Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trains I Missed

Having just celebrated another birthday and knowing I'm in the autumn of my life it's easy to keep looking back to see where I've been. At the same time there's a realization that I have less years ahead of me than behind me.

The song playing is called Trains I Missed by Walt Wilkins. It's been playing in the background of a couple of recent posts. When I first heard it I fell in love with it. If you listen closely it's not really about missing trains per se but the opportunities that we may or may not have chosen that brings us to where we are in life. It tells in metaphorical terms life is what you make it and how the redeeming features of wasted opportunities and regret can influence your character and yet you find yourself right where you ought to be.

In the first stanza he talks of loves lost, bridges burned, and roads not taken. Aren't those things we invariably look back on and wonder? You know, what if I'd kept dating Johnny or Joey or Jimmy (names changed to protect the innocent). Life would have been so much different indeed and really you do have to kiss a few frogs to find the prince don't you? What if I'd kept in contact with others and not forsaken their friendships? I can answer that one. They weren't good for me and I was right to burn those bridges. It's true some are regrettable but one has to do what's best for oneself. The hardest choices to reconcile are the roads not taken. There was that after high school graduation drive across country that a girlfriend and I dreamt of doing, the invitation to sing in a college Christmas Cantata and years later in a theatre group, and the steamy romance novel that never got written and published.

We all look back on life and wonder how it would have been different in other circumstances. Sure, there's hurt and regrets but when we really get down to it it is those choices we didn't make that bring us to where we are and right where we're supposed to be.

"It's a big old world but I've found my way
And the hell and the hurt lead me straight to it
Here's to the trains I missed."

(I've posted a side view of the caboose on Carletta's Captures.)

14 comments:

Neal said...

I've always liked trains. Like I've said before we walked the railroad to school every day and when a train would come by we would pepper it with rocks. We were always careful not to hit the engine or caboose. :)

George Townboy said...

Guess what I'll be thinking about all day.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Interesting post, Carletta. I can also so say there are trains I should have missed!!
But as you say, it has brought me to where I am today. And for the most part, I am happy with that.

George said...

A very interesting and thought-provoking post. Just remember that autumn is a beautiful time of the year.

Dr.John said...

Beautiful picture I love cabooses.
I have always wanted to go to Finland and a long time ago I could have gone with my Aunt Ida when the Lutheran World Federation met in Helsinki. Instead I chose to get married. I don't think I'll ever get to Finland but the marriage has been great.

JunieRose2005 said...

Carletta,

This was a very interesting post and an area of thought I have visited often. I have written a few poems on our time passing and changes in our lives as we get older. ("Time", found on my poetry site, is one of them)

I think this is not unusual as we get older, to look back an examine what our life has been; exactly what led us to where we are today.

Junie

Melli said...

That is a lot of beautiful RED!

I LOVE this post! It is true. I don't have too many regrets in my life about the choices I made. A few... But mostly I think God used it all to His good and I AM right where He wants me!

It's good to reflect though. We learn from reflection.

Gattina said...

It's a nice red train ! You sound as if you have a little blues. I don't look back I only remember the nice things I look forward there are still so nice things to come !

judi said...

from Erickson's Stages of Development.
Conflict: Ego Integrity vs Despair
This is when we begin to reflect on our lives, accepting it for what it was. If we have done well in previous stages, especially stage seven, we can feel a sense of fulfillment and accept death as an unavoidable reality with dignity. If we haven’t done well, we can be filled with regret, despair over the time running out and fear of death. Sounds like you did well in stage seven.
Welcome aboard, :)

quilly said...

I once made a very hard, life changing decision based on the knowledge that if it didn't work out, my would break. However, no attempt at all would cause me to forever wonder, and that seemed worse. I decided a broken heart heals a lot faster than regrets over what could have been.

So I spoke those, "I love you" words to someone who did not love me in return, and even though my heart was broken, I still believe I made the right choice. I never wonder where my relationship with him might have been if only ....

Rose said...

I hadn't heard the song, but I like it. I think what I think about most is not what if I had made different choices, so much as the things I didn't do that I wanted to.

juliana said...

this is a wonderful musing. ah, the roads we did not take!
great photo, too.

♥peachkins♥ said...

I like trains.I've been thinking about letting my daughter ride one for the first time with my hubby and me. I bet she'll love it..

thanks for visiting...

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Well, if you'd chosen differently you probably wouldn't be where you are now. I suspect you caught a few trains going in the right direction. ;-)