Wherever you go, there you are

493343628_98052395a0_zBeing a mother has occupied the last eighteen years of my life. While parenting is an exercise in entropy, it still provides a certain infrastructure. The daily schedule of getting the Dude to school, discussing his fantasy teams, and fighting over his crappy eating habits creates a living clock. It’s easy to find meaning and purpose. I am a parent. I take care of my child. If that’s all I do in a day, I can consider it a success.

The Dude leaves for college next month, and we both will have the world spread out in front of us with no real plan. While I’m excited, there’s a not-so-small element of “oh shit” mixed in. I have no roadmap to guide me. I can’t plug a destination into my GPS, because I’m not sure where I’m headed.

When I think about it too intently, I feel lost. I worry about where life will lead, and anxiety rushes to the surface. Will I ever finish my book? Where will the next story come from? Is this a career or a toe-dip in the land of wish fulfillment? How long can I justify calling myself a writer without some tangible sign of success?

I don’t know. Not a comfortable situation for someone who likes to have all of the answers. While hurtling into the future, I can’t catch the words or the notes. The best I can do is make a mad grab and hope I come up with something profound. Usually it’s a really bad limerick.

If I can manage to stand still, however, even for a minute, I can place a big red star on the map and write “You Are Here.” Sometimes, “here” is the best I can manage. Maybe, “here” is all that really matters. After all, “there” is merely a collection of interconnected “here’s”, right?

When I was twenty, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I was thirty. When I was thirty, I knew what I wanted to be at forty. Each decision led me one step closer to that end. Ironically, when I got where I intended to be, I didn’t want it anymore. Somewhere along the way I had changed, but I was so focused on the destination, I hadn’t noticed. If I’d seen a map of my life, a big red star telling me where I was, where I truly was, I might have been saved a lot of trouble and pain.

So as I walk into unmapped territory, my goal is to be dedicated to here. To now. Because this is where the words grow, and the music unfurls. I will stand still long enough for them to find me, and stay quiet enough to listen.

So if you need to find me, you know where to look.

Photograph : Mt. St. Helen’s park entrance by Stephan Adrej Shambora © 2007 via Creative Commons/Flickr

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9 comments on “Wherever you go, there you are

  1. Gail Kushner says:

    It will be okay. You will find your path. Take a breath. Enjoy the excitement of the next two months. In September, you will be able to close your eyes and make new choices.

  2. It is awfully hard to leave a job you love, especially when you weren’t ready. But you will find that wonderful life that exists post daily mom life. It has some incredible good points. You can do it. Besides, we are all here to help.

  3. aviets says:

    You have some wise thoughts here that will help you in this difficult time. My advice – because I’ve recently been there – is to allow yourself to grieve. It’s a very real loss, and that deserves recognition. It was VERY upsetting to me when people kept telling me how lucky I was to have them gone, that this would be the best time of my life, etc. In fact, that still ticks me off. Feel sad as you need to, and at some point it will be easier and you’ll slowly discover what you want to do next. -Amy

  4. June says:

    I used to save my son’s texts to me when he was a freshman at ND. He & I have grown so much that I never looked at them. The Dude will invite you into his life in so many ways at a college student and just go with it. You’re ready.

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