I want to hike the Appalachian Trail and sleep outside for weeks… alone.
I want to join the Peace Corps and end up in some far off land for a couple of years… alone.
I want to camp underneath the redwoods in California and not take a bath and not wash my hair and walk around in dirty clothes and eat cold beans out of a can… alone.
I want to sit on a blanket in the middle of nowhere until a light bulb of recognition turns on in my head and I jump to my feet and howl with the wolves and right then, in that moment, I know… it becomes clear.
I want to do all those things so I can discover who I should be, what I believe, who I can be… who I am.
But I can’t.
I can’t because I have kids and a career and a mortgage and a car payment and I have people who would think I was crazy. But, I’m not — I’m just 43 and finding myself.
So… what are my options?
How do we, as mothers and business leaders and teachers and people with our sanity, ensure that we keep our sanity in the quest to sort it all out?
A weekend excursion without the kids?
A five-mile run everyday while you listen to your favorite audio book?
The options for those of us who have passed the point of doing all of our soul-searching before we “settle down and have kids” aren’t as limited as they seem. We just have to be more creative with our time, more willing to parcel out our existential outings into shortened day trips or weekends away — or even a few hours locked away in our room to sweat it out with yoga.
To be stuck in a reality where you believe you are out of options is the most important battle you need to fight — stop believing, “this is it”.
A gray hair pops up and we panic, the pair of shorts that seemed loose last summer seems a bit snug now — I drive a Kia instead of a Land Rover. One glass of wine works like sodium pentathol. The waiter calls me ma’am. I can barely stay awake for the 10 o’clock news. Life has happened. But, I’m searching.
Searching for the me that I know I am. The me that tries to hide behind all the bullshit of life. The me that we all are, the business leaders and teachers and bus drivers and hair stylists and doctors and lawyers — the mothers. My searching is constant… my trying to be a better person is constant… my looking at myself is constant. Those times when I need to find myself somewhere at the edge of the ocean in California take a bit more planning these days — but, they still take place.
I can go on life-altering soul-searching journeys and still have my kids to school on Monday morning… as long as I set my alarm. I can sleep in the middle of the woods eating nothing but granola under the stars at night… I just have to stop at the vegan deli on my way out of town.
Possibly, my soul-searching might need to take place in Vegas… a different kind of wild lives there.
I can even post pictures on Facebook to prove it’s possible to find yourself… one weekend at a time. I can tweet my run-ins with wolves and coyotes and snakes and poison ivy. I can blog about all the possibilities and where I know they will take me — take us all who are still searching, still unraveling the mystery.
My life is just beginning to unfold. My self-actualizing-soul-searching is at its height. I am poised and ready to live among the creatures of the night… for a weekend at least.
My life is just beginning… this is going to be fun.
I’m 43 and finding myself.