I had a strange series of dreams last night. It started as I lay awake listening to the baby fuss. As I drifted back to sleep, I was thinking about key choices in my life and somewhere in there I think I drifted off to sleep. In my minds eye, I could clearly see my life like a tree with decisions at each joint and like flashes skipped from end branch to branch until I landed where I am now and I awoke almost shaky from the trip.
I saw myself living in different cities, doing different jobs, sometimes my family was different, sometimes I was different. In one flash, I was teaching in a community college in LA. In another, I stayed home with the kids. In a few, I wasn't married or didn't have kids. One track I was still in Indiana, another I was teaching in Texas, another working at some office building in Boise.
There are three main branching decision points to my life I realized. The first was to go to BYU. A difficult choice - I broke out in hives when I was making it and spent many a sleepless night worrying and debating it internally. At the time, I wanted to get away from all those Mormons and I had a scholarship to Oberlin College. After talking to Dr. Mooney - Looney Mooney my highschool English teacher, who pointed out that it seemed to him that the decision wasn't about schools but about who I wanted to be. Then it was clear.
The second was to go on a mission. Another internal struggle. I fought and cried and didn't want to go. I worried about whether I had the strength of character and belief to be really able and worthy to go. But I felt pushed again. It felt right.
The third was to get married. An easy decision. Scarily easy. I realized tonight that was because my future had shifted the moment I stepped into that first day of Genetics. Somehow the decision was made as I sat down next to Leila and began to talk. I didn't realize I had made any choice other than where to sit down. Because of that moment, I changed majors, got a job in a plant genetics lab, met Leila, started studying with her, hanging out with her. Who I am changed in that second.
At the end of that year, my roommate and best friend, Craig, was engaged to be married on Aug. 13th. I had told my sister, who was also engaged and probably doesn't even remember, not to get married on that date because I wanted to be in Utah for his wedding. So one night, Mom calls me and tells me that Anna is going to be married on the 13th of August. Oh, I was mad. I couldn't believe it.
That night I was out with Leila. I told her I thought she should come home with me, and we would tell my family that Anna couldn't get married on that date because we had secretly been engaged and planning on getting married the same day as Craig too. That would show them.
Leila cocked her head and said, "No, the 20th would work better for me."
The next morning she stopped by as I was packing to go home to visit before I started my internship in Florida and let me know her family felt like the 20th would be a fine date for a wedding.
So it was decided. So it happened. Which was crazy. And ten years have flown by. Four children. A funeral. Moving from Utah to Texas to Indiana to Iowa. As I lay awake thinking about the different visions of possible lives, I realized that none of the alternatives I wanted. They didn't feel right. Just this one.
I guess I will now get off the computer, maybe clean up our messy house, or maybe I will go cross country skiing, maybe I will make Emily breakfast, maybe I will get dressed and go get Leila flowers for Valentine's day. Either way, that decision will probably have impacts I can't understand. But, right now I feel like for some reason I am where I want to be.