I have been trying to find myself for as long as I can remember…while this might sound to your ear, self-absorbed and esoteric, it is the truth. I suspect that when one is a daughter, then a wife, then a mother, then a divorcee, all before her 20th birthday, it can make a girl/woman a bit “confused” about who, she herself, is…right around the time most young women start to become who they are going to be, I became the carer for another human being and everything I wished to be, or experience, or create, became secondary to my obligation and responsibilities to this somebody else, namely the big fat healthy perfect baby who is now a thin gorgeous woman who is my next door neighbor.
When my fellow twenty-somethings were jumping in the shower at 8:00 to get ready for a night out, I was reading Where The Wild Things Are for the umpteenth time (full disclosure; I now know it like a beloved poem and can recite, word for word, the whole book, without looking at the pages) and getting ready to shower and go to bed. When they were planning vacations and researching travel details with girlfriends to get the most fun or adventure for the least money, I was researching what day-care or babysitter offered the most hours for the least dollars, and planning my college schedule and work schedule with my family so that somebody was always available to care for this little girl. When they were having exciting experiences that shaped them into the women they were becoming, I was focused on shaping the mind of a little girl, when, it turns out, I was not much more than a girl myself.
It is the truth, my truth, that NOW, eight or so weeks before my 50th birthday, I am not really needed by anybody anymore for anything. It appears that all those years I thought I was missing out on so much, I was just living a different reality than girls, women, my age, and we all still became who we were to be. Some of those women are now having to plan for after school programs and summer day camps, or trying to work ballet classes and traveling soccer camp into their household budgets, or sorting the details of what SAT class is most affordable, and how to find the best college scholarships, but I am done. My job of mothering is over and I am no longer “needed,” and my long search for travel and adventure and my quest to find the meaning of my life, can begin…It seems that I might have simply been a late bloomer.
It’s a little bit funny, I don’t even know what I am looking for, or if I’m “looking” for anything anymore!!! A long search for what? my brain asks itself…I have love, I have my house, I have my job, I have my family, I have friends…Whew! I have so much more than I ever thought I could deserve, and that baby grew into a woman I am glad to call both my neighbor and my friend…frankly, as I near this birthday of the “big 5-0” I actually feel more complete and fulfilled than I have ever felt in my entire life. My adventures are just coming with some gray hairs and hot flashes, instead of highlights and hook-ups. Maybe I’ll even make mischief of one kind, and another…and the walls will become the world all around…All those years I felt like I was missing out, I come to discover that it just wasn’t my time then, yet, for adventure…“let the wild rumpus start!”
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
* Alice in Wonderland* by Lewis Carroll