could-have-beens and
and the questions filling my days

“You can’t ‘just’ be a poet—which when rent is due is absolutely true—therefore we get pretend titles like Ambassador and Legislator and Seer. The upside is that we are free (or, downside, forced) to find or invent roles for ourselves (and our poems) that engage differently with the material demands of our culture.”~Mark Bibbins

I came across this quote yesterday, after a conversation the evening before with my husband about the paths we take and why we take them, and whether or not we regret them, or at the very least, wish we’d done things differently.

This is something I’ve thought about a lot recently, as I find myself aging, as I lose friends and loved ones, as I traverse the territory of middle-age that stands between now and crone. And I find myself, quite often, wishing I had done just that. Except then I realize that I did do everything differently, without thought, without choice even, because my path was never the one paved with asphalt and fancy construction, my path was always just a break in the trees somewhere in the woods, and I was always the barefoot girl staring wide-eyed at the moon.

So, okay, no regrets, but there are still things that haunt me. And the older I get, the more security becomes one of them, the more struggling looks less romantic and simply hard. The more I wonder if I should have put some high heels on all those years ago and walked down a different road, wearing a suit that might confine, but would also protect. I was a straight-A student my whole life. I could have done anything. (At least that’s what the little voice whispers.)

But the voice that always answers back, the one that’s stronger and sing-song and slightly rose-colored, tells a different story. That I could only ever have done exactly what I did. I could only ever be who I am. And that is my solace.

Will it be enough to see me through?

Only time will tell, and besides, the sun is shining down on these roses about to bloom and a few years back, this whole bush was crushed to the ground. I see no regret in these buds that turn themselves boldly towards the sun, and the thorns and the scars are all hidden just now, in the darkest shadows of growth.

I’ll sit here and watch them open and listen to the birds and inhale all the yesterdays that brought me to this moment.

And all I’ll breathe out is today.









8 Responses to “could-have-beens and
and the questions filling my days

  • d smith kaich jones Says:

    Oh man. I am with you on this. Tired of doing everything myself, wishing I’d taken a road that held money enough to just pay someone else to take care of the things that seem beyond me. But also knowing I am who I am. I stared at the moon myself and still do. It’s a friendship I don’t regret.


  • Susan Says:

    I’m right there with you, a bit farther down the road and without sunshine still but I do understand.

  • Michael Says:

    Ah, the whispers of inner voices, and the louder voices from across the dinner table; we could have listened long ago, but if we had, we would be sitting at a different dinner table today…”And that has made all the difference.”

  • Trisha Says:

    I really love this Kelly. Like you, I could have taken a different path. One that would have left me with security. Instead, my choices did not include insurance programs or pensions. BUT I was not locked into jobs I hated and could not leave due to insurance and pensions. I became ME. For the most part, I like her.

  • Buddah Moskowitz Says:

    I did pick the road of security, and while it has helped, I still wonder about the musician/actor/comic/writer I have left somewhere along the way to becoming who I am.

    I am convinced we all make the best decision at the time. Nobody ever picks the second best. It is only in retrospect that we evaluate it differently.

    I love who you are today, so the path really doesn’t matter to me. -moskowitz the humble

  • grapeling Says:

    Potential is the word that defined me. I wore the suit and still ended up with dust. World you have felt safe in that cage? I think your bare feet knew. ~

  • Kathleen Says:

    Kelly, I have just taken a leap of faith, or more accurately,a leap off the cliff and quit my job. Finally answered those questions you posed and asked – what am I doing here and why. So now I am staying home caring for my Mom for as long as she remains with us – could be 2 weeks, could be 2 years. And then I will deal with whatever comes my way. I have made all the choices that got me here so can’t change the rivers course at this late date.
    Choosing instead to live each day without worry and fret – we will see how difficult letting go of those habits will be.
    I am moved by your honesty and beautiful poetry. Thank you for each post. K

  • Anita Says:

    I came to your blog by another blog (Come Sit by My Fire) that I follow. I am in the same boat with thoughts about my life. A widow of ten years, looking at retirement in a few years and wondering what I could have/should have done differently. For the most part, I look for the joy and beauty in everyday things and try not to stress about the bigger things.
    God bless!

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