Just a personal sharing from a difficult space that I'll leave here.
I've spent so much time crafting a life. But now pieces of it, great and small have changed, some have grown into new things and others have fallen away and I look at it and it's so strange to me. I recognize it still. It's familiar in the way you recognize landmarks from your hometown but the hometown is otherwise unrecognizable. It has all the same players, all the same love and everyone else seems completely unaware that everything is different.
I feel a bit like the Pevensie children. As if for 25 years I've been on an incredible magical journey through a wardrobe and now without meaning to I have landed myself right back where I began and life is plain and ordinary. How can that be, I'm not her?
They remember the adventure just as I do, as the most wonderful of times, but they seem to be adjusting just fine to the new normal. They run towards it. Not me. "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming, I'll get there."
I know the healthy perspective is one where I look with excitement toward the future and new adventures and place the past in it's proper perspective. I get it. I could give the appropriate advice to someone saying this and yet that same advice hits a wall and splats unceremoniously to the ground when I try it on my own thoughts.
Our life as a family, homeschooling, traveling and raising children was the very best season of my life. So much better than my childhood, infinitely better than high school and teen years. It was so good, so very good. Reaching a new season, a new chapter whatever you want to call it, has me feeling like, "but why does it have to end?" The minivan mom, going three different directions with supper in the crock pot was the best, but I have to admit now, I'm not her anymore.
Why does it have to end? I get biology. People grow up. It's not a literal question but a philosophical one, and emotional one and it begs the follow up question, what now?
People say it's my time now, but it's not. It's the weirdest of stages. It's not my time at all. I can't do whatever I want yet. I'm needed as much or more as I ever was before, with one married kiddo, one wedding to plan and teenager. It's all the work without the magic of sleeping babies in my arms. It's all the long days without snuggling with a toddler for a nap. It's learning and working without the magnificent discoveries of learning to tie a shoe, or read, or add. It's all work and no play. There is still great joy in this time but it's spaced so differently. It's fleeting and I can't hold it in my hands anymore.
I'm having no small identity crisis I do not mind telling you. Before some feminist interjects that I need a job <rolling my eyes>. I have them, and always have. I have started and operated businesses for years working from home while I raised my family. I have worked and earned and I've always, only done work I was passionate about so step off that argument, it ain't that. Work is never, could never be fulfilling enough, it could never compare to being with those little people all day. It could never compare to the bliss I found in the work of my heart. Sure, I run a wonderful business now alongside my daughter, which I love and that helps believe me, and it's work I enjoy and yet, as I turn in at night something is still missing.
So how do I fill up this time, how do I figure out who this version of me is now? Where do I find her?
Writing is something I love but I've always written about my life as mother, homeschooler, housewife. What is my story now? Do I even want to write about her?
I explored old interests. As if maybe I was meant to go back and pick up on interests I had let go of long ago to make room for more important work. But I don't want to sing in a band anymore and I don't feel like going dancing till 1 am, or playing sand volleyball, or arguing about politics over margaritas. I'm not her.
I have tried transitioning into things that seem to befit my new next stage of life. I should grow tomatoes. So I did this year and peppers. Call me O'uisa (Wheezer) I'm going to grow tomatoes and where a floppy hat now? I am trying flower gardening as well but this is not buttering my bread either, it's nice but how do I parlay that into a will to live? (Clary) I'm not that old and it's not that much fun. Sorry, I'm not her.
A new venture, a website, a new mission? blah. Decorating my house? Painting? blah and blah.
I'll cook new foods, eh. I took up running, ho hum. I volunteer and I like it very much but it barely moves the needle in my brain.
Nothing gives me the sense of purpose and joy that I've known raising my kids. How could anything really? Seriously I'd be really shocked if I gleaned as much personal fulfillment from my new coloring books that I found in caring for my children.
I got a puppy. It's a lot like having a toddler. He leaves a wake of destruction and he is constantly needing attention and even though he is pretty cute, it isn't the same. I thought maybe I could be one of those ladies my age who takes tons of pictures of her dog and calls him her furbaby and buys him presents and makes a Christmas stocking for him. I'm not her either.
Truth is, I expected to still be chasing little ones and I'm not. So is this just it? Is this what I do until I have grandkids? One is married and one is almost married so a few years from now I will be her, but who I am until then?
My husband and I love each other very much. We have a strong and happy marriage. We are exploring our city, dating and I do love it. He has a girl he loves, and I am still her :)
But the days which were once filled with flurries of activity and discovery and littered with pixie dust and magic and a little mayhem are gone.
I tremble with fear at the words I am about to write next.
I have lost my purpose.
And I don't know what to do exactly.
That's all I got right now.