‘Time may change me / but I can’t trace time’

So for the past 21 days, National Novel Writing Month has been consuming my brain. I am 34,000 words into my 50,000 word goal. As I write this my mind is really on a scene between Ryan and Erykah, two of my characters, and I’m trying to mediate their torn hearts.

I have surprisingly been able to keep up with the blog during all of this time – mostly because I appreciate the diversion from the book at times, and because, believe it or not, I do actually have other things going on in my life (well, a few. OK, one or two.)

This morning I was stumped, though … what to blog about. I consulted my friend Michael, who gave me the topic: “Ch-ch-changes.”

So here we are … let’s talk about change. (OK, so now I’m thinking South Park; time to get serious, Melissa.)

Change is something that has never been easy for me. When it’s big change, at times I recognize it’s going to be scary and difficult:  life-changing stuff typically is. Graduating from school, changing careers, changing of family (marriage or divorce, kids, even pets!).

But there’s a type of change none of us are ever prepared for: and that’s when our lives change due to someone else’s choices. That can be the most trying of life experiences, as we don’t always have a choice but to be affected by their decisions.

– Case in point: When my Dad moved us from my hometown to a city 3 hours away JUNIOR YEAR of high school.
– Case in point: When Brian decided to cheat on me.
– Case in point: When my friend Ronnie decided to fall in love with a girl in a different time zone, and moved to be with her (leaving me here without him).
– Case in point: When Chris moved from Columbia to Athens for a job, putting him 3.5 hours from me rather than 1.5.

I could go on and on and on … the point is, none of these choices were mine, but all affected me in a huge way.

However, as David Bowie croons, “Where’s your shame / You’ve left us up to our necks in it / Time may change me / But you can’t trace time”

At the time I was so blinded by the negative in these situations, not realizing the positive was yet to come … at times years later.

– I made a ton of friends in my new home in the Lowcountry of S.C., and our moving certainly made going off to college not so daunting.
– Years later Brian has come back to me with regrets (Where would we be now if we hadn’t ended things?) and I am standing strong with the absolute knowledge that we are way better friends than we ever would have been partners.
– Because Ronnie fell in love, I lost my drinking buddy but I have a sweet place to stay, one block from the ocean, in Shell Beach, California.
– 3.5 hours is still not too far, and Athens is a much better place to visit than Columbia. (Not sure I could ever spend an entire week in Columbia …)

Of course patience has never been my strong suit, so if you are my friend and you see me struggling through something, all I can ask is that you be strong when I am weak. In turn, I promise to always carry you when your knees buckle out from under you because someone else’s change is weighing on your shoulders.

Change is never easy, but life is never as difficult when you have a friend (or two).