The Road 9/10/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Yesterday the road was rough, and I was trapped.  Today the road is smooth.

Sounds like a metaphor, doesn’t it?  I am, of course, speaking of the roads that literally go past my corner house.  My neighborhood is in a very old (and rough) part of town.  The hills are nightmarish, the roads are too narrow, and unfortunately were in a severe state of disrepair.  A couple of weeks ago, the city stripped off the old blacktop, leaving rough road even where there were no potholes.  Yesterday, they laid down the new asphalt, and today it’s smooth and easy to drive.

Lately, this has been a metaphor for my life as well.  In 2010, I started a rather difficult marriage, and it feels as if the road of my life has been decaying ever since.  Not that I’m blaming my so-called beloved ex-wife (after all, it was my choice to marry as well), but since then I’ve been divorced, unemployed, living in a house that should have been condemned, lost both parents, been fired from two jobs and lost both a cat and a dog.  My life has just felt unstable, and the road has indeed been filled with hazards and rough traveling. 

You know, I write things like this in my blog (and probably too often) because I want to be open and honest about my life for anybody who feels as if they are going through something similar.  It’s horrible when you’re going through a difficult time and feel like you’re the only one in that situation.  You’re not.  Many of us have been through whatever it is that you are dealing with. 

Right now, the biggest problem with the road I’m on is that I am having a difficult time transitioning from the road I had been traveling.  I took some wrong turns, and that smoothly paved freeway turned into gravel.  But the thing is, even gravel roads are fun.  I once was dating a woman that lived on gravel roads, and I have to admit, I rather enjoyed driving way too fast and hearing the rocks batter the bottom of my vehicle.  I’ll never forget taking it in to have the muffler replaced only to hear the mechanic, very puzzled, explain how there were so many dents in it and not understanding how they got there.  Well, frankly, I was beating it up with thrown rocks. 

Today, I feel like my road is starting to smooth out again.  It’s difficult to accept that I’m retired(ish), but there are so many benefits to having no boss, nobody to please, no schedule, no real obligations.  I can go or do anything I want.  Today, for example, I’m thinking of just taking off for a drive.  No destination, no purpose, or at least no significant one.  I have a friend who asked if anybody has folding tables.  She lives about three hours from me, and I was tempted to drive out to lend her mine.  She didn’t need it desperately, so the quest was about the journey rather than the destination.  I need to remember that.  Right now, I’m on a quest in my personal life, and although I don’t know the final destination, if I just learn to appreciate the road, then I can have fun with it.  That is my quest today.

Music seems like it will be a large part of that quest.  I had my first music lesson a couple of days ago to learn guitar, and I have been taking lessons with a great friend of mine for piano (or keyboard if you prefer).  In my guitar lesson, we touched on power chords.  These power chords are so easy, it’s ridiculous.  I played guitar for decades, but nobody ever taught me power chords.  I’m already multitudes better at guitar than I was after decades of struggle. 

In fact, I have to be careful.  My fingertips hurt every time I press a key in typing this blog because I’ve been overplaying.

Sometimes, the road gets rough.  That’s just life.  As the Taoist symbol Yin and Yang reminds us, each flows into the other.  This newly asphalted road will again turn rough, as it was smooth once before.  But maybe the secret is to enjoy the ride, and try to focus less on the road. 

Ugh, that sounds too much like proverbial “Peter Pan” advice (meaning it sounds good but has no practical value).  Listen, here’s the point.  I struggle.  A lot.  Anybody who reads my blogs knows this and writing my problems out as I do really does help me deal with them.  But while writing about them helps me to cope, at the same time, I’m hoping writing also helps others who have similar struggles.  You’re not alone.  The road gets rocky for everybody.

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