I’m writing this blog, sitting by my parents’ pool on a breezy, but sunny, Memorial Day. Little white petals flutter down from large sixty foot trees and blow across the patio. They look like snowflakes until they blow into the pool, the water pushing them into a cluster near the steps.
I’m in one of my moods. You know, the type of melancholy moods that writers…and people…are prone to have. It’s been a weekend of “There’s no food in the house” and “What can I eat for breakfast?”—even though it is 1pm. As a mother, the demands placed on me have really put me in a yucky place.
I know exactly what I need: to go away for a while.
Just like Elinor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility.
Did you ever wonder why all of these people, people who lived idyllic and privileged lives with large estates, servants, and little to really worry about other than the weather, took vacations to Bath or London?
I’m certain it was, in part, due to a feeling of “blah” regarding their lives and surrounding environment.
That’s how I feel.
On May 31st, it will be two years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, I have suffered emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Don’t most cancer patients? While I did not get sick from chemo or radiation (although I DID get sick OF chemo and radiation), it has been the “after” that has presented the most pain.
- After a double mastectomy.
- After implants.
- After skin infections.
- After chemo. (#HATED)
- After surgery to remove the reconstructed boobies.
- After life-threatening infections.
- After blood transfusions.
- After skin grafting.
- After radiation. (YUCK)
- After yet another after surgery.
- After fat grafting (OW!!!)
In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Anne is given a second chance with Frederick. I don’t think life often presents second chances to correct some decision that we made in the past that didn’t quite turn out exactly as we thought it would turn out. It took her eight years to get that second chance, but she needed little persuasion to jump at it when it presented itself.
So it makes me wonder…where, exactly, would I want a second chance to correct a course of action in my life that could have turned out quite differently if I had chosen an alternative? Would I have opted for a second opinion? Would I have gotten my mammogram earlier? Would I have insisted on a biopsy for that cyst several years ago?
Second guessing and wishing for a second chance is all well and good until I realized that, when I really think about it, where I am today is directly rooted in my past decisions.
Would Emma have realized her feelings for George Knightley had she not gone through the social pains of her tendency of nosiness? Would Elizabeth have fallen in love with Mr. Darcy if Lydia had not run off with Mr. Wickham? Would Anne have realized how much she loved Frederick—and how little appreciation her family had for her—if she hadn’t refused him at nineteen? And Marianne Dashwood…what chance would Colonel Brandon have had to win both her heart and her hand if Willoughby hadn’t broken the former by denying the latter?
Jane Austen knew something that is worth reminding ourselves: regret nothing in our lives…for each step, whether perfectly executed or resulting in some stumbling, leads us on the journey of life. Despite a few bumps and bruises along the way (or an extra set or two of boobies, as in my case), who we are today is because of what we experienced yesterday; and these experiences will also contribute to our tomorrow.