You Are Where

A first in a series of life lessons. “No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai


You are here. This is the starting point. Not only is this the central theme to a great classic 1980’s science fiction film, but it is also the center of my personal philosophy. Nobody else has to live with me, but me. I better know who I am, where I am, and where I want to go. And I better like it.

Who I am

In a college, I got a C in a philosophy class. “You are too pragmatic,” the professor wrote on my final paper. I was supposed to pick a philosophy and defend it, but instead I defended aspects of multiple philosophies.

I spoke to my professor about the grade.

“You’re saying being pragmatic is a bad thing,” I said.

“Yes. The point of philosophy is to stick with one.”

“My philosophy is not to stick with one,” I said. He enjoyed a good philosophical discussion by trade, refused to budge my grade, and hoped to see me in a future class.

“Not if you’re going to give me another C.”

That professor opened my eyes. Ever since then I’ve rationalized the insult of being pragmatic and worn it with pride. It might have earned me a bad grade in college, but it serves me well enough in life and motherhood.

So there I am. Who are you?

Where am I?

I am tired. Cranky. I invented a compound this week. It is difficult to admit secrets that we keep, but sharing where we are in life can be liberating. Here are some of my secrets.

  • I use smiley faces or exclamation points in correspondence when I am irritated.
  • I’m skeptical of smiley faces or exclamation points in other people’s correspondence.
  • I haven’t peed alone in seven years.
  • I turn off the light when I go to the bathroom so the kids don’t know I’m in the toilet. Kids have “mommy-potty-radar.” I lock the door. When they find me, I stay silent to see if they will go away. After two minutes, I let them in and we stare at each other.
  • I adore shape-lifting undergarments. I abhor high-heeled shoes. I’m a push-up bra and loafers kind of woman.
  • I have no problem wearing the same outfit two days in a row.
  • I allow myself the freedom of a good cry every now and then. And a good laugh.
  • I love to change my mind.
  • I want to grow up to be like r. I try to learn from her mistakes. I accept that I have to make different mistakes.
  • My better half is often better than me. I am always prettier than him.
  • I’m not into hugs, but I love it when my kids press their cheeks next to mine.
  • When I have morbid, mean, or angry thoughts, I admit it. I wish my first thought wasn’t that something bad was going to happen. But most of the time it is.
  • My last thought is usually that everything is going to be all right.

Where am I going?  

  • I don’t plan much. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I'd have a kid, let alone four, I would have told you that you were crazy.
  • I want to learn something every day of my life. Even if it’s only a new joke.  (“What did the number 0 say to 8? Nice belt.” And yes, I laughed when a boy on my daughter’s soccer team told me that joke this week.)
  • Right now, I’d rather have quiet than happiness.
  • I want to be my own . I think you should be your own guru.
  • I think of my as the beginning of the New Year. I don’t ever wait to January 1 to start something new. I hate New Year’s resolutions.

Is today the first day of the rest of your life? Where are you going? Maybe it’s the last day of your old life. Maybe your life is just fine, not perfect, but right for you.

Remember, I’m a pragmatist. I’m too practical to make up a single good philosophy. I’ll let you make up your own.

Cynthia L. Armistead November 20, 2011 at 10:17 PM
But pragmatism IS a philosophy, so your professor was wrong! How very narrow minded of him.
Romily Bernard November 21, 2011 at 02:16 AM
Well, as long as we're sharing, one of my personal habits is an utter inability to accept the word "no." Telling me "no" is merely an invitation for me to begin again. One level higher. I like to think it's endearing. Boy Genius would likely disagree.
john penn November 21, 2011 at 03:25 AM
You are weird just like the rest of us; or should I have said OK? Either way....same thing.


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