“My life used to be like that game of freeze tag we played as kids. Once tagged, you had to freeze in the situation you are in. Whenever something happened, I’d freeze like a statue, too afraid of moving the wrong way, too afraid of making the wrong decision. The problem is, if you stand still too long, that’s your decision.
When in doubt, do the next right thing.” ~ Regina Brett, Life’s Little Detours: 50 Lessons to Find and Hold Onto Happiness
My whole life is a detour of side-tracks.
I was amazed when a college student at those few who knew what they wanted to do. All the adults I knew ended up somewhere unexpected.
I know I did.
I never wanted to be a secretary and that is basically what I did for a good 10 years. This detour gave me skills I use every day in writing and helped me when working in yoga studios because I understand offices.
I knew when I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher but that dream got derailed in fifth grade. Then before I discovered the side-track to an alternative lifestyle of drugs in the 70’s, I read, a lot, and pursued my interests in education. And I wrote.
Now almost 54 years old, I found forums to write where I am published. I started all this about year ago. Who knew? And who knew Facebook, which I rarely entered, would give me such a door?
I have been writing since I was 9…mainly poetry. Enter elephant Journal and now I am a columnist. Who knew?
In fact I moved to Boston to be a poet. The back story to that endeavor was that I was a raving alcoholic and addict and terrified of the so-called “real world” so the personae of poet gave an alternate world to live in as I dealt donuts, survived and worked in offices.
Enter my secretarial career.
I had to pay bills. I was a terrible secretary on the whole. I didn’t enjoy the jobs, the offices and developed my passive-aggressive abilities blindly.
Had I seen what I was doing I may have not taken the track the alienated my superiors and chafed my peers.
But that was the track I took.
And I was miserable. I studied reflexology, hypnotherapy and thought about massage school. All the while I had started working out.
I liked how yoga made me feel.
Being a straight woman, I wasn’t there for the girls. Being someone who never worked out but wanted to be thin, this seemed a good route. But I had no clue where this detour would take me, or the rooms I would enter or the amazing people I would meet.
So studying to be a yoga teacher was feasible. I had the place. I worked my way through it as an intern. I took the same first training twice because the second time around the Yoga Alliance arrived.
And there I was, a registered yoga teacher. So I taught.
And I wrote. I always write.
I sat on the floor with a typewriter and correcting tape and typed up over 100 poems. I had one published in an anthology. I had a correspondence with The Christian Science Monitor for a while and was published in a few places.
Along the way I met my husband. I never ever thought I’d meet a man to marry. When I was ready to marry, the man I was with had no interest, thank heavens.
But then I think I would have married a donkey.
My husband liked to lift weights. So we went to a gym. I took step aerobics and yoga.
Now I teach and I write. I write and I teach. My route has had every detour in the book but even if the roads had holes or weren’t paved, each one gave me what I need to be where I am today.
My college degree was a last minute decision: English of course.
My decision to teach yoga was default: it was more feasible than massage school and I did not want to rub feet for a living. And I never finished the hypnotherapy training but that detour has to do with my sanity in a literal way.
So I am in education.
I assumed I would have children but never did. Yet I am a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance and have the joy of sharing with children every week. As my hypnotherapy teacher said, it’s not about passing on our genes (though I would have loved to do that) but it’s about passing on our love.
So what will the next 30 years bring?
I will teach and teach some more. Oh sure, there’s insecurity. I am not young. I am not skinny. I don’t have a lot of party tricks. And it does make a difference, trust me. I know places don’t use me because I am neither young nor athletic.
But my heart is strong. I have hope and yes, dreams.
Maybe I’ll teach teachers someday, somewhere. Maybe I’ll write a book and it will not only be published but read and sold. Maybe my dear dad who is 87 will live to 100 to see what else I do.
Life is full of surprises.
Who knew I’d teach and be a published writer? Who knew my compassion would find a venue in sharing what I love? Who knew when I walked into Gold’s Gym to take a class I’d be teaching 8 years later?
And who knew a simple exercise could give so much because yoga is so much more than exercise?
And how did I become someone who sits at computer for hours on end, reading, posting articles, writing, surfing…? Every evening is a play of mini-detours.
I rarely know where I am going till I get there.
And I don’t know what I have to say until I overhear meaning in words that speak for me: sometimes it’s truth as Truth, sometimes it lies that clothe the truth and sometimes is truths to undress the lies.
My night is a series of side-tracks.
And on the way I have met amazing and beautiful people. I think we find what we need. I think I have strong needs because I have found a wealth of love and goodness along the way. And tenacity is my best friend. I may surrender, but I never give up….even when I feel like I have nothing more to give or cannot navigate through the next detour, the wheels keep turning and I keep on to discover what I know and stand where I land.
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta