In June 2011 wrote several pages of thoughts about my life, both where I was and where I wanted to be. I used to do this kind of spontaneous journaling regularly, but regrettably fell out of the habit sometime in the middle of college.
Here's the first entry from June 16, 2011 (please excuse the many fragments, poor grammar, and generally unpolished nature of the segment):
What would I wish for recklessly? What do I want my life to look like in two years?
A baby. A house. Fruit trees. Bees. Blackberries. Raspberries. Strawberries. All-year round garden. Chickens. Gas stove. Cargo bike. Herb garden. Colored walls. Me as a photographer. Flowers. Sewing. Root cellar. Canning. Reading. Bridge playing. Loving.
I haven't written anything about Neil. Why is that? I think because when I'm wishing, I'm wishing for what I don't have. And what I don't have is a strong sense of physical place and home with my creative life flourishing out of it. And that's what I wish for. My vision includes Neil as a stabilizing force and constant presence, but not as an object of my wishes.
I love that I gave myself two years--that was smart. (And I'll probably need to tack on at least one more to get it all done.) I've made good progress toward achieving this vision. I wrote this shortly after we arrived in Austin. At the time, I felt like I was floundering. I remember feeling so lost. I'll let my former self describe how I felt (written on June 30, 2011):
I feel... lethargic. Apathetic. Directionless. What's a better word for it? Lacking purpose. Why is it that purpose is so closely tied to income in our society? I want to escape from that model of thinking, but I can't. Or won't. I feel pulled back to it. Like it has some magnetic force. I think it's the force of my own judgements. Looking down on people who weren't supporting themselves. I have it ingrained in me that supporting myself equals being successful. Not being rich, just not having to ask for help. How very American of me.
I want my purpose to be raising children and feeding my family. I love the dedication of Deborah Madison's Local Flavors cookbook: "For Michael and Diane, for quitting your day jobs to grow good food, gorgeous flowers, and great girls."
That's what I want people to say about me. That's what I want my life to be like. Right now I feel stuck on the first clause. In limbo. I see where I want to be but I can't get there yet... This is just a season. Right?
I love looking back because it provides a unique lens to view the present and the future. I love my life right now, I truly do. Becoming a mother has been both challenging and rewarding in expected and unexpected ways. Some aspects of parenting an infant feel incredibly isolating, but other parts have parenting opened me up to life in a new way--a better way.
I feel more determined now than ever to live the life I want, which in many ways, is outlined above. I am still working through figuring out exactly where I want to be in one, two, five, or twenty years from now, but the vision I described more than a year ago still rings true. The need to take those ideas from words on a page to reality has taken on a special urgency since HP's arrival. The life and home we are creating will be the foundation of his childhood.
And apparently it's going to require a lot of berries. Better get started!