Decisions have led to joys, regrets


“You know, I always thought I was gonna be, I don’t know, special. But I’m not. I’m just… I’m just an ordinary person. And that’s OK. Because… you make me special.” —Hope Floats

 

Throughout my adult years of decision making I’ve said yes a lot. To a proposal, tomato plant starters, a lab puppy, one drink too many, non-traditional student status, several pairs of unaffordable shoes, extra butter on my popcorn, and most recently, banana peppers. Most of these have worked out alright. Although I’ll pass on the banana peppers next time.

So, you see, I’ve done and regretted. And been thankful. I’ve said the wrong things at the wrong times. Thought the right things that I never said. Passed an accounting class as an adult student, a miracle in itself. I’ve grown real live tomatoes. I’m growing real live kids. Just like you, I would guess?

Yet it’s frustrating to know what to say five minutes after the opportunity to say it has passed or to never know what should have been said at all. And it’s frustrating to wake up to the after-affects of that extra indulgence, be it expensive wedge heels or one more shot of butter.

It’s not fun to admit any of the above. But past the difficulty in doing that, it’s liberating because at least one other person is thinking the same thing, or worse, about themselves. The reality of being in good company changes everything.

Steven Rogers taught me that.

Steven Rogers, that guy from Seattle you’ve probably never heard of, is someone I admire. I don’t know him, but I know his talent. He produces (productive in the way that leads to an end result—a huge encouragement for flighty procrastinator types) art through screenwriting. He wrote “Hope Floats,” a story with as much ordinary emotion as…well, life.

Maybe being such a girl, I just fall too easily for this stuff. I mean the name alone—Hope Floats. Genius. It set the scene for one of the most poignant quotes of the movie, a conversation between the main character Birdie and her daughter Bernice:

“…That’s what Momma says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will….”

So, let me say it while I am thinking it. Thank you, Steven Rogers, for digging up those sigh-inducing words. You’re the man.

I’m liberated through connections. I may beat myself up for stumbling. I slosh around in self-pity when things don’t go my way. But as I get older (which I seem to be doing much quicker than I used to), I am trying to appreciate the normal-ness of my life. Good and bad.

I wish I didn’t have to deliberately remind myself of all the amazing things my ordinary life brings. But I do. I guess that makes me…human? Special? Especially ordinary? It’s hard to say.

So I’ll let Steven Rogers sum it up through Birdie: “I am my own crown of thorns. Just like everybody else.”


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