Monday, August 15, 2005

Vote of Confidence

My ex is getting re-married and I've turned into Ronald Reagan.

There is no logic in my craziness. I was the one who wanted out and yet all I do these days is visualize my own personal version of those "Morning in America" commercials from Reagan's campaigns in the 1980s.

I see an aerial shot slowly descending on my sweet little former home town. The sun creates a golden glow settling over the lush green landscape (my home town is set in a desert, so even I should see the delusion here). Eventually, we zoom into my darling neighborhood filled with classic old homes and a quaint schoolhouse, and to our adorable little house (no peeling paint, of course) with a serene and beautifully landscaped back yard (no weeds or overgrown maple tree), just a few blocks from the high school where I taught -- where there were never any problem children and all of my colleagues were talented and always delightful to be with. Do you see what I'm doing to myself? I might as well turn my brain over my knee and start spanking.

My Reaganesque delusions are mostly a result of a frustrating lack of focus. For the past two decades, every goal I have set for myself has basically been met. Yes, I dropped the ball sometimes and suffered some setbacks, but the essential vision of what I wanted to be was steely-eyed and crystal clear: a married teacher living in my hometown in a house loaded with charm. And sure enough...

Eventually, though, I needed more career challenges and personal happiness. The trade-off: moving away from family and friends and ending a marriage and a dream job. No regrets, no hard feelings, lots of great memories.

So why, like our former President, am I so discombobulated? I have a job I love which has unlimited potential for personal and professional satisfaction. I live with a man who could not be more supportive, intuitive, and kind in a city that sparkles with scenery and culture. And, happily ensconced in our condo with a view of Elliott Bay, we don't have to worry about spending our free time mowing the lawn or painting the house. What the hell is the problem?

Maybe it's easier in your 20s to envision your future than it is in your 40s, but I refuse to let my age or inertia stop me from moving forward. I've known too many "stuck" people who allowed life to just "happen"...I want to set the target, aim directly at it, and go full speed ahead. It's just that my glasses are a little smudged right now and I can't seem to find a polishing cloth.

On the other hand, now that the pressure is off to prove myself (as it was in my 20s), maybe this is the perfect time to take my glasses off completely, slow down, wander down the wrong street by accident, spend a little too much time reading or laughing or whatever...

If Reagan suffered from this same blurred vision, he at least had ambitious operatives like Donald Regan, Cap Weinberger, and loving wife Nancy to keep him on the straight and narrow. Although I don't have a staff of my own, I feel like I can hear a dozen different opinions about what to do next and I can't always be sure which voice to heed.

Lucky for Ronnie, he was set free by term limits after 8 years. Me? I'm embarking on a whole new campaign, seeking a higher office where I can be of the greatest service to myself and the world. I just don't want to be blinded by my own bullshit spun out of a mythical and rosy view of the past. Like those candidates we always dream about, I want to be honest in my dealings, ambitious in my goals, and creative in my execution.

Sounds much more satisfying than those phony Reagan ad campaigns and definitely worthy of my vote.


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