Apr 22

Alternate Lives

Alternative Lives

Alternative Lives

What am I doing in my alternate lives?

I’m a ballet dancer. I have the naturally thin build and the determination to perfect. I love classical music, although I know ballet doesn’t always have to be classic. I like the idea of having a strong body and moving beautifully.

I’m a gymnast. When I was a little girl, we had an old mattress in the backyard. My friends, sisters, and I would take turns lining up and then doing made-up tricks onto the mattress. I remember the feeling of flying as I flipped and twisted and landed safely. I’m afraid of heights, but I think I would love that exhilarating feeling of defying gravity at even higher altitudes.

I’m a carny. I travel the country with a half-rate carnival that arrives and sets up in the middle of the night and opens for business the following. I sit in my booth and take tickets from the kids who have waited in line forever, or so it seems to them, and now they excitedly shove the pieces of paper into my hand so I’ll let them run around and choose the car with the flames on the sides or is their favorite color. The day before we leave, after the equipment is broken down and packed away, I slip away to do some local sight-seeing.

I’m a park ranger. I live in a cabin at the campground. I put on a program for visiting children teaching them how to identify plants and animals during the day and campfire songs at night. Sometimes, I go on patrol, alone in the woods, to make sure everything is going fine.

I’m a lifeguard. I sit on the tower at the beach, overlooking the swimmers frolicking in the water. I take note of the current and look out for rip tides. I watch for sharks. When I see the signs of someone struggling, I race down the stairs and out into the water, my buoy floating behind me. I help the little girl to safety, her parents waiting on the shore to take her into their arms. I bask in their praise like I bask in the sun every day.

I’m a marine biologist. I travel the world’s oceans charting the habits of killer whales and great white sharks. I study coral reefs. Every now and then, I discover a new species of fish.

I’m a psychologist. I sit with people and listen to their stories. I reassure them that what they are feeling is just emotion, and emotion can’t kill you. I change their lives.

I’m a cowboy. I get on my horse and ride the perimeter of the fence, checking for weak spots. I watch out for rustlers. I drive my cattle to pasture in the spring and back home in the fall. I rope the new calves for branding.

I’m a super model. In my alternative world, I gender bend and defy ageism. At 51, I walk the catwalk in a long, elegant gown, in a short romper, in a smart pantsuit.

I’m an astronomer. I watch the stars and follow their patterns. I can identify all the constellations. I’m the first to know when a comet is veering a little too close to earth. I think that an asteroid shower makes for a good date. I plan on partnering with Stephen Hawking to discover alien life forms in space.


From The Artist’s Way, tasks week 2 and 3. If you had another life to lead, what would you do?

Share your thoughts.

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