The world I live in was meant for me. All of it was meant for me—and by all I mean ever sliver and crack.
I lived, I tell you.
I may have lived differently from others, but the details of my past are the salt and pepper that seasoned my life and led me to where I am now.
I once lived in the basement of a white, ranch-styled house, with black shutters on the windows, a small driveway, one-car garage, and brick steps that led up to a covered patio, with green imitation grass, and a welcome matt that sat beneath the front door.
I lived on a quiet street between two main roads at the edge of a town known as Garden City. The neighborhood was also quiet with decent houses and decent people, living, and working towards the benefit of a greater good.
The wide, tree lined street was clean and the yards of each home was well-kept. The manicured lawns, walkways, patios, and landscaping, varied enough to keep us from the seemingly cookie-cutter appearance that often comes with suburban living.
Come springtime, the pre-dawn hour would awaken to a symphony of chattering lawn sprinklers, swirling around, and slapping at strands of water in a sound of, “Pat—Pat—Pat ,” until reaching a full circle, and then rattling, and quickly “Cha-cha-cha-chattering,” back to its starting position.
During the early morning workweek, husbands ran from their front doors, usually wearing business suits, and holding a briefcase in one hand with a spill-proof cup of coffee in the other. They ran from their homes to catch a train into the city with a newspaper tucked beneath their arm while trying to find their car keys, and heading off to a better, or higher-paid position than my own.
I drove an older model, blue, four-door Chevy at the time. The engine ran loud but it ran well. The heat worked and so did the cooling. The windshield leaked during heavy rains, the velvety blue seats had stains on them, which were the telling signs of long crazy nights in my young adulthood.
The headliner was ripped and sagged above the driver’s seat, and though loud and anything but pretty, my blue four-door started with a loud rumble whenever I turned the key.
I loved that car. It took me wherever I wanted to go. I might not have arrived in style—but I arrived and there was something fitting about this. There was something to its experience, which shaped me, and added to the seasoning of my life.
I know what it means to live well or on top. I know what it means to live not as well or in the underbelly. I know how it feels to succeed as well as fail.
I tell you, I lived.
I have no idea what my life would be like if it were not for its experience. True, I have seen dark times and I spent time in dark places. But I have also experienced the victories of late-night, stay-outs. I have watched the sun come up over the beach in Southampton while sitting on the trunk of my car—a young unknown girl slept mostly undressed in the back seat of my blue four-door, and all of this further decorated my path, which I call life.
I lived, I say.
Or, “I did the dance,” as a friend of mine tells me.
I drove passed my old place in Garden City not too long ago. It looks foreign to me now. As I drove passed, I felt as if someone else lived there. I felt as if the life I lived was more like a story, or a movie I had watched a long time ago. The decades between now and then feel more like centuries to me . . .but I still smile when I think about them.
These days, there are no late night victories or sunrise mornings in the Hamptons for me. Then again, my definition of victory has changed since that time. These days, my victories consist of simple things, like my family or coming home to a home cooked meal. My victories consist of a paid mortgage and a car which I can afford to repair.
I am victorious in accordance with my definitions of victory, and while my definition may differ from other’s, the salt and pepper of my experience has placed me exactly where I want to be.
And that suits me fine.
I strongly believe in destiny. I also believe that destiny is an adaptable term; I believe destiny has the ability to expand and contract. I believe destiny can change at any moment. I believe our destiny can change with the benefit of a simple decision (If we want it to).
My past experience is what led me to awareness and my awareness is what led me towards the decision of a better future. Same as I have matured so has my vision.
And the same as I have grown and improved—so has my destiny.