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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

Field of dreams

Ramón and I took a two-week RV trip in 2018. We'd talked about doing it since we got married, so it was our belated honeymoon in a sense. We set off with our three dogs and our Fun Schedule — the itinerary Ramón devised (and named) to keep our trip on track.

Needless to say, it didn't stay on track. We decided to show off when we got to Cedar Falls, Iowa to visit our friends, Elaine and Bill. The RV had a retractable awning with speakers, prime for sitting in the shade while listening to tunes. We excitedly pressed the button, and the awning came out in all its glory. Then we promptly forgot about it.

Pro tip: Don't drive with the awning in the "out" position.

Our mishap felt like an absolute disaster at the time.

But thankfully it happened in a place where we knew people rather than in the middle of nowhere. We — two humans, three dogs — moved into Elaine and Bill’s house while the RV was in the shop (not getting fixed, but that’s another story). The extra time in Iowa meant we got to experience many of Elaine and Bill’s favorite places.

One night we sat on the bleachers and cheered for Bill's slow-pitch softball team, the Swingin’ Dingers. And, as we watched the colors change in the Midwest sky, I took one of my all-time favorite photos of Ramón.

I visited Cedar Falls again a few weeks ago. Although Bill was out of town, Elaine and I went to watch his softball team play. On the way to the field, we stopped by the liquor store to pick up some beverages for the players and fans. At the checkout, I turned to Elaine.

“We should do a shot for Ramón at the game!”

So I added a tiny bottle of Patron to our basket. And I sat in the exact same spot on the bleachers as we toasted Ramón. It brought me so much joy to be back in a place where we created such wonderful memories.

This got me thinking a lot about perspective — about the narratives we let permeate our lives. Losing Ramón was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve experienced. And though I didn’t consciously choose how I was going to handle it when it happened, I’m faced with the decision time and time again.

One option is to adopt the woe-is-me narrative and become the forever widow whose life is an amalgamation of sadness and grief and what ifs. Another option is to accept that, though a very sad thing happened in my life, I’m still free to seek all the goodness each day has to offer.

What happened in the past is a matter of fact. The narrative I hold onto is my own doing — and I can change it at any point.

Though my example pertains to widowhood (shocking, I know), our lives are wrought with these narratives.

There are other beliefs I’m trying to shake after holding onto them for a long time. I labeled myself a procrastinator back in middle or high school, and I often catch myself waiting until crunch time just because “it’s who I am.” At some point in adulthood, I decided I was lazy, and I still struggle with that thought no matter how productive I am on a given day; I harp on what I didn’t do.

But I’m working to change my mindset.

Not all narratives are destructive, but we tend to cling to the ones that are.

It’s time to ditch the narratives that hold us back and embrace the stories that propel us forward.

1 Comment

Jun 09, 2023

As always…fabulous!

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