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  • Michelle Meyer

Bittersweet Symphony of Life

Interpretation by Anne McGough

Someone once said to me, You have such a great life. I bet you don’t have any regrets. I looked at “Someone” like they were stump dumb and then proceeded to tell “Someone” that yes, indeed I had regrets and let me count the ways and means. 

As a youngster I had no idea what job options existed for me in the wider world, the one beyond high school, beyond my small town, beyond the conventional job market. I had earned a few cute awards for my writing but I thought, how am i ever going to make a living doing THAT?

So I chose to study art. (eye roll)

What I really wanted was to become an ACTRESS. Obviously I needed career counseling. But I stuck with art because I thought you had to go to Hollywood to be an ACTRESS. I didn’t know that you could go to the University of River Falls and study theater and work in Minneapolis and become an ACTRESS there or, better yet, a director or even an instructor with tenure and a pension! So I ventured into graphic design and did exceedingly well.

In college.

Which was the highlight of my short-lived “career.” I loved the art part, but hated the corporate part. Then I met a man who encouraged my corporate disillusion and we got married and did a lot of traveling around the world and “freelancing” and now here I am with a Swiss cheese work history and no tenured, pensioned, professorial dream job.

And I was just about to say all that to “Someone,” that if I had a do-over I’d really want that Professor of Theatre title and tenure and status. But then I thought about the time when the man and I were setting up camp next to a flowing stream on the north island of New Zealand. We paused to grab another tent pole and just then a family of wild horses pranced by, their hooves and snorts and those peaceful angel harps the only sounds.

Had I a been a Professor of Theatre it’s likely that I’d never have seen those wild horses. Or even married that man. Or traveled the world. And who’s to say that being a Professor of Theatre would’ve been a dream job? I might have hated it. So I had to rethink my regret because my assumption that life would’ve been better if I’d taken an alternate route was based purely on my own fantasy outcome. The reality is that I don’t, and never will, know how that alternate life would’ve played out. But I did marry the man and I did get to see wild horses. And those are two things that I’ll never regret.

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