As a child, I don’t remember worrying whether I was good enough to be a writer. I scribbled furiously though pages of notebooks – constantly jotting down ideas and reworking poems. Instinctually I knew that writing wasn’t just about getting the words down, but about finding the right ones. I was always working to make my words keener, sharper, more truthful. And I was always observing life. The world was a fascinating and sometimes terrifying place that I yearned to understand.
I was finding my voice.
I seemed to feel things more deeply than most people. I’m still not sure that’s a good thing, but writing has always given me a way to make sense of it all. It allowed me absorb my own personal truth and let go of everyone else’s.
But somehow along the way I stopped really observing and thinking about things. I got caught up in other people’s truths and my insights lost their magic. My words felt flat and childish. I stopped writing and I stopped listening to my inner voice. Then I stopped hearing it all together.
I was also once an athlete. Not the strongest or the fastest, but I was pretty agile and very tough. I lived by the motto work hard, play hard. In my early 20s I learned that I was getting too old to play sports. Now that I’m almost 40 I realize how absurd that sounds but at the time I felt like 22 years old was ancient. I didn’t mind the bruises as much as the looks people gave me. It’s hard to pull off a little black dress when your shins are covered in bruises.
So I kept active with yoga. I loved the humble fierceness of the poses. It was simple and complicated at once. And again it was the only time when everyone else’s voices seemed to stop long enough for me to get a glimmer of my own. I studied Hindu philosophy and traveled to India.
As a young woman I saw the world. I spent years observing cultures that are so different from life in the United States that the word foreign doesn’t do it justice. It was mind blowing – just taking in all of the wondrous ways life can be lived.
Over the last few years, when someone asked me about myself, I found my answers relating to one of these things I used to be. Oh, I’m a writer, or yogi or a traveler. And then I realized that I can no longer claim to be any of these things. If the qualification for being something is related to the time spent actually doing it, then I can only say that I’m a housewife and a mother. Nearly every activity I engage in each day can be whittled down to being a housewife and a mother.
So in the past year I made some changes. Small ones, but then again how else are changes made? I started this blog. I took my kids on a trip outside the country and I started checking out the yoga studios in my area.
The solutions I found aren’t idealistic but they are realistic.
So my question to you is this. How are you living the life that you want? What sacrifices are you willing to make to live the one and only life you have?