I should have known that knowing was overrated, or at least that’s how I feel now. The years of knowing, or thinking I knew, the lectures to my kids, the endless haranguing of my now ex-husband, the loop inside my head. I always needed to have it all figured out; not just for me, but for everyone else as well. Every aspect of life, well organized, in it’s proper place, well understood, safe.
So it surprised me this morning when, right outside of Janesville Illinois, I made a decision to take a detour to Madison Wisconsin, on my way to Minneapolis. There I was, shooting by the impossibly straight, shiny cornstalks, beating my time, daydreaming about an early glass of Chardonnay at the end of a long drive. And suddenly……Madison, Wisconsin.
When I was 23, a graduate student at the University of Essex in England, I had my Ph.D applications in my bag. And one of them was for the University of Wisconsin. I’d just met Rupert, had that electric connection, in love, moved in, getting married, moving to the U.S., starting my married life. I fell into an endless swirling of a life seemingly well-created, and never remembered the University of Wisconsin, maybe wistfully, every once in a while, until today, 28 years later.
So I decided to check the town out, today, leaving Chicago, on my way to Minneapolis. I detoured right to see if the vibe that I felt at 23 might still be alive at 51. Such is the gift of following my gut on a cross country tour full of unfathomable transformation.
And even though I’m not the same person that I was at 23, I still felt a lot of affection for Madison. In fact, I found it quite beautiful; the dome of the State House looming high above the outskirts of the University, the dozens of coffee houses, the endless manicured buildings, the barista who foamed the milk for my cappuccino and told me it was the best town she has ever lived in, enticing me to believe that the choice that I had made almost three decades ago, especially considering the outcome, might be one that I should regret.
I had that moment, for a moment, but I let it go. I believe I went to Madison to reinforce the light within me now; the whirling dervish choices that are compelling me forward, toward a life that I believe in, and a me that has been honed and prepped and coaxed into being as a result of the choice I made 28 years ago and the life I have lived ever since. The Spirit of me beckoning me forward toward a life I would have never ever fathomed into knowing. As the knowing that I knew had nothing ever to do with the impulses of my heart.
I filled my car up with gas as I was leaving town; signaled left, finally, because that’s the direction I was always meant to be going in, following the flow of my next destination, happy, at peace, free, not needing to know what come’s next.