Years ago, I sat in a therapist’s office doing an exercise.
On one side of the room was a former, invisible me.
Younger. High-powered. Confident. Funny.
On the other side of the room was a current, visible me.
Older. Mother of young twins. Then married to a man I wasn’t really in a relationship with.
The visible me. The invisible me. We observed both. I liked the invisible one more.
She is the Mary that can never be again. At least in this original, naive form. That Mary slipped off the radar long ago.
I can emulate the appearance of her. Maybe. With more mileage. But not the energy. Or innocence. Too much life has intervened. Too much reality. I know what she doesn’t.
She won’t remain a high-powered executive. It will become empty. She will move on.
She will not be an actress. It required too much focus. She will dabble in it.
Not a newscaster. She missed the audition.
Or a career writer. Of novels. Poetry. Plays. She prefers the small pieces she writes about how she sees life.
The years douse innate drive. Advantages not taken at a time when it all could have been so much easier. But that would have been a life not chosen.
The Mary that will never be is the Mary that could have been, might have been, in a youthful, starry-eyed form. She was, perhaps, unrealistic. Life’s opportunities and her maturity were never in lockstep.
That does not mean that it is over. Perhaps this timing was just her way. The way of a late bloomer. Operating now from a familiar, wieldy mound of experiences she alone has created.
Not the youthful, wide-eyed launch into a new course in life. That time has passed.
Rather the more measured essay on life as lived. A play on what we never seem to talk about. Advice on business long learned. An understanding that friendship is relationship. Bodies soften. Lemon bites taste good.
The Mary that will never be has evolved into this one.
The opportunities now may not be big and noisy and shiny. There will be no parental Greek chorus to hasten you on. But the opportunities will nevertheless be present and real and important.
It is now time to take them.