I am easily amused.
One of the things I do to amuse myself is that I get my horoscope via email every day. What makes reading my horoscope every day into an amusing thing to do is that it is usually wildly inaccurate.
Most days, what my horoscope says has absolutely nothing to do with my life. Sometimes, though, I have the kind of annoying experience of reading a horoscope that is uncannily right on the mark.
Take a look at the first two sentences of today’s horoscope:
You may feel like you are on an adventurous road, and are excited about the frontiers you are pursuing, Dawn. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone is as excited about this path as you are.
I’m sorry to have to say this is as accurate as my horoscope ever gets.
You know that I am incredibly excited about the horizons that have just opened up before me with my acceptance into the graduate program in anthropology at UNC. It would be kind of impossible for me to feel any other way about it. I’ve only been trying to get this part of my life journey up and running for three years now and I even predicted at the end of last year that I would be very much preoccupied with getting into graduate school (or not) and moving south this year.
I applied to graduate schools in the fall of 2013. I did it again in the fall of 2014. And I did it a third time during the fall of 2015. Third time’s the charm. Of course I’m excited about it.
But not everybody around me is equally excited.
For Kimmie, it’s a pretty mixed bag. I know she sincerely is happy for me and is proud of me. At the same time, she hates the thought of moving and anticipates that she is going to be terribly lonely having to leave this place where she has friends and people to hang out with. With the particularly terrible combination of Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, she is unlikely to simply go out and find new friends.
It has taken her most of her life and a certain amount of dumb luck to assemble the few friends she has now. She predicts that she will probably end up semi-agoraphobic and rarely leave the house. I might see what I can do to help there but my power to help her is going to be severely limited. A lot is going to depend on the degree to which she decides to help herself and even then it’ll be indescribably difficult for her.
Hey, I’m not one of those assholes who tells depressed people to just cheer up. I’ve been watching this kid all her life and, believe me, the struggle is real.
So, I feel kind of terrible for her that this wonderful thing that has happened for me is going to simultaneously be a thing that will make her difficult life still more difficult.
As her mother, I can’t help feeling mildly terrible for being selfish enough to do this to her. On the other hand, much as I love all my kids, I am very much aware of the fact that there is more to me — much more — than being their mom. Eventually, they are going to leave. That is as it should be and I am looking forward to watching each of them unfurl their wings and fly free to launch their own lives.
When they’re gone, there will still be me. Graduate school is the way I am preparing to enjoy the rest of my life.
That’s why it mattered to me so much to get in.
The other Virgo in my life is also ambivalent about the prospect of me leaving for parts south. Like Kimmie, Derek is truly happy for me. But it’s been difficult for him to enter into my squirming elation because he knows he can’t go with me, he doesn’t know how long it’s going to take him to get down there to be with me (if he manages to do it at all), and he knows he’s going to miss me.
I’m going to miss him, too, but I know it will be worse for him. After all, I’m leaving to do something I really, really want to do. He is … being left behind, to do things that only marginally interest him because he doesn’t really want to be here either.
And that’s another thing about my good fortune that is bother him. He spent a few years living in Tennessee when he was in his teens and he really liked it there. He’s spent a lot of his life wishing he could get himself back down that way. The fact that I have this opportunity to move myself and my family to a part of the country that he has been longing to return to for the past quarter century has left him feeling more than a twinge of envy.
Of course, the obvious solution to that problem would be for him to make up his mind to get himself down there, no matter what. Will he? I don’t know. And as much as I love him, I’m not going to nag him into anything. If I have to choose between him and my life, then he’s going to lose. To his credit, he knows that and wouldn’t ask it of me.
What all this means for me, though, is that it sometimes makes it hard for me to have my happy dance entirely guilt-free, because this lovely thing that is coming to me is also hurting two of the people in my life who matter the most to me. I guess I should consider myself lucky that the rest of the people in my life who matter most to me are entirely okay with it.
Nothing will stop me from doing this, of course. It would be impossible for me to stop myself from being happy about it. But it would be equally impossible for me to be wholly insensitive to the negatives that exist for some of the people I love.
This is real life, after all. In real life, nothing is perfect.