Finding Myself: When I Grow Up?
I've been sick for the last week or so, so I've had lots of time to lay on the couch and ponder my life. Admittedly, when you are sick and miserable and can't do anything about anything, pondering your life is probably not the best idea. However, ponder I did.
I have been feeling like my life is too complicated, too frantic, too messy, too much. I have been talking about this for awhile, reading amazing books like "Simplicity Parenting" and "The Joy of Less" but I'm still struggling with how to make real change. My problem is that the things I *want* to get rid of, I can't, and the things I *can* get rid of, I don't want to. So, I'm stuck, and around and around I go.
I talked with some of my friends, trying to figure it out. They reminded me that while saying no to things can be so hard, that it's important to remember what the point of all this is, anyway. If you are frantic and frazzled and crammed full to the point of mental/spiritual digestive distress because there's just no more room, then *are* you, really, living the life you want to live? Are you being the person you want to be? For yourself? For your family? For your friends?
Maybe for some people the answer is yes, but for me, and I think for many, the answer is emphatically NO.
I had been so caught up in the idea that I was going to miss out on something important or special, that I was going to get left out, caught out, or otherwise shunted to the side that I found myself panicking about saying no to anything and everything. I live in an amazing town with an amazing community. There are already people I love that I would like to spend time with but I can't wedge in. And yet I keep trying to add more.
What is it getting me? Is it bringing me joy, happiness, pleasure, calm, contentment, or anything? NO. It's just making me unhappy, making me cranky, making me stressed. And what good is that? What good am I? Not very, that's for sure, and I know my family agrees.
So, finally, for the first time after paying lip service to the idea of less for years, I finally GET IT. I get it in my gut. More is not making me a better friend, a better wife, a better Mom a better person, a better me. It's definitely not making me happy. So it's time to get real and get rid of things that aren't truly, clearly at the heart of what is important to me.
Oh, but there's the clincher. What exactly is that? What IS important to me, really? What is it, exactly, that I WANT?
Many people have crystal clear visions for their lives. They want to be a lawyer, or a nurse, or a painter, or a gardener. They like this or they want that. They just KNOW. The like what they like and want what they want and it's just that simple.
But me? I don't know. When faced with the question of what it is that I want exactly, I am flummoxed. My life has taken so many detours, and been down so many dead ends, and so many paths driven by others that I don't think I even know what I want anymore. I don't know if I ever knew.
Well, that's not entirely true. I know what I have always wanted, the things that haven't changed since I was young. All I have ever wanted, EVER, is a charming cottage with a garden in the country (or rural village), a loving husband, a pile of books and rambunctious, curious children to go inside. Like my favorite quote says:
To play with my children, educate them, read our books, love my husband, talk to my friends, grow food, celebrate seasons, do our projects, make a home. That's not particularly modern of me, I know, but it's the truth. That's what I've always wanted. ALWAYS. I wanted it when I was little. I want it now.
So. One teeny little problem. There's nothing in there that involves making money, did you notice? I did. That life I'm talking about takes actual, real money to create--I mean, sure, I can stay home and do all those lovely things, but somehow the bills and mortgage and food and everything has to get paid for with real cash money. So, I have to make money, somehow, but without giving up on what is most important to me. I've always said that I would rather be poor in money than poor in love, and that's still true, but there's a practical limit, of course!
I know that people worldwide have all kinds of dreams, and many of them more elemental to basic survival than mine. I recognize that for all of my apparent suffering in this that I am relatively spoiled and really have nothing that I need. Unfortunately, this makes it even harder to come to a place of clarity. Shouldn't I just be happy with what I have? Shouldn't I just "bloom where I am planted"? Doesn't desire lead to suffering? Well, sure, yes to all of that.
But in the end, it doesn't help me. I still don't know what I really want to do, how to make my way in the world. I mean, sure, I have interests. I blog, I dabble at writing fiction, I adore books and everything about them. I am intrigued by painting and art. I love music. And yet, none of those are screaming "moneymaking business" to me. You?
A while back a used bookshop in my town was for sale, and I got very excited about possibly buying it. But being away from home all day isn't going to work with my family. Can you imagine trying to keep a four-year-old engaged in a bookstore all day every day without losing half the inventory in the process? I can't.
Maybe the problem is that I am trying to *think* my way into a solution. I am only human, and I can't see all of the possibilities. If somehow, I could come to a place of accepting, even if it's accepting the unknowing, then I could at least be calm in the flow of life's circumstances. Maybe then the swirl and eddy of the river might bring the perfect bubble floating right to me.
May I a small house and a large garden have; And a few friends, and many books, both true, both wise, and both delightful too. ~Abraham Cowley
Do you know what you want? What you want to be/do/have? Are you doing it?