Almost, maybe, could have been…

18 Sep

I have a life filled with almost-maybes. You know, those times in your life when you have stuck your toe into something and then right when the critical moment came to go full-in, you bailed and headed another direction.  That’s me.  And if memory serves me right, that’s always been me.  I could have been so many things in my life…

I almost played the violin.  I started playing when I was four years old.  I remember falling asleep every night to the Suzuki records, hearing the patterns and allowing the brainwashing melodies to lull me to sleep. I played in recitals with adults and I think I could have been good had I continued.  But I didn’t.  I got bored.

I was almost a gymnast.  I started when I was five and know the exact date of when I did my first round-off back tuck (no handed back flip).  It was 8-8-88 and I was 10.  I was fearless and loved tumbling.  I flipped in the back yard, in the living room, in random parking lots.  I could have been really good had I actually practiced.  But I didn’t.  I got distracted.

I was almost a piano player.  I spent my whole life playing the piano by ear, so by the time I was in high school, I signed up for real piano lessons.  Every lesson started with a piano exercise going up and down the scale in complicated patterns.   My teacher told me that she had never seen a student play the exercises so proficiently and so fast.  She even tape recorded me.  She handed me the Maple Leaf Rag, and I played it.  She handed me Clair de Lune and I played it.  What she didn’t know was that I barely practiced.  I always wonder what could have been had I applied myself.  But I didn’t.  I made out with my boyfriend instead.

I could have been a physical therapist.  When I was 16, the local physical therapist offered me a job and taught me to do various treatments and techniques on patients.  I performed ultrasounds, electric stimulation – things that a 16 year old probably shouldn’t have been doing.  But I loved it.  There was a rough patch when I acquired two adult male admirers.  One was a pizza delivery guy who taped Alanis Morissette concert tickets to the top of the pizza box to woo me, and the other started to say inappropriate things to me when I was doing his ultrasounds.  Stalkers aside, I went off to college to major in physical therapy.  One year in, my advisor broke it to me that my grades were just not good enough and that I should seek out a different major.  As I stood crying in a bathroom stall, I thought about how I could have been such a good physical therapist had I just studied harder.  But I didn’t.  I went to parties and slept too much instead.

I almost moved out of Ohio.  I found an internship in Las Vegas straight out of college, packed up my car and drove across country to start a new life out West.  Having never been there, I was in a bit of culture shock.  I think it hit me when I found myself sitting at a table with Penn from Penn and Teller and porn stars. I just couldn’t find my place in that crazy town. I wonder what would have happened if I had just stuck it out.  But I didn’t.  I decided to save the world through working at non-profits and moved back to Ohio for a job instead.

I almost had a daughter.  One of the pregnancies I lost would have been a girl.  When I was pregnant for those 10 weeks, I just knew it was a girl.  I can still picture what I thought she would have looked like.  I always thought I would have a daughter.  But I don’t.  I have two boys instead.

I almost had a really good blog about pie.  See, I can feel the almost-maybe coming on with this blog.  September, 2011 was when I started this and it’s now exactly a year later.  I have made a lot of pie, gave it to a lot of people and ate way too much of it.  I still love to make it (I made two last night), but have slowed down.  I’m not sure what this blog is going to be.  I still have  a lot of random thoughts to get out of my head, not to mention a lot of baking to do.  The blog has been so many things this past year – a distraction from a miscarriage, a reminder of how much I love story telling, a chronology of my year of pie, and a connection to friends new and old who I would not have heard from had it not been for the blog.

My life in the almost-maybe.  I’m ok with it because at least I tried.
And like a Tiffany song looping through my head, I’ll never know what could have been because I’m trying hard to be grateful for what I have.

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6 Responses to “Almost, maybe, could have been…”

  1. HH September 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    🙂

    • Jeanne September 19, 2012 at 7:54 am #

      Emily, I love your blog and the way you spin a tale but if you never wrote again I would be confident that you would continue with something equally creative and beautiful. You have an artistic and generous soul that is evident in all that you have done (and you should include all as accomplishments NOT failed attempts) and everything you will do. I think we all look back at some point but try to think of them as launching points. Keep me posted on the next project. Can’t wait to see what Emily is up to! Jeanne

  2. Jeanette Christy September 19, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    You could also be a writer. I love the way you write

  3. JustSomeGuy September 19, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I have a tough time remembering that if any of my “almost-maybe”s actually happened, I wouldn’t be where I am. I know you wouldn’t trade your two boys for anything in this world. I get caught up in the “what could of been” instead of enjoy what is and what will be. Be glad of your “almost-maybe”s and your “could of been”s and give your boys great big hugs!

  4. Cindy September 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Emily,

    The coach in me asks, “What is important to you to now to think about the almost-maybes in your life?” What an accomplished woman you have become in many ways and in many facets of your life. It would be great to hear what all you DID do in your life and the many SUCCESSES you have had. Despite all that, you acknowledgement that ” I’m trying hard to be grateful for what I have” is reassuring. Somehow it seems the “trying hard” are the key words here. I am grateful for the opportunity to know you and consider you a friend. You are a role model to many and as I have told you before, a terrific writer and story-teller whose accomplishments in that area perhaps are just starting to bud! Keep being open to opportunities and possibilities in your life and they will continue to come your way!

  5. Teresa September 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    The almost-maybes in our lives can be regrets, or they can be signposts at the crossroads of who we actually become. Lovely post.

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