Today I said no to stability. To practicality. To normalcy. I said yes to adventure. To hubris. To uncertainty.
On Monday I was downsized from my job. This was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it never really measured up to my hopes and dreams of what it could be. A curse because, well, isn't money one of those things it's vulgar to discuss? I will say I am paying Apple for a computer that I had for a mere six months when an incident involving tickling, my four year old son and a glass of water fried the motherboard.
Am I seized with fear? Certainly. Am I full of hope? Absolutely.
Almost immediately my friends reached out with gifts and support and ideas and job leads. I had choices to make, which is better than having no choice at all. I had to take a long hard look at my life and understand what I wanted, and why.
When I chose to work full time away from my four children it devastated me. For so long "mother" was my primary identity, followed by "wife" and "writer." I tried to find enthusiasm in the elegant office, my name on the door, the business cards in the little leather holder, but It was all a glittering artifice. Whenever I tried to find the passion for what I was doing it was quickly knocked out of my hand. I didn't have my children, and I didn't have the accomplishments of a career. I was left with nothing but a paycheck.
All I wanted was to come back home to them. I developed a plan to create my ideal life, rich with meaning and professional joy, marrying my family life and my work life in glorious concert. I dreamed of it and ached for it. And finally I took the steps I need to take to create this reality.
It didn't turn out quite as planned.
But today as I fixed pork chops and mashed potatoes at 5 pm I was hit with a deep realization. I had gotten my wish. I was home with my children. I'm as frightened as ever by finances, by the faceless future. That hasn't changed. But I have been to the other side and I know where I want to be, and who I want to be, and I know how I want to get there.
It takes risks. It takes unconventional choices. It takes taking the simple, obvious path gently by the hands and saying "I am sorry. I can't." It might hurt people who are looking out for you, and make your husband freeze in place while he tries to process what exactly you've decided.
My heart is like a weather vane, and I have to point in the direction the wind is carrying me. For a long time I was in the wrong place, but I knew it was a place I had to stay for a while. This time, I am going to stay in the right place, and the right time will find me here.