Once in a lifetime

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

This was the song that was playing in my head as I ascended the Dupont Circle South Metro escalator this morning, on the way to work at my client’s office. It occurred to me that 19 years ago to the day, the 22-year-old me rode this same escalator for the very first time on my way to my first post-college job, commencing the First Day of the Rest Of My Life.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the moneys gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Twenty-two year old me quickly took root in the heart of the city, trying so hard to live a different life than that of my first two decades. Not because it was bad, or because I didn’t like it – but because it was different, and I just wanted to try something else. And, I wanted to prove myself, prove that I could do it. And how does a farm girl prove herself? She moves into the heart of the city, that’s how, and she figures it out all on her own.

And I thrived. I loved it.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

I make my living as a human resources professional, and today I conducted an exit interview for a young woman who was full of frustration and bitterness as she was leaving her second post-college job. I saw so much of my past in her tears. Why don’t they respect me? I’m a professional; why don’t they treat me as one?

Oh, honey, I counseled. It’s a journey. One day, when you have set your anger aside, you will realize that you have learned a lot in your time here. Trust me. One day, you will understand.

Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…

In January 1990, I was a public transportation girl who had no need for a car. Forty-one-year-old me now drives that large automobile, complete with a toddler car seat strapped into the back, and it was this vehicle I was driving on my way to pick up my 12 year old son this afternoon so that I could shuttle him to the physical therapy that is still necessary – and will be for years to come.

And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

I don’t so much ask myself “how did I get here” because I very much wanted to be HERE. I got here mostly by following the textbook. Graduated from college, moved to the city, met and married a Nice Boy with whom I had much in common, fled the city and bought a house in the suburbs,  had a couple of kids, got promoted, traded up to larger vehicles – you know the story.  For sure, there have been some unexpected detours, a few bumps in the road, but by and large, I feel as if I am where I am supposed to be.

If you had asked me 19 years ago where I would be as I entered my fifth decade, chances are, I would have predicted something very similar to my current reality. However, I would not have expected to perceive the speed with which the years seem to have flown by.  Every time I ride up that escalator, I am transported back to 1990, if only for a couple of minutes. I am wistful for my youth, but comfortable in my own skin. I am content with all that I have, thankful for my many blessings, and eager to see just how it all turns out.

19 thoughts on “Once in a lifetime

  1. wow. i loved this. LOVED it. it speaks to me on so many levels and in so many ways. plus, i once went to the hot dog shack where David Byrne worked (while a student) and so, you know, i feel like he and me are one.

  2. My favorite lyric is at the very very end (it’s cut off on this video) when David Byrne says “there’s a twister coming….here comes the twister!” Ya gotta listen closely to hear it. He answers his own question of “Well how did I get here” and his answer is, every time you think you got the latest version of life you life down, something is going to come along and turn everything upside down and mess it all up. GREAT song Soup, you know how I love this one! (PS You did quite well for a farm girl, present company excluded!)

  3. Ms Pickett – thanks! That song has always been a favorite of mine, even back in the day, and even more so as I age.

    Curt – I know you do!

    Snay – I’m afraid you are in good company. I hope you are able to convey your feelings to your employer so that they have a chance to do right by you… or, to vote with your feet, and find a place that does value you.

    Rachael – thanks!

  4. wow, i love it miss meg. this is a favorite song of mine, too and to me it speaks to riding a train cross-country to a high school summer internship/camp experience as young journalist about to be a college girl me. I still remember her and feel her sometimes and other times I wonder if we’re related.

    I like what others have said about looking forward and looking back at once. your children and your hr “subjects” are lucky to have ya.

  5. Thanks Wash! – You were reading as I was editing. I revised a couple of things; can’t leave well enough alone. Is 30,000 hits a lot? Huh, that’s pretty awesome then I guess! I had a TON of hits the other day, overwhelmingly to my first Rick Springfield post, and I couldn’t figure out if it was some freak attack or maybe it was his birthday or something, because it was OBSCENE. Smashed my daily hits record.

    I’m glad to know you’re there reading – we started our blogs at around the same time and I am so happy I did. If we could just convince Suz to join in the madness…

  6. Are you sure we’re not identical twins, only one of us (me) gets Harry Connick in the end?

    Love the song. Know the job (HR). Rode the escalators. Conducted exit interviews.

    Watch incredulously as time goes by faster than the planes taking off at Langley Field.

    p.s. I could write an entire book on the Talking Heads concert I attended back in the ’80’s. It ought to be included in the warning pages of every college student’s Welcome to No Parents Guide.

  7. CBW – thanks! I never saw the T Heads in concert but they are very much a part of the soundtrack of my early DC days.

    Kimberly – right back atcha. Xo

  8. yes, you will always be my blog sole sister. I blame my lesser hit ratio though on my blogabbitical (still my fault of course, but my competitive streak feels way too walloped!)

    really great post and you have quite the following now!!! yayyy soupie meg!

    as for suz, stay tuned, there may be a germ bag revival in the works!!!

  9. Awesome post. I love how some music sometimes just hits the right “life-frequency” and puts a smile on your face. Even something you’ve heard 10,000 times before – like this song – the time and place and situation can make it seem like you’re listening to it for the very first time. That’s real art, and how it becomes part of who you are.

    1. bets – why thanky!
      Wash – No competition, girl, the blog thing is different for everyone. We have different audiences. But you were one of my first encouragers, and for that I am grateful.

      Scott – it goes without saying that 1/29 was probably the day we met, too. You probably gave me the password to my low-on-the-totem pole 386 PC and explained why I didn’t rate arms on my chair, and helped me understand that Sheree didn’t really hate me after all. So, um, happy friend-iversary!

  10. Charlcie – *blushing some more* thanks!!

    Lisa – I know, Harry and Rene Z? I’m not seeing it. BUT I will watch the movie just to see HARRY!

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