I cried the other day. I am listening to The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin, a truly amazing view into the Supreme Court. And I cried because I was never going to be a Supreme Court Justice.
In my car, I was driving down 93 at 4:45PM ( let's not talk about the fact that it takes me 45 minutes to get from my office to 93, ONE FREAKING MILE away), listening to this amazing book about this fascinating institution and crying over the fact that I was turning 42 and was never going to be a Supreme Court Justice...
"I'm 42, well I'm going to be 42 on Tuesday, and I am never going to be a Supreme Court Justice. Not Chief Justice, not one of the others, known for her witty but always enlightening opinions. I'm never going to sit in the conference room on Fridays and decide whether to join the majority or dissent. I will never have law clerks. What am I doing with my Life? And why in God's name did Robin Williams have to die? I miss knowing that Robin Williams is out there. I really think we could have been good friends. Now I am never going to be friends with Robin Williams."
My inner voice occasionally loses it. Completely. Because as I get older, I feel some doors closing. I mean, let's be honest. The Supreme Court one probably closed a long time ago. And to be honest, some of the justices got their seats in kinda icky ways. But, the point is true. As we get older, we make decisions, and Yes, Absolutely, those decisions close some doors. And that is hard.
Especially if you once had a different idea of what the future might hold. And if you feel that others expected more of you. Then it feels like a double dose of Focker. (I know it doesn't make sense, but I like it. And it's my birthday.
It’s like we carry these stones of expectation, of hurt feelings, of regret, and of anger. And they weigh us down.
And, I am so glad I have been practicing this art of noticing such things, because I immediately noticed that heaviness. And I pictured myself, carrying this heavy weight. I saw my arms full, I saw my back bent, I saw my head bowed.
And I decided to drop the stones. I remembered all I have accomplished, of the journey I have taken to get to where I am now. And I reminded myself that I have not come this far to pick up stones that just happened to be in the road. Especially not stones left by others. Those are not even MINE.
And I dropped them. One by one. “Expectations of others, real or imagined, I am putting you down. Expectations of self, formulated in a different time and place, I am not carrying you.”
And I stood up straight again. And I saw the path, which still spins out far in front of me, as far as I know. And I told myself that while Supreme Court was likely not going to happen, if I decided right now that what I wanted more than anything was to be a judge, I could do that. It would mean a major shift, but the option is there. In fact, there are many doors along this path that are still wide open.
When you are looking clearly at the path in front of you, you begin to see that there are shadowy branches that escape your notice in the everyday, because you are not looking for them. But there they are. But, if you are doubled over from the weight you have chosen to carry, you will miss them. If you only stare at the path under your feet, you’ll never see them.
I have been on this path for 42 years today. Many times the path was rocky. Tore at my soul and my soles. I was blessed with people who repaired my shoes, and gave me the strength to repair my spirit. Who sometimes, when I was not able to put those stones down, helped me carry them for a while. Sometimes I look back at the path behind me, just to admire the mountains I have already summited. And to feel pride in the courage that brought me this far.
I have many miles ahead of me, with so many options and choices and such potential for great happiness. Yet, I know that there will be times that test me. There may even be moments when I need to sit beside the path for a while, to wait for my strength to return. I am blessed to know that there are those who will sit beside me and be my friend. I will not be alone.
I still miss Robin Williams. But maybe I could be BFF with Tina Fey instead. I think we would really hit it off, Tina and me. And maybe I could get my friends to let me decide some of their arguments. Tina could write the dissent. It would be awesome.