Turning Points and Amber Benson

An appropriate subtitle for this post might read, “How I connected with Amber Benson late one night without every meeting her once, and why my life is better for my imagined empathy.”

Before I hit the hay last night I scanned my feeds on Facebook. Melissa and I had just finished watching an episode of Rizzoli & Isles. I recognized the plot’s direction after the first few scenes. Either that means the writing was poor or my writing skills were in good shape. Whichever one is true doesn’t really matter. What I believe matters, and I prefer the latter.

So with that positive attitude I stumbled across post by Amber Benson on Tumblr that ported over to Facebook — — where she wrote about repeating patterns of behavior and Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken.

What I took from her post was how any great change in your life starts with your own thoughts and attitudes, and your ability to recognize those turning points and make the most of them.

I’ve come across a handful during my life. There might have been more, but since I didn’t recognize them it’s as if they never happened. When I did, though, I sat down, assessed my life, and decided on my next course.

I don’t know Amber Benson beyond reading her posts in social media, scanning her books, and watching her work in film and television.  Whether I’m correct about the point of her post doesn’t matter. She wrote something, expressing how she felt, and I felt some level of empathy with her emotions, and I realized you don’t need to come across a turning point as much as just change direction when you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s a presumption on my part to mention her and riff off her post, but I’m doing so to illustrate how easy it is to find these new roads.

For example, I had a migraine after work earlier in the day, and I used that as an excuse to avoid the gym, downing a few pain relievers before going to Kroger’s and buying supplies for dinner. While my reasoning was sound, it was only somewhat valid; I knew it was an excuse. Sure, I was spending time with my wife, and that’s always a good thing, worth every moment because we’re friends and we can relax around each other and “be ourselves” without any need for the masks people normally wear out in the world. But the migraine was still an excuse.

My unconscious mind had to be working on these thoughts. Probably because I’ve kicked it into a higher gear with the work I’ve done on the new short story. Different things came together throughout the night until Benson’s post created a gestalt. Seriously, what are the odds that I would have a conversation with my family (in passing) about the value of my existence and come across a scene in Suits where a character quotes Jack Nicholson’s character from As Good As It Gets about wanting to be a better man?

I tried saying some of this last night, attempting to share Benson’s post on Facebook, but a technical glitch wiped out what I wrote. But I didn’t forget the feeling. I didn’t forget the idea that turning points are everywhere.

So I went to the gym this morning, rode 6.3 miles in 30 minutes on a stationary bike while FoxSports aired a rebroadcast of the Tigers-White Sox game from Tuesday night. I wrote this post before starting today’s words on the new short story. If anyone’s reading this, please know the world can be a better place. Just sit down, close your eyes,  assess your life, and change direction.


About stephenwnagy

writer, father, husband. not necessarily in that order.
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