Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moonstruck musing

There's a line in Moonstruck, one of my favorite movies, when Loretta (Cher) tells Ronny (Nicolas Cage) why he hasn't had a woman since that wrong woman, and that Ronny's brother didn't really cause any of Ronny's problems. And Ronny yells at her, "What are you doing?"And Loretta yells back " I'm telling you your life!"

I always thought that was a poignant, strange, and exactly correct way to describe what she was doing. And lately, I wish someone would tell me my life. Because I can't figure it out.

When I was growing up I thought that when I turned 18, I would have life figured out.

Then after I turned 18, I knew when I turned 21 that I would know.

Then 25.

Then when I graduated law school. Or passed the bar exam.

Then when I got my first real lawyer job.

Then when I turned 30.

I gave up after that. Now I'm 37, and I feel like I'm making it up as I go along.

I could tell so many people about their lives, just like Loretta told Ronny about his life. I could tell if this person should stay with that person, or leave her husband, or quit his job, or move to a different country or have more children or any children.

And I could do that knowing just a few facts. And it might even be the right decision, but the point is - - it would be a decision.

I usually make fun of my sister, the one closest to me in age, for not being able to decide things. She's a libra, she weighs options. I'm a capricorn; it drives me absolutely crazy when she does that. I like decisions, which are firm and resolute. And unchanging.

I will be a lawyer. I will live here. I will get married. I will have children. That is that.

But more and more, I find myself . . . in the process of deciding something more than in the aftermath of the decision. I could do this, or that. We could do this, or that or. .. . oh! the other.

I wonder if I do that because I know more than just a few facts. I live with all the nuances and the variances and the subtle differences that every action and reaction create. I have lived with all of the heartache and heartmake and sorrow and bliss that has been my life so far and all of it informs everything I do, say, think or decide.

And the more I live, the more I bring to the decision and the more difficult that decision is to make.

So the result is, I don't make a decision.

Or maybe it's that the decisions I do make take longer? That would be the kind spin.

For example, when I was in law school, I got an offer to move across the country to Denver for a job. All my friends (and boyfriend) were in the city I was living at the time. Not to mention, all my professional contacts. My family was in yet another place, which was also across the country from (in a different direction from) Denver.

Here's how I decided this decision which would affect me for the next several decades: I went for a jog. At night. At the end of the jog, I was so high on endorphins, my thoughts on this subject of moving across country to a state in which I knew exactly 2 people were, "Why not?"

But the decision was made. I took comfort in the fact that the decision was made and never once thought about un-deciding. I told people all of the logical reasons why it was a sound decision, but really, it was because I was on a runner's high and felt good in the night air.

Now when a big life decision comes up - moving, finances, marriage, children - my decision is, "Why not wait and see what happens first?"

So as I struggle to analyze the queries facing me, I've come to the conclusion that I have either evolved into a brilliant tactician of life or devolved into a complete pansy.

I can't decide.


Shannon said...

That was great... love it.

Robyn said...

Hmmm. At some point, one has to make a choice. In fact, NOT choosing is also making a choice, but it really leaves you powerless and vulnerable to deal with whatever consequences come your way...

pattinase (abbott) said...

If you're that kind of person, which I am too, it doesn't get any easier because both sides of the coin look pretty much alike in the dark.

Trish said...

I'm just the opposite. I don't want ANYone to tell me MY life.