TAMPA, Florida, August 23, 2012 - I’m a big believer in analysis. Life doesn’t always come at us in obvious ways; most of the time we have to be able to see messages from beyond in the subtlety of signs.
It isn’t easy.
When I walk two blocks from the office, why do I get lost walking back? I am able to instantly recall immunization schedules for two kids at a moment’s notice in the carpool line, so dementia isn’t likely. Maybe I can blame anxiety over four deadlines and a tofu casserole that refuses to defrost for dinner when I’m walking down the wrong alley at noon on “Get Your Free Stereo out of this Truck” day.
Or am I supposed to learn that expensive wedge heels are a waste of money because they don’t last five blocks? Who knows? At any rate, now I understand why my husband Marc mumbles a prayer every time I leave the house. He’s hoping I find my way home.
Correctly interpreting clues is never easy.
For example, a talking pig won’t appear in your dreams, begging you to consider the Radicchio salad instead of his cousin for lunch the next day. But you might find it hard to climb those stairs at work after a double ham sandwich on a hoagie roll with extra mayo.
There’s your sign.
My boys didn’t just wake up one morning and announce their transition from delightful children who enjoy an occasional argument to frightening preteens who want detailed reasons why they can’t do whatever they want whenever they want.
They simply rolled their eyes at me.
Still, I didn’t fully appreciate the situation until we went grocery shopping a few weeks later. Youngest refused to walk down the tampon aisle and Oldest asked for cologne.
Those were signs.
Listen up, people, because the universe is always trying to tell you something.
You arrive at the newspaper for a photo shoot and the photographer yells to his assistant, “Grab the Diane Sawyer/Barbara Walters lens!” – that’s a sign.
Husband brings home a CPR mask that goes *over* your face in the event of an emergency so his lips don’t have to directly touch your lips -that’s a sign.
After two days of preparation and an hour of anxiety in the kitchen, you serve Vegetarian Curry Delight. Two kids and three adults all reach for the ketchup at the same time - that’s a sign.
You postpone a hair appointment and children ask for permission to walk to school without supervision, citing the need for “exercise” – that’s a sign.
Lots of times in the past year, my body has sent signals that I’m no longer a young woman. Laugh lines, darker veins, and Oprah arms were trying to tell me something. Finally, I treated myself like I treat my children. “If you want attention,” I said to the mirror, “simply ask for it. You don’t have to act up.”
As a result, my body and I are no longer on speaking terms.
You don’t always have to acknowledge the signs. Sometimes just knowing they’re there is good, or frightening, enough.
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