“Well, I think it’s just wonderful that you are all moving and you know there is more to life than living on M Street.” That’s what Ms. Milly, baby girl’s preschool teacher said when we announced we were moving.
In my mind, I was thinking, um no there really isn’t. My brain could not wrap itself around the concept of letting go. Could not comprehend how she could say that sentence and actually believe it. What could be out there that I had not already experienced and seen? I’d seen plenty of the world- knocked plenty of things off my bucket list. Trips to Paris, Belize, Malaysia, Bali, Singapore, Japan, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Jamaica and throughout the United States. Celebrated my 30th birthday with hang-gliding lessons, went cliff-jumping in Mexico on a college spring break trip, spelunking in caves for my 10 year wedding anniversary.
I had already lived away from the place I grew up- had my 10 years of living in San Francisco to prove it. Beautiful time, enlightening years- working my tail off in corporate advertising for big ad firms, practicing Buddhism- meditating in temple, bar and restaurant-hopping across the Castro and Mission districts, waiting on Market Street for a damn 38 Geary bus to pick me up while waiting in my wool coat and Isotoner gloves at a bus stop while a homeless man urinated in the corner. Had opened myself up to ideas and people living on the fringe, experimented and challenged everything I had been taught to believe in and now it was time to be HOME. Guess in my mind, thought I was done. Just put a fork in me. Walking around for 40 years on this earth, with 3 kids and a husband and a ton of life experiences. Now was the time to settle comfortably into middle life with its helicopter parenting, zanax prescription, house remodeling projects, anxieties, OCD, hold tight to a security blanket that held excel spreadsheet charts, family calendars and plans- everything familiar and known to me. Or so I had thought.
I am a work in progress. I do dare feel and say that I am at a crossroads. It took 5 months of being stripped raw from every item in my security blanket and living a completely different way of life to understanding that yes, indeed – “there is more to life than living on M Street.” I take a breath and I understand it. It is there in all of the unfamiliar faces I see at Target and Schnuck’s- pushing their shopping carts with no understanding or concept of who I am or where I come from. It is the discomfort of not having anything you can hang your hat on or anyone who can vouch that you aren’t a complete freak. It is being able to uncover who you truly are- your locked-away little-girl dreams and values that you thought you knew and what you are not willing to let go of and those which you need to hold onto. It is also asking yourself why am I holding onto them? Should I let them go? If so, which ones?
I’m going through a podcast addiction- specifically to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic podcasts. They are unbelievably enlightening and I can’t stop relating and listening. Specifically, she gives some real tangible action items for women who are stuck at a crossroads in their lives- trying to tap into their creativity and uncovering their beautiful gifts. After listening to most of them here’s where I am at:
- Just create, no matter how bad and god-awful it is. Creativity is a process and everyone needs to begin somewhere. If you don’t begin, you will never grow.
- If you don’t use your gifts, if you deny them, whatever they may be, you will grow into an extremely resentful and bitter person.
So with those little nuggets of wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert- I’m hoping to jump off the diving board in 2016. I am going to write. Maybe join a writing group. Take sewing lessons. Keep reading as many books as I can. Look into a life coach who might help guide me. There’s so much I want to do but I don’t know exactly how to go about it. I am going to create and I am so excited! Would I be in this place if I was living in Los Angeles, on M Street? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. For right now. That’s all that matters. Not what’s 6 months from now.
We had our first snow flurries here a short while ago. I hadn’t experienced such childish joy in a very long time. It was magic for this Cali girl. I didn’t complain about the cold. I didn’t worry about driving in ice. I just put out my hand to feel the tiny pieces of snow as they came down. For 15 minutes that’s all I did.
Thanks Ms. Milly. Although I didn’t understand it at the time, I do now. How right you were.