... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The last few magnets are from the fridge of our friend Sian, in Orkney

ST-spock.jpg (4964 bytes)


0062507249.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg (4762 bytes)

Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


Dharma & Greg
Spin City

powered by SignMyGuestbook.com

That's it for today!


(a project for the "IF" collaboration)

21 November 2001

If you were given one cosmic 'get out of jail free' card that would allow you to undo one act from your past, which would you use on? What outcome would you hope to result from that decision?

Over the years, I have become a great believer in the interconnectedness of events in one's life. I can look back over my life and wish that I had done this or that differently, but then I think of the things that have resulted as a consequence of making the decisions, good and bad, that I've made in life.

I chose the high school that only three others in my 8th grade class chose. There were times when I wondered if I'd made the right decision, but if I had gone to another school, would I have started on the path that has led me to office machines and the joy I have found from the throughout my life. I had a tremendous crush on my typing teacher and spent every minute I could trying to learn to be the best typist in the class (I was), and spending as much after school time learning to run all of the other machines, which made me the expert on machines throughout a good portion of my life (until I ran into computers, which don't respond when you kick them, of course!) Had I gone to the more "popular" school, would my life have taken that turn, or would I have headed off on a different direction?

I decided to enter the convent. Was it a bad decision? I never went, but it delayed my entry into college by six months, which resulted, I strongly feel, in my never having completed my degree. I am, by nature, a very shy person and had no experience whatsoever with how a big university works. I was coming from a school with 250 students. At UC Berkeley, I had classes with more students in it. I was also the first person on either side of my family to attend college, so there was nobody to give me helpful hints. By entering mid-year, I missed all the orientation sessions and never did quite learn how it all worked (I didn't realize, for example, that when a professor started hitting on me and I stopped attending his class that my college life wasn't "over", but that I had options. I assumed that having received the very first "F" I got in my life that I might as well just give up--and I did.) I knew so little, I didn't even know what questions to ask.

I've always regretted that I have no college degree, especially when I type reports about people with degrees whose high school performances were significantly less stellar than mine. It's been a source of great embarrassment for me throughout the years that I never finished college. However, the years after I dropped out of college were years of great joy and personal satisfaction, as I took on the care and feeding of three university professors, a job I absolutely adored, and forged a friendship which has lasted 40 years.

Entering college mid-year also made it difficult to learn the workings of the dorm to which I was assigned. Friendships had already formed and, being a shy person who finds it difficult to break into existing cliques, I just found my way to the Newman Center and my social life centered around that instead of the dorm. The Newman Center experience led to friendships which continue today, and marriage to Walt.

What if I hadn't married Walt? There was a point when it was a choice between him and another guy, and I chose Walt. So much has come from making that decision. Five people who would never have existed if it hadn't been for that decision, for one thing. Pretty much everything else about my life, good and bad, has come from making that one decision.

When we moved here, we had the choice of living on one side of the freeway or the other. We moved with 50 families from Walt's office and most of them moved to the south side of town. I took a look at where all the activity in town was and realized that if we moved to the south side of town, we would have a built-in group of acquaintances all from Walt's office, but I would spend the rest of my life in the car, because all activities for kids were on the other side of the freeway. Our choice of where to live led to the kids' involvement in show business and pretty much set the path of their own lives. Amazing what a difference a seemingly simple choice like that can make in your life!

More recently, in 1997, I chose to leave my job, after ten years. It was a painful parting and one which I regret on many levels. Maybe I should have stayed and fought it out. But the free time allowed me the opportunity to start volunteering first for a homeless shelter, and then for Breaking Barriers, and the wonderful, wonderful people I've met while driving HIV+ clients to appointments, and working with the office staff (hi, Sam).

The free time also gave me the opportunity to meet and travel a lot with Steve, and what a rewarding experience that has been (even though I won't admit that to him), and it enabled me to spend 6 weeks with Peggy when she was here, a period of time which, in retrospect, I wouldn't have given up for anything, even the pain of giving up my job.

So I think I'm going to pass on that get out of jail free card. There are a lot of things I wish hadn't happened, a lot of acts I wish I could undo, but each of these acts, these decisions, have made me the person I am today. Each experience has built on the experience before it and set me on the path I follow today. Everything, good and bad, makes up the cobblestones of the path I walk. If I were to undo any one of them, who knows where I would be right now.

I prefer to follow my own Prime Directive--leave well enough alone, and let the past stand as it is. It has made me who I am in the present.

One Year Ago:
I pledge allegiance

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)

previous | Journal home | bio | cast | archive | next
Bev's Home Page

Created 11/19/01 by Bev Sykes