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Melinda’s Brew: Looking Back; Looking Ahead

Melinda’s Brew: Looking Back; Looking Ahead

“Which way should I go?” – Luke, to Yoda, in Star Wars Forces of Destiny’s “The Path Ahead”

Watching this episode of Forces of Destiny, listening to the conversation between Luke and Yoda during one of Luke’s early Jedi training exercises on Dagobah, I can’t help but think about the fact that in a few short days I will be celebrating another birthday [Yay! 🙂 ] – The Big 6-0! It is supposed to be a milestone birthday, but truth be told I don’t feel much different than I did yesterday … or last week … or last year, for that matter. Oh, I move a bit slower at times, and it can be a chore to get up from the floor/ground from time to time, but if this is how 60 is supposed to feel, I’m okay with that. Look at Yoda. He lived to be a spry 900 years old, and moved pretty darn well when he had to! 🙂 We all should be so lucky. 😉 

As the days of me being in my 50s wane, I can’t help but contemplate how I got to this point in my life – especially when I look into the faces of my two daughters [or think about them … since they live in different states, and I don’t get to see either of them anywhere near as often as I would like to]. At 29 and 25, they are on the cusps of what I hope will be wonderful lives … and I can’t help but recall what it was like to be their ages, wondering where my life’s path would take me. To be perfectly honest, when I was their age I thought my life would be a lot different than it has turned out to be.

“As in life, some paths are clear, some perilous.” – Yoda, in response to Luke, in “The Path Ahead”

Long before I reached the ages the girls are now, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get married, let alone have children. I was going to be a journalist, and knew – without a shadow of a doubt – that if I was to have the life I wanted I would have to remain unencumbered … basically to live the life of a Jedi so I could devote all my time and attention to pursuing my goal. I was okay with that. I’ve always been a bit of a loner so that life would suit me pretty well. And then I met Tom. [Sometimes the best laid plans… ha ha] To say he is a unique specimen of a man is an understatement. Over the course of the three years we dated/were engaged, I made it perfectly clear that I intended to pursue my goals, and he made it perfectly clear he would support me in any and every way. You might think he was spouting hot air, but you know what? He wasn’t! He was sincere – and proved it on more than one occasion. 🙂 When I had to move to a different city [about 2-1/2 hours away from our home] to further my career, he was behind me 100 percent! I rented an apartment in that hamlet, and came home on my days off. [We had recently purchased our first home, and really didn’t want to sell it at that point. Besides, I worked close enough so we could see each other with regularity – more so than when I was in college – and there was that technological wonder called the telephone – so we could stay in touch on a daily basis. 🙂 ]

He has showed me in countless “little” ways over the 35+ years we’ve been together just how supportive he is, but that was a “biggie” in my book. Believe it or not, that wasn’t the most impressive way he has indicated how much he believes in spousal support. Not too long after I took that new job, I was tasked with writing a series of articles about the military. It rekindled my interest in joining one of the branches [something I had contemplated when I was in college]. On one of my visits home, I put forth the query, “What would you think if I told you I wanted to join the military, not just any branch of the military but the Marine Corps?” He took it in stride, and while it was a huge change in our life’s path, he was nothing but supportive … even though it would mean long stretches of time when we’d be separated. [It was not a decision I reached easily or quickly. My career was charted on a different course, and I most definitely found myself yawing in a new, unknown direction. Was I up for it? Did I really want it? During the months leading up to the day I would leave for basic training, I questioned whether I had made the correct decision – uprooting not only my life but Tom’s as well. “Trust what you see, not what you think you see.” – Yoda, to Luke, in “The Path Ahead”. Whenever I closed my eyes and quieted my tumultuous mind, I knew – unequivocally – that I had made the right choice.]

I know this might sound odd to some who know me, but probably the biggest surprise of my life has been how much I have enjoyed being a parent. Remember when I noted that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have children? I wasn’t kidding. Back when I was Erin’s and Caitlin’s ages, being a mom was about the furthest thing from my mind. [It wouldn’t be until my 30s when Erin, then Caitlin three-and-one-half years later, was born.] My tour of duty was almost up, and Tom and I began talking about starting a family. It wasn’t something we headed into on a lark but I admit I had a lot more trepidation about this course than I had had “joining up”. To be frank – I knew being a Marine was “child’s play” compared to being a mom. I’d be in it for the long haul. Did I really think I had what it took to be a parent? I would be a mom for the rest of my life! Would I be able to do right by my child[ren]? Would I do a good job? [Doing anything in life is worth doing well, as far as I am concerned; that doesn’t mean being perfect, but it certainly does mean being the best at *whatever* one can be … at least from my point of view.] You’d have to ask Erin and Caitlin for the answers to these questions. For my part, I have to say that I have tried to do the best I can, to shower them with love and support. This has been the most incredible, most rewarding, and yes, most meaningful job I ever thought I could have. From the moment I first held Erin, and then later Caitlin, I have been smitten. Sure, there have been sleepless nights, worrisome moments, and a loss of privacy [what parent hasn’t asked: “Can I not go to the bathroom alone?” 😉 ] – yet I wouldn’t trade any of that and more for all the tea in China if it meant not having my girls in my life.

There have been a few more twists and turns along the way. Some have turned out well. Some, disappointingly so, have not. In retrospect, it’s clear why some things did not work out. “To step forward, walk the same path your mind and body must.” It is only in looking back that I get that message of Yoda’s. 😉 It helps me be mindful of those few words as I forge ahead. 🙂 After all, like Ben Kenobi informs Luke after the young moisture farmer’s near brush with death, “[I’m] not dead. Well, not yet…” I figure I’ve got a lot more living left to do! 🙂 Sixty isn’t exactly ancient [although I once thought of it as such ha ha].

I invite you to head here to watch the Forces of Destiny episode featured today. I love these short Forces of Destiny episodes. Rarely longer than three minutes, [“The Path Ahead” was a mere 2 minutes, 47 seconds], they are sometimes amusing, sometimes poignant vignettes Melinda's Brewthat give us a few extra glimpses into the lives of some of our favorite Star Wars characters. It can be a challenge telling a story in such a short period of time – kind of like a haiku – yet the team who puts out these animated shorts does an outstanding job. 🙂 I’ve watched all two seasons – eagerly awaiting Season 3 I am.

“Are we trying to get somewhere?” Luke queries Yoda as “The Path Ahead” draws to a close. “Always. Yes, always,” Yoda responds. We might not always be able to see exactly where we’re headed but that’s okay. As I head into a new decade, I look forward to seeing where my path takes me. I just need to take Yoda’s sage advice to heart, and keep my mind and body headed in same direction.

Until next time,

MTFB WY 🙂

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