Chutes and Ladders with the Old Man

“You can’t have it all.”
We’ve all heard this cliche.  It’s disappointing.  It’s resignation.
It’s also not true.
Here’s how I know: because of my dad.
A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, my dad was visiting.  Thomas Joseph Alef (the old man) is a pretty intuitive guy.  And accessible.  Anything at anytime!
Which makes for an intuitive, accessible father–duh.
He knew something was up.  He could tell by my affect, my face, my persona, my lack of spirit, my dispirit.
Our eyes conversed:
What is “happy”?  Are any of us “happy”?  Isn’t it shallow to want that?  
Or maybe, like in the movie “Waitress” with Keri Russell, we are okay when we are happy enough.
I digress.  I’m chuting.  Give me a second (or a year, or two, or three) to climb my way back around.
My dad pointed to the “100” on the board, looked at me poignantly, and said, “Meg, it’s a long life.  You’re only in your 30’s.”  Then his fingertip traced every year up from 30 to 100.
I remember that moment: it could’ve been a chute.  It could’ve been a ladder.
A plateau was not an option.  I couldn’t stay so stagnant.
I looked at the numbers from 1-30: back to my childhood, memories of friends, sleepovers, sports, siblings, holidays, fights, good times and bad times and ugly times. And more good times.
I looked at numbers 35-100…what next? Either choice I made would have both chutes and ladders.
Life is life because of all that unfolds in front of us–if we’re lucky enough to live that long.
We can have it all, just not at the same time. 
And that’s a good thing because my mom used to tell me that it’s better to spread out our fun anyway.
Aw, chute.


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