Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Thousand Lives

I read something from Emily P. Freeman recently where she says, "We live a thousand lives in one lifetime."

That resonated with me.
As I work on my memoir, and by 'work,' I mean 'think about, freak out and go on Pinterest instead,' I realize that's what I am doing.

I am living my thousand lives. I am going through my seasons, one step at a time. When I stop for long enough to look around, and I realize those seasons have changed, those are the moments I feel like life is passing me by.
There was a season I lived on a quiet street in Norfolk. I was under the age of six, and the neighborhood wasn't the scary scene that it is today. I used to bunch the pine needles up in rows in the back yard, and create 'rooms' and 'houses.' What a little architect! I used to make my brother go to 'his room.'

There was a season I'd ride my bike around the next neighborhood we lived in - down to the water, down by the 'big houses,' and I'd get away from whatever was bothering me in my 10 year old world. I'd listen to Huey Lewis on my pocket rocker.

There was the trying out for cheerleading season, the cheerleading season, then the time I realized as head captain my Senior year that I'd gotten distracted, and let my team down. I learned a hard lesson about humility and leadership.

There was the season I couldn't get enough of the Bible and I traveled around the East Coast with Youthquest, and we talked to teenagers about Jesus and life and we slept on air mattress in random peoples houses and wore overalls and rode in 15 passenger vans.

There was the season I was the 19 year old in the newsroom and I faked like I understood what 10 codes on a scanner meant and I went to bed thinking about how some of the reporters and producers I worked with did their thing, because I wanted to be that smart but I didn't just want to ask them how they did it.

There was the season of growth and realizing I was good at what I do, and being recognized for that, and rewarded for that, and rapidly moving up and around in the competitive world of broadcast news.

There was the season of boyfriend drama. My heart was broken a couple of weeks before Christmas, once. Another time, I broke a heart. I wondered if I'd be single forever.

There was the season of wondering about this guy in Texas and if this could really be a thing. Followed by the season of airplane tickets and Yahoo chats and life-planning conversations had outside satellite truck row at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

There was the season of wedding planning and dog walking and moving and honeymooning and realizing I was living my actual dream and not even knowing how to handle that.

There was the season of realizing I was a caregiver. Of grieving. Of comparing my life to everyone else around me and feeling alone. Then the season of opening up and becoming part of a community online of girls who get it.

There was the season of fighting. The season of traveling for work, that was an adventurous season.

Then the 'what's next?' started. There was the national television show, the management position, and the hard years we didn't see coming. That's where we are now. And I'm realizing, I'm very much still in the thick of these seasons. There are many to still be had. I wonder what they are. But I can't spend too much time obsessing over it, because I must live the season I'm in, right now.
Last night, I took Brokaw on a bike ride around our neighborhood and I thought about how I used to do that when I was a little girl. I would hurry through my dinner, so that I could get a quick bike ride in before the street lights came on - because it was the late 80s, and that was the threshold for safety and avoiding becoming a face on a milk carton.

It's good to get away even though you're not really getting away. You're very much still in your right now.

2 comments:

Diane Moody said...

Loved your post, Dana ... as always. But I have to ask - did you paint the beautiful watercolor of your bike & Brokaw??? I'm dying to learn to watercolor, but haven't ventured out yet.

Hope you both have a wonderful Easter!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Hi Diane, great to hear from you! I WISH I had painted that watercolor. I am not generally artistic unless I'm following paint-by-numbers, haha! The watercolor was generated by an iPhone app called "Waterlogue." It's really fun. I think it's like $3.00, check it out!