One tile at a time, placed with purpose. Adjusted. Adjusted again. A slight nudge to the right. Move them closer together here and there. There is a goal. A dream. A whisper of a hope that it will all be worth it in the end. And that things will work out.
Placing dominoes. Measuring carefully. To make it happen. My plan.
By the time I am 30, I will have done… I will have been…
In my next job, I will be… I will make…
By the time I’m 45, I will have… I will know…
I placed my dominoes precisely. I believed. I believed in carefully laid plans. Dominoes that would fall the way they should. All lined up, ready, in perfect rows that formed a precise, exquisite pattern. I believed the preparation and hard work would bring about desired results. And the future would be different, very different, from the past.
When I hit 30, I still hadn’t done. I still hadn’t been.
My next job wasn’t. I still don’t know. I never have made. And I don’t have.
The first domino fell. The next two dropped as planned. I survived. I escaped.
But the fourth one…it didn’t go so well. Healing from the devastating abuse of my childhood didn’t happen. Which meant the fifth didn’t work out as planned either. It fell in the wrong direction altogether. Finding love? Not in the dominoes.
By then, all the frantic adjustments in the world couldn’t save me. Couldn’t turn things around. Dominoes falling all over the place. The design forever ruined. The plan in shambles.
Once the first domino fell, the second, the third, once they missed the next planned target, failing to knock down critical tiles, skipping key turns, it was over. Before it began. Everything fell apart. No order. Doomed before the first tile tipped and dropped, in spite of how meticulously they had been laid out.
I tried to change the pattern that was set in motion when I was born into a family led by parents who were mentally ill, narcissistic and abusive. I tried. But the pattern couldn’t be broken. It couldn’t be altered. The dominoes fell and collapsed and crashed in chaotic frenzy.
Dominoes. Scattered everywhere. Strewn across the floor. The pattern ruined. Wrecked. Nothing to do but start over. And it’s too late to start over.
Dreams. Lost and shattered. In shambles, laying at my feet. Destroyed.
Out of options.
The thing about life…you only get one chance. If you crash and burn, if the dominoes don’t fall the way you expected, the way you need them to fall, there are no do-overs. What’s done is done.
I stand, defeated, and view the ruins. There is nothing left to do. This mess is all that remains of my labor. Of my hopes. Random dominoes without meaning. Life without meaning. What was set in motion at birth could not be changed. Chaos prevailed. As tends to happen when something goes awry the moment the first domino tilts, wobbles and erratically falls.