Hooking Up with My Former Self

A quote from my clipping file, snipped from Real Simple magazine, several years ago:
“Have you ever noticed how many women are held down before 40? They’re having children and serving husbands. Find creativity that’s not necessarily connected to being a wife or mother.”

A call to arms.

It made me stop and think.

How do I define myself?
Wife. Mother. Daughter. Friend. All relationship words.

In more ideological terms:
American. Floridian. Volunteer. Practicing Christian. Democrat. (And by the way, those two terms are NOT mutually exclusive. But that’s another subject for another day. Probably a couple of days.)

Cook. Reader. TV Fanatic. Trivia Goddess.

I had passion once. I know I did. I was going to write the great American novel. I was going to get my Masters degree in English, so I could infuse college students with the love and zeal I personally had for the written word. I was going to own a bookstore, tutor struggling readers of all ages, host poetry slams.

What in the hell happened?

I had occasion recently to take a gander through my high school yearbook. There I was, twenty-some-odd years ago, with the look of hope and invincibility in my eyes that only an 18-year-old can carry. I was the Bright Young Thing. I was a blank page in an open book.

What in the hell happened?

The simplest and most obvious reason is to say that Life Happened. Jobs came and went, sometimes of my own volition, sometimes not. Relationships came and went, mostly unhealthy. Practicality and necessity set in, and the older I got, the more distance came between my idealized plans for the future and the reality of life’s path. I did the responsible things, the things that were expected. I married, later in life than some, after resigning myself to a life without coupling. I gave birth three-and-a-half months early to a wonderful little boy, who, despite his rough health history and ongoing developmental struggles, makes each day worth living. I can take an honest look at my life, and say that yes, I am fulfilled. But only partially.

That’s not to say that I don’t love my husband and my son with all my heart, because I do. I just need to find out where “I, me, myself” fit into my life equation.

I need to reconnect with myself. I need to find the Bright Young Thing I used to be and bring her into my present and incorporate her into my relevancy.

I need to participate, hands-on, in something that is uniquely me, for only me. No one else. Doing so will undoubtedly make me a better wife, mother, friend, person.

I need to re-discover my purpose.

I need to find my passion.

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