Life, it's one of those things, you know, best laid plans and all that. You make your plans when you are young choose a college, a major, meet a future spouse. On it goes. Mostly according to plan. You travel, move to the city of your dreams, have babies. It's working out great. There are some bumps. A family member takes sick and passes on despite the prayers, despite the love. Another takes his own life, inexplicably. You weather the storm, the questions never really answered but fond memories remain.
Then one day a bump comes into your own life, a shift you hadn't anticipated, a change you are not welcoming. And the roller coaster begins, all you can do is decide to hold tight, make sure your lap belt is snug and try to find the emergency brake. Of course, the emergency brake is in the station and you are still careening around the track. You call for help, help arrives but still you must make new choices, set a new course while racing along in and out of tunnels, over hills and through breath-taking curves.
Finally, one day, your new choices made the roller coaster slows to a more manageable speed. You are changed, different, never really to be the same again but this new self is humming along okay on this new track. The new track turns out to be better than you could have guessed, closer to the person you really want to be now, twenty-five years after that young girl chose that now inexplicable major. Life is better, now, for the topsy-turvy ride. Who knew?
"Comfort Food" by Kate Jacobs is the story of just such a crazy ride in the lives of characters living what they think is their dream. Things change, people change and while it is happening the characters cannot see the good that may come from the changes. Still, good things come and life is richer for them. As Oliver says late in the book, "Life isn't a straightforward climb up the ladder." . . . "It can take a few slips to really gain perspective."
My life has been like that in the recent past. My husband's business hit a rough patch, my mother-in-law passed unexpectedly all while I grappled with trying to find a meaningful life now that my kids were in school. But in the last eight months things have come together for me in ways I could never have anticipated. I'm a partner now in my husband's business. I'm writing scripts and shooting pilots, I'm helping develop websites and diligently working on my own novel. Only the novel has been a twenty-year dream. All the rest is the bonus of life and it's lemons. Who knew?
Many thanks to the SVMoms group for such a comforting book club choice.