Last night in my dreams I was back in our farmhouse looking out the window. The red barn and the fields of gold wheat stared back at me. I could feel the familiar sense of peace that comes from living on a large parcel of property and the quiet stillness that comes with it.
In September I will be driving once again through those beautiful fields of wheat to drop my daughter off at Oregon State University. I know exactly what the fields will look like against the deep blue sky of Indian summer because I’ve driven this agricultural corridor a hundred times before.
The irony of my modern daughter who looks exactly like me now going to college at the same school and living a stones throw from where I spent my own formative freshman year is not lost on me. Although, she looks like me, she is not me. She is more worldly and well traveled than I at her age. She has also grown up in a tight-knit and supportive community where the values of athleticism and scholarship were deeply engrained teaching academic excellence, endurance, leadership and teamwork. Her sense of self is well defined and she is in no way naive.
At her age I had many personal contradictions. I was simultaneously confident, yet shy and I was bookish without being a good student. And, I was very, very naive. I found my freshman year shocking on many levels. The cafeteria style food alone horrified me, so I ate only pizza and ice cream from the soft serve machine. The dorm bathrooms with the open shower stalls terrified me and I literally ran from the fraternity parties and the boys that threw them. However, I did make friends easily and I matured and found my place among my classmates eventually becoming an active and dedicated student.
I’m now of an age where I often reflect on my past decisions and the circumstances that made them a necessity. I am also in transition and in order to make wise decisions it’s important to evaluate past choices to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.
I was talking to a friend about big choices that alter a life completely. Enormous turning points that if seized are as terrifying as jumping out of an airplane. Looking back those moments are obvious, but at the time they didn’t feel that way. They felt confusing and ominous, however, there is a moment when you decide you won’t settle and you’ll do anything necessary to ensure you do not. These moments for me were; going to Oregon State instead of a trade school like my college admissions counselor advised, throwing my clothes in my car and moving to San Francisco after college, or calling off my first wedding. They had a very wing and a prayer feel to them.
Now, I’m methodical in my planning. I have option A, B and C listed horizontally in my notebook. They are not in order of preference because one option is as good as the next. I run my fingers over the paper and ink to get a sense of what is the right choice, but still I can’t decide. This is how I know the right choice has not yet declared itself, but it will. I will know with deadly certainty by how it feels. It will give me that same sense of peace that I had growing up skipping through the apple orchards and listening to the bees buzz.
Love and blessings to all.