the way things are….

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Thus far, 2016 has been a rather trying year.

In little over three months, the world has been forced to say goodbye to too many talented people. I looked at my husband following the news that Prince had died and said, “What the hell is going on here? Do they know something we don’t?”

Makes you wonder.

But setting aside the true devastation we feel over never hearing a new Eagles Album or seeing Prince live on stage, life is and always will be about perspective. While the musicians who helped shape me into who I became are now gone, their passing while sad does not diminish me one bit. Instead, I’ll simply pull out some of my old albums to listen and revel in the joy they produced when I was young and still resonate within me today.

Then there is my son, who’s picture should be in the dictionary next to the word “trying” when referencing my patience. When he was younger I used to say to him, “I should have named you PAYNE because you’re such a pain in the rear to me now!”

But I digress…

A few years back he decided he was going to walk the Appalachian Trail, following his Senior year of High School. The only hurdle in his path was getting into shape. On a particularly trying day, after he was caught lying to me, he begged, “Mom, please don’t let me give up on my dream to hike the trail. I know myself, please keep pushing me…” At the time, his request was a tall order, today it’s gargantuan.

So when his grandmother informed me “The boy plans to take the year off of school in between his senior year of high school and freshman year of college, not to walk the trail, but to do other things…” that I almost had an aneurysm. “He said what?” I asked but didn’t allow her to answer. “Oh hell no. Not on my watch!” I said. My husband informed me later that he could literally see steam rolling off the top of my head. “He is not setting aside possible scholarship opportunities to sit on his ass for a year….” I said beginning to pick up steam. Sensing I was about to blow, my husband grabbed me by the arm and said, “Let’s take a walk and talk about this…”

So we did and I calmed down enough to wait until later to discuss the matter with the boy. After all, I wanted him to realize this was a mistake; not push him closer to going that route.  “Bay…” I said to him last night, “Hey this plan you have about taking a year off from school…” I started. He turned and said, “Oh, I changed my mind…” “Yeah? You know that trail will always be there…you could take time next summer to get into better shape and maybe hike part of the trail…” I said. “Yeah, I’ll get to the trail at a later date”. He said sadly. “Bay, I think you will…but really, you don’t have to walk it all in one summer. Some people take years to complete it from start to finish. Slow and steady, dude…” I offered before exiting the room.

I’m glad he came to the better conclusion to get his degree (whatever that may be) while he was still in school mode, rather than trying to come back to that mode of learning. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t notice how bummed he sounded.

Unfortunately, just like our sadness after learning of all those talented people’s deaths, this is simply the way things are, whether we like it or not.

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