Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wasted Regrets and Parallel Universes

About three nights ago I had a dream that I was trying to drive home to Illinois from college in Iowa, a route I actually took for four years, but in my son's blue peddle car. In my dream, I called my now husband to tell him I'd lost track of my good friend and roommate, who was also driving home, albeit in her silver Dodge and presumably making much better time. I stopped for a snack at a gas station and got a few snickers as I pulled my peddle car into the lot. And I remember it was getting really dark and I wasn't sure if Highway B would take me all the way home. Someone at the station asked "Are you really driving THAT??!!"

The next morning I was telling Greg, my husband, about the dream and he suggested it probably had to do with my blog. And of course, after thinking about it, genius man was right;-). And dream analysis is SO not his right brained thing.

But I think he hit on it. I'd talked to my friend that day about my blog, which she hasn't had time to read as she's been involved in a big litigation case.

She and I graduated law school the same year after being college roommates. She has had huge success in her career, one of the first women partners in a very prestigious firm, making a not small fortune, and being in the papers regularly, usually with yet another honor or award. And she's earned every single accolade with hours upon hours upon hours of life energy.

When I was in high school, I graduated with a number of awards from our small school. My dad came to the awards ceremony, and I still remember him standing up and clapping every time they announced my name. Now it was quite something for him to even have been there as his business kept him from attending many school events, but the fact that he stood up each and every time I was awarded, really hit home somehow.

The years went on and included a graduate degree from Stanford and my dad keeping his "Stanford Dad" mug full of pens and pencils on his Goodwill desk in the office of the Redi-mix plant that had taken the majority of his hours, but paid him handsomely.

Many years later, in my darker moments, I wonder if he's just a tiny bit disappointed that the daughter of the man who never got to graduate from his own high school and who paid many of the steep tuition bills chose to be a part-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time teacher of evening law classes and not a Congresswoman or at least making the local papers for trials she won? Though happy in my life, have I in some ways not made the most of the opportunities I was given?

And my dear friend, who did take that route, though also happy and truly proud of all she has accomplished, has admitted in her darker moments she fears a future tombstone that will say simply, "A really good lawyer who made a lot of money." End of story.

I saw Oprah's interview of Whitney Houston. The "Voice" talked about years, literally years, she spent in a haze of drug use and of the tumultuous marriage she shared with Bobby Brown. When asked about regrets, she said she didn't live that way. She looked back at the good times and laughs in her relationship with appreciation, and realizes that the sadness and insaneness got her to where she is today. They got her to a better place. I think I need to channel a little Whitney sometimes....

I have friends with deep sorrow that they never married, friends with unhappy marriages who regret they didn't choose differently, and divorced friends who were walked out on or walked out and wish it could somehow all be done over.

Some physicists have postulated that there is a parallel universe. Fred Allen Wolf writes: If the parallel universes of relativity are the same as those of quantum theory the possibility exists that parallel universes may be extremely close to us, perhaps only atomic dimensions away but perhaps in a higher dimension of space-- an extension into what physicists call superspace. Modern neuroscience through the study of altered states of awareness, schizophrenia, and lucid dreaming could be indications of the closeness of parallel worlds to our own.

If so, maybe I am going to court this Monday in my Porsche convertible in a new suit chosen for me by my personal shopper Majhuba and maybe my friend will be serving dinner to the kids in the 1970's bi-level and looking out the windows to her garden. I hope we have enough sense in that universe to simply nod at the other possibilities, appreciate the joys that are our own lives, and get on getting on;-).

P.S. Ready to hit some more dollars and cents savings on Monday! Thanks for letting me share the other stuff;-). Eileen


  1. Eileen, have you read Einstein's Dreams? I think we all have these moments. Do you know Paul Simon's Slip Sliding Away? "On a good day ain't got no pain, a bad day is when I lie awake and think of things that might have been"....
    In a parallel universe I am single, have a bathroom entirely to myself, have written and produced a play, live a tiny apartment in a big American city and for reasons I don't understand find myself staring at children with large dark eyes and feeling unexplainable waves of sadness and loss.


  2. Antoinette, I so enjoyed your blog! When you say "our tropical island doesn't have private pools", are you kidding, or are you on a tropical island? I saw the wonderful ocean pictures and caught that your husband is in the army, but if you're in Japan, are there thrift stores? A bit hopeless in knowing much of anything outside the U.S. But what an interesting life. And thanks for the Einstein's Dream suggestion. I'd never heard of it and will have to look it up.

    Thanks! Eileen

  3. Eileen,
    What a huge compliment that you enjoyed my blog. Yay!
    Well, we are on Okinawa, which is a semi-tropical island. (Think Hawaii, in terms of weather.)
    And yes, there are both "American" thrift stores on military bases, as well as "Recycle Shops" in the local economy.
    Fortunately, it seems I knew more than some about Japan and eastern cultures before arriving here. My husband and father are martial arts enthusiasts and both very interested in history. [My WWII formal education was mostly focused on the European front, with a little tacked on at the end about Truman and the A bombs. But there are many Japanese families in the Western US and I, like many people, had connections with the stories of interred Japanese Americans.] And yet there is so much to learn here!
    We have fallen in love with Okinawa. The kind of love that transcends all the small things (language barriers, horrible traffic, bureaucracy, etc). However, I do miss my extended family, my parents and my sisters.