Second Chances

As the fifth anniversary of my being revived after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest happened (in 2010), I wanted to write about it. After all, we don’t all get a second chance at life. I wanted to commemorate the occasion. However, what I found was that I couldn’t write the story as a true memoir.

I don’t know if I didn’t trust my writing skills. I didn’t know if I doubted my ability to tell the story in a heartfelt and meaningful way. Or – most likely – I didn’t have the strength to dig down deep and acknowledge my true feelings and thoughts from life since that moment.

So, I did what any self-respecting ‘chicken’ would do. I wrote the book but told it in a fictional manner. I created Jenny and had her tell her story. So, although many of the incidents and thoughts are true, including pieces of my actual journal entries here and there, it’s told as a fictional tale in A Second Chance.

I had thoughts about writing another book, this time a true memoir. But it’s not going to happen this year. This year is already so horrendously crazy that I know it won’t happen. Plus…I need to find where I filed all my notes and journals from twelve years ago. You know, where I stashed them for ‘safekeeping’.

Here’s a snippet from A Second Chance.

In trying to narrow down what I really wanted to do with my life, I started examining my dreams and goals. When I talked to someone else, I asked them what theirs were. I guess I thought that in seeing what everyone else dreamed of, I’d find a clue to my own ambitions.

I asked my friends about theirs.

Carla wanted to travel. A lot.

Amber wanted to lose weight. And she wanted to meet a wonderful man and fall in love.

Nancy never shared her private dreams. If she had any, she kept them hidden deep within.

Wanda, she just wanted to be famous. Although she professed that her dream was ‘to help others’, she was more transparent than she thought and time soon revealed her true motives.

I asked people that I met around the neighborhood and while out on errands.

The postman, he wanted to win a marathon.

The cashier at the grocery store, her big dream was to complete her bachelor’s degree.

I asked my coworkers at Crafty Hands.

Diane dreamed of finishing her showpiece garden.

Leanne’s dream was to open her own animal shelter.

Jane dreamed of having a successful business – any business – that wasn’t Crafty Hands.

Marvin fooled me. I thought his answer would be a promotion to manager. Nope. His dream was simply to hang on through the next five years and make it to retirement.

Go to Fiji, work at a big cat sanctuary, learn to weave, learn to make soap…every person I asked had something different. Some desires were small and achievable. Some longings were lofty and seemingly unattainable.

Most could only be accomplished after many steps and sometimes a lot of effort. Patience and fortitude would be required before many saw their end result.

A marathon runner doesn’t go from nothing to a five mile run without repetitive practice and work. Every day, or several times a week, the runner is sprinting, gaining endurance, and building their muscles. Hot or cold. Sunshine or rain. The runner practices, practices, practices until the goal is achieved.

No one else’s dreams and goals helped me focus on my innermost desires. But, they pointed out lessons I still needed. Perseverance was a common denominator in most of the goals. Patience was another.

Practice was needed for almost all of them.

Thinking of the inner critic mentioned above, my thoughts traveled to: I should have done this. I should have said this. I should have added this. That dreaded inner critic of mine never shuts up or goes away.

However, this harping pesky critter, so annoying and obnoxious, often bore knowledge I needed to see or learn.

I’m not the best observer of details. I’ve admitted this for a long time. I’ve often joked that I’d be a horrible police witness. If someone asked me to describe a robber, I’d probably say, “Ummmmm…It was a guy. Just your average guy. Hmmmmm…What he was wearing? I don’t remember. T-shirt and jeans? Maybe a ball cap. Glasses? I don’t remember. I didn’t pay that much attention.”

This inner critic sat on my shoulder the other day, yammering away. As if it’s ever gone for long. It’s summer and the weather is beautiful. You’d think it would be off relaxing somewhere, on a tropical beach or someplace. But no! Here it was, hanging out with me, in the back of a huge air-conditioned building where you can’t even see a window or the glorious outdoors, watching me cut fabric. It sprawled across my shoulder, making itself comfortable.

“Psssst,” I heard a soft whisper in my ear.

I ignored it.

“PSSSSTTTT,” it got louder.

I tried swatting it off of my shoulder, to no avail. It can be so persistent, that inner critic.

“HEY!” it screamed at me. I swear, I think it moonlights wearing that tight little red suit, complete with gleaming horns, a pointed tail and pitchfork in hand.

“What do you want?” I answered back. “Can’t you see I’m working here?”

“You’re not very observant,” Ms. IC told me.

“Yeah, so tell me something I don’t know. Go away, I’m busy.”

“You don’t notice details.”

“Okay,” I admitted. “So…I don’t notice details. I’ve never been good about paying attention to little things. There are more important things in this world than seeing what kind of shirts and shoes everyone has on. So, what about it?”

Ms. IC straightened up her shoulders and cleared her throat. “Don’t you see? If you want to be fully aware of life, you need to pay attention to details. It’s the specifics that will add dimension. You can’t go around, cloaked in oblivion, in your own little world.”

Ah, the voice of wisdom. I stopped trying to swat her off my shoulder and stroked the top of her cute little head.

Minor, insignificant details; I need to pay attention to them. I realized that this will take practice. Maybe I should shoot for that marathon instead. No, I’ll keep muddling through with my other efforts. A bruised ego sounds less painful than hurting, aching muscles.

It’s a funny thing about life, I found. It’s odd to see how the lessons build on each other. Or, was it that the more aware I became, the more I saw?

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. suesconsideredtrifles
    Apr 25, 2022 @ 09:46:00

    I enjoyed your story, Trisha. There is much wisdom there.

    Unwrapping #AtoZChallenge

    Reply

  2. Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    Apr 25, 2022 @ 11:09:31

    Sometimes it’s just easier to turn the difficult stuff into fiction 🙂

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: S

    Reply

  3. afshan18
    Apr 25, 2022 @ 13:57:26

    Second chance book sounds wonderful. I will check it. Ur inner conscience looks cool too .. At times being less observant also helps. We would react less for our own good. I totally enjoyed ur post!

    Dropping by from a to z “The Pensive”

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Sue’s A to Z Reflections 2022 #AtoZChallenge | Sue's Trifles
  5. ~ The Operation Awesome Team
    May 04, 2022 @ 06:48:43

    Good post. Interesting to ponder what our biggest dream might be. And yes, it can be easier to write about a hard time in your life by having a fictional character experience it.

    Reply

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