing I can say about number 3 and the unexpected pregnancy is that I shouldn’t have been having sex. Extreme, you say? Well, given the fact that we used a condom and I still got pregnant leads me back to my first instinct and I should have kept my legs closed!!

As for these last three children that I’ve had, well, I really don’t know what to say. I was married so I think it was okay to have sex! We were trying for the second child, the third child… you know, even I’m tired of this conversation. The fact remains that although life may throw a couple of curveballs it’s up to us to take proactive roles in what happens and what doesn’t. I can’t blame anyone, but myself, if life has not turned out the way I want it to. Sure there are others who contribute to or cause certain things to happen, but I have to take full responsibility for everything that has happened in my life.

Whoa, that’s a hard pill to swallow, but one I must swallow nonetheless. I’ll just drink a gigantic glass of water as it goes down. What makes it even harder is a terrible situation I’m in now. I can’t give you all the details, but if you knew them you’d know why I got stuck in “woe is me” mode. For now, let’s just say I’ve had a momentary ah-ha moment. I don’t want to be pessimistic and expect the curveballs, but I will be more realistic. I’ll just take them as they come – catch them, set them up and throw them right back!

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