I’ve been signing up for the free introductory Gotham writing classes for years. Twice a year, I’ll sign up, really intend to go, and then on the day of the class, decide not to go. They’re free; they can’t be that good, I’ll think, which is a silly excuse since, on the other hand, they’re free; who cares?!
Yesterday I went. I went to two classes, actually. And no, I didn’t learn anything particularly mind-blowing, but during the first class, I was just sitting there doodling when the instructor described someone as “calm and chalant.” Chalant? I thought. Is that a real word? And even if it is, wouldn’t it be used incorrectly here? Suddenly it hit me: I would never have been sitting there if I hadn’t quit my job. I wouldn’t have been sitting there if my boyfriend hadn’t broken up with me (I could have been, but I know I wouldn’t have been). It wasn’t an incredible moment that I can look back on and think, Wow, good thing those terrible things happened in the past so I could go to this free writing class, but it was a moment that made me realize what I’ve been trying to convince myself for months. Things happen, good and bad. But they don’t have to determine the rest of my life.
They can. Maybe going to that writing class did somehow change the course of my life and redirect it onto a path that will turn out to be amazing. But I doubt it. It was just something I did that I wouldn’t have done if I were on any other path. That’s the whole point of this blog, of course, but it wasn’t until I heard “chalant” that it finally really sunk in.
Maybe that’s what quitting my job was, too, even though I still regret it. Maybe that’s what the person I wanted to marry (I can put it in writing, now that I never will) breaking up with me was, as well–just something that happened. They’re things that, though they seem bad now, may turn out to be, years down the road, just things.
Now, don’t go getting any ideas that this is some sort of radical breakthrough for me, because tomorrow I may be back to lamenting the ways I’ve messed up recently. But for now, I’m going to believe that while I feel like a failure and a mess, maybe one day I won’t. Alright, fine, that’s kind of a breakthrough.