When I was a kid, teachers told me that I would be a star. They based their predictions on how easy school was for me. I took their words to heart and assumed that I would do something grand someday, certainly before the age of forty-six. A child's mental calculus doesn't even approach forty-six.
I've done nothing grand. And looking back I wonder whether those teachers were in fact fools, if well-intentioned fools. It takes more to shine than having a talent in a particular area. It takes will, and determination, and self-confidence. I have none of these.
I will not attend my 25th college reunion in the spring. I do not write snippets to be featured in my university's alumni magazine. I joke about this, as if I'm too cool to participate in so much self-congratulatory bullshit. But really, I have nothing to say. I could go on and on about my kids, and their successes, and I might even admit that I had some small thing to do with those successes. But their stories would be serving as a cover for mine, which might go something like this:
Still in same small town. Still writing, not much to show for it. Aging, expanding waistline, mother to teenagers who are now quite self-sufficient, thank you very much. Still not much of a cook. Still reading voraciously, an effective escape from day after ordinary day.
Still... waiting. For something to happen. For that thing or person to take me up and out of my stagnant life. Still haven't figured out how to be the agent of change.
Still frightened of risk, of airplane travel, of three am, of snakes, of being alone with my thoughts for too long, of saying or doing the wrong thing. Still cautious. Still half-expecting to be exposed as the fraud that I've always believed myself to be.
Forty-six years old. More than half my life gone, poof, insubstantial as smoke.
For my forty-sixth birthday I might just wish for a swift kick in my forty-six-year-old rear.