Monday, March 30, 2009

What I Want

(This is a photo of the magnolias in our front yard that have recently bloomed).

SML (aka Sister Mary Lisa) blogged about something similar recently here. It's strange how people can live such different lives, but have some things in common. What she wrote about being a leaf floating in a river resonated with me. Particularly the notion of allowing the current to direct me instead of making my own decisions.

I think many former mormon women, or just people in general may find themselves in this position. Not a mid-life crisis, but being told (for years) that you should want something, or want to be something - and realizing you can actually question where you are. And whether or not that path works for you.

I'm not sure how I got here exactly. Many of my friends have been open about their own paths or journeys, so I wonder if I'm merely jumping on the bandwagon.

Yet I don't really feel that way. I think it's perfectly healthy to start looking at one's life and assess what's been done so far. And to think about the future (what might yet be possible).

My two are becoming more independent every day. Soon, my husband will go back to work (wherever that may be).

And I have made some choices to better focus on myself instead of paying attention to how everyone else is living their lives (and, of course, how *I* think they should be living their lives). As I step back, I realize how dysfunctional that was/is. How limiting for everyone involved (particularly me).

It wasn't conscious, and it was the way I was raised.

I honestly thought that's what everyone did - and how everyone lived. What a breath of fresh air to realize that so much is none of my business - except when someone else's behavior affects me.

With that space, I get to figure out what I want to do and where I want to spend my resources. No longer do I feel obligated to all the other people in my life, to solve their problems or to do things to make them happy (in order to make me happy). Of course I have responsibilities, to my kids, my husband, others. I'm just creating a space where I can figure out what I want - instead of what everyone else wants from me.

And I've long assumed that by making everyone else happy, that would make me happy.

All of this psychobabble basically means, I'm being conscious of where I'm spending my time and asking myself what I'm getting out of interactions. I'm not starting from scratch, I can't imagine where I would be if I had never quit anything. If I hadn't allowed my self to do some assessment. (if I had never confronted myself or other people about anything).

I'll give an example. I thought for a long time that I wanted to go back to school, eventually and get my master's or PhD. Being in IT, I realize that I will have to continue my education and take additional courses. I'm quite comfortable with that. But I realized that if I thought about it, I wasn't really thinking of getting another degree for me. I really wanted one of my grandmothers to be able to brag about another grandchild with professional degree.

I step back and think? Wow - that's really messed up. Logically, it wasn't a conscious decision. But when I start looking at so many things with that lens (am I searching for approval? Or doing something because I want to...) a great deal falls away.

This isn't a quick process. Some of the people in my life already seem to know exactly what they want. Some seem to want very tangible things - or at the very least, semi-tangible. A new computer. To travel to x country or state. To start a family. I think that's great.

I know I'm already doing a lot, and will continue to do what I'm doing.

It's simply exciting to step back and say - okay, here are the cards I've been dealt. And I get to decide what to do with them. And hopefully, I have some time before the last hand to make my choices.


Anonymous said...

I think I also need to reassess where I am and where I am going. I have everything I have ever wanted, achieved every goal that I set (or that was set for me) and now I have no direction and I am wandering about aimlessly. I think it it time for me to sit back and think about where to from here.
Good luck on your journey.

La said...

You're experiencing such a refreshing realization! I wish you well. It's scary! And...keep this in'll always be re-evaluating your Self and why you are who you are.

It's important to remember to stop focusing on the destination. Savor the journey!! :)