For years now I’ve posed a question to new acquaintances who I hope will become friends: If you had a choice, would you prefer to have a steady, stable life without a lot of major downs — but without the corresponding ups? Or would you rather ride a wild roller-coaster, experiencing plenty of downward spirals and deep lows that are balanced by exhilarating highs?
I’d estimate that 90 percent of the people I ask go for the smooth and steady ride.
But I have always maintained that I crave, thrive on, and embrace the roller-coaster ride. Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I find inspiration and excitement in the ups and downs, and the other, admittedly calmer and probably more healthful, way strikes me as mundane and boring. And, for better or worse, I tend to be attracted to others, men in particular, who want a good roller-coaster ride out of life.
I have to admit, though, that my life during the past five years has been like a roller-coaster ride gone awry, with no attendants, no seat belts — and, for the most part, nobody to share the ride with. So I’ve spent some time lately rethinking my stance. Might I be in a different, perhaps better, place today had I settled for the merry-go-round, or even maybe the bumper cars?
To recap (with my apologies to those of you who have been by my side every step of the way and might well be exhausted by following my journey), the past five years for me have entailed:
- deciding to leave my 30-year marriage
- actually getting divorced
- moving from our family home to a little condo in Hartford
- starting a new job, and shifting positions there every few years until I now find myself running virtual programs — something I never could have imagined when I got my M.A. in English lo those many years ago. Guess what? I LOVE it!!! Who knew?
- dating like a crazy woman before entering a volatile, challenging, and ultimately damaging live-in relationship, which ended a couple of years ago but somehow keeps lingering on in unhappy ways
- managing my multiple sclerosis, with which I was diagnosed almost 20 years ago
- getting a handle on and taking serious charge of my finances, which five years ago were in a shambles
- being diagnosed with breast cancer and choosing to have a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction
- and, now, like everyone else, coping with COVID-19
You’d think I’d want to take a break, right?
And, in some ways, yes, I’d like to settle down. For starters, I really would love to find a loving, caring partner with whom to share my life. But not just anyone; I need and want someone who is smart, talented, creative, funny, sexy, supportive, respectful, and just as passionate and engaged in life as I am.
I’d also like to find a more stable rhythm/balance between work, my writing, my family and friends, my yoga, and my day-to-day chores and obligations.
Those are things to work toward, for sure.
But even when I find that stability and security, I won’t be ready to tame things down. My spirit remains curious, inquisitive, and adventuresome, and I can’t bear the idea of being bored. So I guess, wittingly or not, I’ll keep finding my way into crazy situations — and finding my way out of or around them, too.
How about you? Are you a merry-go-round person, or do you choose a roller-coaster ride through life?